So, I am an alcoholic. Or at least that’s what my military service has labeled me as and I’ve accepted it’s not worth the risk to second guess. This one involves some sharing.
I was pretty late to the party scene, grew up as a nerd and went to a military program for college. Didn’t really start drinking until my early 20s, and suppose I tried to make up for lost time. It got worse after my first deployment. Not explicitly PTSD related (I was never in a firefight and don’t want to claim that), just that deploying tends to dull your excitement for the normal things in life.
After several moves, my social life came to revolve around drinking. Watching football and drinking, going to clubs and drinking, visiting family and getting drunk. Naturally I didn’t see it as unusual because it was mostly just on the weekends and my friends also did the same thing to some extent (we tend to surround ourselves with those like us afterall). Mainly the issue is once I start it’s pretty much a crapshoot of when I stop. It came to a point where I was at a training course and ended up getting drunk at a BBQ, blacking out, and after my buddies got me back into my room, wandering back out and getting picked up by the base police.
I was extremely lucky that I didn’t get charged with public intox (was told the only reason I wasn’t was because I was a happy drunk and not an angry drunk and stayed respectful to the cops, take that as a tip). As far as discipline goes, received a slap on the wrist and referred to an evaluation. There I was diagnosed as an alcohol-dependent (alcoholic) and sent to treatment. I did not react well to the diagnoses, however it was hard to argue with, I had to do a blood test and my liver was at the point where signs were showing (I was 28 and otherwise in excellent physical shape).
As far as treatment goes, it was all outpatient stuff. The meetings with other service members on-base were actually not too bad, I felt I was helping other people. The meetings with the practitioner were tolerable. What I didn’t like was when I got back to my home base I was mandated to go to AA. That I really did not like. AA is a quasi-Christian-cultish thing and it directly felt like a violation of church and state. I can definitely understand how it may be beneficial to some people (particularly if you are Christian or at least from a monotheistic religion), but it just would have been so much better if someone would look at toning some of that down in a updated version of The Big Book. It claims to be open to all faiths, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it, particularly when you are forced to attend meetings almost fully made up with people who are devoutly Christian. It’s a mindfuck to have to recite things you don’t believe in, it’s hard for me to really forgive my service for forcing me to do this 3 meetings a week for 6 months.
Anyway I was able to stay sober for 6 months pretty much out of spite and got out the program. Naturally the story doesn’t end there, to be continued in part 2: https://starandlotus.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/alcoholism-2/