My two oldest sons, Max and Mitch, are proud veterans. Their stories of service are as different as they are. One joined the 82nd Airborne, went to Afghanistan, and was seriously injured on a jump. One went to NJ, and served at an Air Force Base. He wasn’t physically injured, but he came home with hidden emotional scars from trauma. This Veterans Day we salute Veterans in all of our United States branches:
- Coast Guard
- Air Force
- Marine Corp
Trauma Before Military Life
While my sons each still suffer from different types of injuries from their service time, they also have deep wounds from their time in another type of war zone. They each grew up in a household affected by Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Many veterans lived lives similar to my sons, and many were traumatized before they ever went off to defend our country. My sons today struggle with AUD, and recovery reminds me to show compassion to them.
Many go to battle with a healthy mind and body, but how many more go with a spirit that has been harmed previously by a family caught up in addiction? Add into this mix a co-occuring problem of SUD, and the vet has a real struggle to overcome:
- More than 2 of 10 Veterans with PTSD also have SUD
- War Veterans with PTSD and alcohol problems tend to be binge drinkers. Binges may be in response to bad memories of combat trauma
- Almost 1 out of every 3 Veterans seeking treatment for SUD also has PTSD
- The number of Veterans who smoke (nicotine) is almost double for those with PTSD (about 6 of 10) versus those without a PTSD diagnosis (3 of 10)
- In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1 in 10 returning soldiers seen in VA have a problem with alcohol or other drugs. *United States Department of Veterans
The recovery community teaches me to “Do the next right thing.” Today, I’m going to thanking a vet for serving.