- This topic has 0 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 4 years ago by Anonymous.
- December 24, 2016 at 1:08 pm#41158AnonymousInactive
Hello, this is my first time posting here, and if your reading this thank you. I know there are thousands of other posts here and it made me a little hesitant to post anything at first, but im really out of options and losing what little hope I have.
So heres my story, ill try to keep it short:
My problems with substance abuse started when I was probably 16. In high school I took a different drug everyday, i was always high, if it wasnt pot, it was coke, or acid, or shrooms, or whatever pills i could get my hands on. I didnt do it so much because i was addicted at the time, i just did it because i was bored. I didnt really care for any one drug, i just liked feeling ****** up and whatever did the trick i would take until I ran out, then would switch to something else. I grew up poor and to a single mom, i didnt really have much of a support structure in place to help me.
When I turned 18 I graduated high school (barely) and shortly thereafter I got in trouble with the police. I was helping a friend i shouldnt have been helping, and when he got caught, i went down with him. He went to jail, and the judge offered me a choice, he told my public defender that i could go to jail with my friend, or if I brought back a contract from the Army, he would drop the charges and expunge my record. I felt i didnt really have a choice, so I accepted and joined the military.
This is when everything started to go downhill.
See I was not the type of person that should have joined the military. Noone that knew me would have guessed in a hundred years that I would ever join. I hated authority, I hated the military, I was anti-war, I was anti-killing, I protested on 2004 when they invaded Iraq. I always firmly believed that war was never the answer.
Shortly after I joined, about 6 months after basic training, I was sent to Iraq. Now let me just say this, even though I was against war, I never ever ever did anything that would have betrayed the oath I took when I enlisted. I always kept my opinions to myself, and I tried to distance myself as much as I could from the rest of the people I worked and trained with.
But after being in Iraq, seeing firsthand what happened there, meeting the Iraqi people, going to their cities and learning about their culture, and learning how bad these people had been ****** over not just by Saddam, but by the US as well. It just….it made me sick….but I swallowed my pride and my disgust and I finished my deployment, I even came back with a Meritorious Unit Citation.
After I came back from Iraq, not even 2 weeks after we had been back home, I found out I was tasked to go back there in 5 months.
When I found that out I didnt know what to do. I knew i couldnt get out of it, and going AWOL was never something Id consider.
So I resorted to the only coping mechanism that I ever knew….drugs.
Now because of the militarys random **** tests, and my desire not to get kicked out, i started researching which drugs I could take that wouldnt show up on **** tests, or had very short half-lifes.
It started with once every couple weeks, maybe between 6-10 pills. Only on my days off when i was offduty.
then it became weekly, and I was taking 15-20 pills a day. The closer we got to deployment, the more training we did, the more anxiety i developed, the worse it got.
Then it became a daily thing, sometimes between 20-40 pills a day. Although it was only ever on my days off. I never did it when I was on duty.
Then we deployed again, and this time was different. My first deployment was in a relatively safe part of Iraq, we only had ever gotten mortared or had random rocket attacks, it was in a fairly secure part of Iraq. This next deployment was different though…
It was in Anbar province, Al-Asad, and it was one of the worst places you could be in Iraq, we were under constant communications blackout on base (no telephones, no email, no contact back home) because so many people were dying, they needed time to get ahold of families back home and they didnt want us to let people back home know how bad it was.
It was there I went on my first convoy, and saw my first IED casualty, it was there I met people who were my friends one day, who id played poker with one day at the morale tent and the next day i would be placing their bodies in metal caskets draped with the US flag to be sent back home. It was the first time in my life I really didnt know whether or not I would live everyday.
But I got through it, mainly by keeping to myself, and trying to sleep whenever we werent doing missions, so i wouldnt have to think about anything.
We got back 9 months later, and during the whole 9 months I had been clean, obviously there wasnt really very many drugs at the time in Iraq (there was if you knew where to look, but i chose not to) So when I got back from deployment I was pretty confident I wouldnt relapse. And I didnt for a little while. I went back home, saw my friends and family, and everyone was real proud of me for the first time in my life. It was nice.
Then after my leave had ended and I returned to duty, we had found out that the focus was being turned to Afghanistan and the war there, and the military branch I was in was hurting for people at that time, so they restructured the deployment “bands” they had and they told us that some of us would have to deploy again sooner then we had expected.
I was one of the lucky ones who got picked to deploy again, and found out I was deploying in about 6 months.
Thats when I relapsed hard. It scared me how fast i got into the daily habit again. This time it started to affect my performance at work, I would come in late, my uniform would be dirty, i would miss appointments, I was constantly tired…but at this point I had gained a bit of rank and was able to hide this very well.
I did 6 months of near daily dosing, I overdosed more times then I could count, thought about suicide like every other week, isolated myself from everyone, was like a robot zombie at work, I did just enough to not attract attention so I could go home and get ****** up, and try to forget about everything I saw, and forget about going back.
So the story pretty much repeats itself after I deployed again, I was forced to go clean for the deployment, then got back and relapsed the day I stepped off the plane back home.
About this time I was close to the end of my enlistment, with no intention of reenlisting. But I was still popping insane amount of pills, and my body was beginning to tell me it couldnt handle much more. I was losing weight fast, my moods were changing like I was a bipolar schitzo, and the amount of pills I was taking just on a daily basis would have killed a normal person easily.
I was scared, I knew I needed to stop, but I couldnt go anywhere for help. If I told anyone i would get in trouble and sent to the brig, and immediately discharged. I couldnt go to mental health because they report everything to commanders. I didnt have many friends because I had isolated myself for so long i had noone to turn to.
So I did the only thing that I knew would work, or help me at least.
I started to smoke marijuana. Marijuana had always helped me before I joined the military, with my anxiety and other stuff, and I never felt like I needed to smoke it, it was just something to do, like some people drink alcohol.
So I quit taking the pills cold turkey, and I started to smoke marijuana, not much, I only bought one bag (about half an ounce), and I smoked only before I went to bed, and during the day only on my days off when I started to fiend for the pills. I did this for about 3 weeks, or until my bag had run out.
And astonishingly it worked! I woke up in a better mood 2 days after I had quit taking the pills, I had more energy, I got to work early, my performance at work got way better