This article is Part Two of Three in a series of the top three things all veterans should avoid when returning from the military. The series has been compiled from lessons learned, too often the hard way, by veterans I know, and by yours truly: Me. I hope this series steers you to success, even if slightly.
The three things all veterans should avoid are:
1) Pyramid Schemes
2) Binge Drinking
3) Unnecessary Responsibility
I know this is crazy, I know this is such a downer, but at least know this article is written by a person that drank more alcohol in one month than you probably did your entire military contract. I can also chug a pitcher of beer faster than you, and while this may sound like I’m showing off, I’m not. Not anymore at least.
If you are still in full, active duty military mode, I know too damn well you don’t care to read the rest of this article, but in a last ditch effort to knock some sense into someone as hard headed as myself know this: Being sober in the civilian world gets you more chicks than being drunk, it’s that simple.
When you don’t binge on alcohol, you feel better, you act better, you look better, and you make the necessary decisions to get your life on track. This in turn attracts business and career opportunities (and romantic opportunities).
For the rest of you that are ready to get serious about military transition, then read on.
1. Binge drinking is expensive and your career is not secure.
There’s absolutely zero benefit to drinking alcohol. Even if a glass of red wine may be good for your heart, or a glass of beer may be good for your digestion, these benefits can be attained from just having a good diet.
As a veteran, you are going to need your money for survival. Based on my personal experience, I don’t think its easy to just stop spending money on alcohol. However, I would like you to start considering what a waste of money drinking alcohol is. I don’t need to go into detail with this.
Just a friendly reminder.
2. You are judged as dumb and immature, even if you aren’t.
Including your friends and family, no one comprehends the level of responsibility you commanded in the military.
You need to establish a good reputation. You see, in the civilian world if you are to survive, binge drinking not only will hinder you, it gives you a very bad reputation. If the military taught us anything, its this: perception is reality.
I will reiterate this later, but as a civilian, you are a nobody until you prove yourself otherwise. The lack of respect people have for one another is unlike anything you were accustomed to in the military. Think of it like hanging out with super judgmental church group. This is why I have to re-iterate that I’m not showing off about chugging beer and this is why I rarely will post a picture of me while drunk (aside from the fact that I am never drunk).
In the civilian world, you will be judged negatively for partying. There’s simply too much competition, too much liability, and too many people looking to stand out above you. Your friends and family are all in on this too, just like everyone else.
In the military, you may have survived all 20 years as the life of the party, engaged in more drunken debauchery than anyone else, and then still did your job successfully better than Captain America himself, guess what? In the civilian world none of it matters. Most civilians level of responsibility will never be as high as what you held, and they don’t care they don’t know, all they know is they don’t know you and now you are drunk and therefore, a liability.
3. As a civilian, there’s no one looking out for you, and plenty of people looking to screw you over.
Simply put, you are going to get in trouble with the law and jeopardize your relationships.
Back in the miliary, think of yourself as a European teenager. I know, just hear me out. In Europe the drinking age is 18, therefore teens as young as 16 go out and party their face off and engage in under age drinking. All the debauchery and even sexual mischief occurs in their teens. Because of this, they don’t do much damage. They might get into fist fights occasionally, and maybe even drink and drive, but they are in a protected environment where their errors don’t result in catastrophe. Hence, by the time they reach age 21, they are sick and tired of the binge drinking.
While in the military, we too were protected, and some of us were not able to drive. Any mischief that occurred usually happened on base or near base and was easily taken care of in house. Sure you may have gotten NJP’d (non-judicial punishment) but it’s a much better sentence than jail time followed by a criminal record, not to mention the guilt. Often times, you were drunk surrounded by your other buddies who took care of you, even if that meant they drew penises on your forehead when you passed out. Usually, someone would be there to get you home safe sometimes to point of someone driving to the bar to pick your drunk ass up.
In the military, I remember my GySgt going to pick up the Sgt from the bar or a friends house where, for whatever reason, he wound up drunk with only his own car to take him home. Civilians for example, would just find this behavior irresponsible, whereas in the military we just call it brotherhood. Work had and party hard and if you cover me this time, I will cover you next time. Civilians don’t cover each other, they don’t understand team work in this sense. They expect you to be an individual, and as such, your partying is considered a burden. While in Europe, many cities don’t even have a last call, and if they do, it’s way past midnight and sometimes getting drunk is a town activity. Hence once again, the European teen analogy.
Coming home in America, you are exposed to the elements. Getting drunk on the daily, the way I used to in the military, will increase your chances to get in trouble in a place already looking to get you into trouble. When you get drunk at a bar and you were planning to drive home, the chances of someone coming to get you are slim. Sure you can call Uber or Lyft, but you are drunk and because you probably haven’t been stateside in a while, you probably don’t even have the app installed on your phone.
In many towns, cops are looking forward to gettting DUI arrests. It’s what they live for. If you crash, stand by not just for the legal ramifications, but also the law suits that will follow.
A DUI arrest will run you about $10,000 dollars. Law suits will run you into the $100,000’s easily. Then, don’t forget about the opportunity cost of no longer having certain career options.
4. You have to figure out how to find purpose as a civilian, binge drinking makes you feel worthless.
Drunks don’t make rational decisions as it is, and now you are a Veteran, not a Sergeant or Captain. You are a nobody until you prove yourself otherwise. I don’t care how excited anyone is to finally take the chains off from a military contract, a bit of depression will set in after leaving the military. Binge drinking will only acerbate these notions. Most likely you will be worried about your next career, you will be missing the camaraderie, and you will be disillusioned things at home aren’t what you thought they would be.
The good news is, the number one reason most of us went out to get drunk was to get chicks. Contrary to all these snowflakes saying we are all riddled with PTSD and government brainwashing, thus we need alcohol and drugs to cope, getting laid is the number one reason most young men and women go get drunk. So how is this good news? Well, with military to civilian transition comes a great stability. This means you can finally engage in extra curricular activities that don’t involve getting “shit housed” (drunk).
You can now do all sorts of things like actually focus on how to train properly. You can learn a new skill like I did with photography. You can be a regular at a gym, yoga class, salsa class, college club, fight club, whatever meet up you like! Then with all this stability you can get yourself on social media and start COMMUNICATING with other like minded individuals (if you haven’t done so already) and start making all sorts of new friendships, romantic ones included.
Getting romantic relationships is a whole other conversation, but they come much easier when you aren’t getting drunk because… refer to points 1) and 2).
We already know alcohol is a depressant, yet we drink it because we believe it makes us feel good. I no longer binge on alcohol and the reason is simple: I usually feel full of energy until I drink alcohol. Essentially, alcohol kills my buzz.
Based on my my own experience, the most effective way to stop the binge cycle is to feel good without the alcohol. The way I achieved this didn’t start by making prohibition my goal. I stopped consuming alcohol when I started eating healthier in general.
Here’s an article I wrote on How To Stop Eating Junk Food.
5. You may as well get AIDS if you binge drink, yes it makes you that sick.
Drinking too much alcohol like doing any other drugs, will cause your immune system to suffer to the point it will seem like you have an autoimmune disease. To make matters worse, health care is expensive in America and its not very good (sorry but not sorry for the offensive truth bomb). I will go as far as saying, the medical industry is a mafia, tightly controlled to inflate the prices beyond anything reasonable.
Don’t get suckered into to joining the millions of Americans dependent on an industry hell bent on keeping them sick so they can keep paying for overpriced treatments. If you don’t believe me, just hang out with your diabetic uncle, mine lost his eye. Binge drinking is bad for your health and its time you started to remember that. Binge drinking may have been fun, but it has some serious adverse consequences on your body. I had to learn this the hard way, but I have buddies who had to learn this the even harder way.
The problem is your liver gets damaged and your body’s acidity increases. Alcohol kills all of your gut’s natural bacteria as well. What this means is you lose your ability to digest food properly, you stop absorbing nutrients, your mood swings increase, your brain’s capacity to think critically decreases, you get fat, and your testosterone decreases while estrogen increases (for men).
This means you will slowly but surely, start to suck at life more and more.
If you are continually taking supplements and working out everyday, you are fight an uphill battle. If you aren’t exercising regularly and taking supplements, you are rolling down a very steep hill. Either way, you are going into debt with your health.
While I didn’t get ulcers, I have friends that did. That means they had holes in their stomach and intestines where acid was destroying everything. I’m not a doctor, so that’s my non-medical description of an ulcer. Even though I didn’t have ulcers, I almost did. My digestion was not right and my body did not feel right.
To reverse the damage alcohol binging had done to my body, I started to take certain supplements, many of which I still take today. I don’t sell them, but people continually ask me where to purchase them, therefore you can just click on the links below to get your supplies.
Alkalizing Greens- This is how you get all the nutrients we need but are too lazy to prepare on our own. Excellent for overall wellness and health and to get you feeling great.
Milk Thistle- This repairs your organs, which leads to you feeling like a 17 year old Varsity all star again. This is a MUST for those of us who drank way too much at any time in our lives.
Kombucha- This isn’t a must, but its the easiest way to get the best quality probiotics in you. Probiotics are good bacteria that are ESSENTIAL for your health and cognition. Yes, bacteria determines how well you think, it affects your brain. I don’t recommend any Kombucha in stores except this one by GTS and in this flavor. Other than that, its best to brew it yourself.
While you can buy the Kombucha on the linked picture, its very expensive. I purchase it at my local Costco for much less.
Again, this article is not the most motivating, but I wrote it because I just felt it needed to be said. Maybe its the fact that I am a father now, I don’t know. What I know is I can’t believe I was so addicted to partying and binge drinking. In the future I hope I can come with ways that are more entertaining to write about this subject, but for now, this is the best I could come up with.
I hope this article somehow gets you inspired to make your military to civilian transition a little easier.
Just like the Euro teen that gets sick of the party life by 21, its time for all of us out of the military to be sick of it too. It’s not really partying, its just poison. As a mature adult, its time to reap the rewards of what that is, however you won’t find out what these means until you stop acting like deprived military douche.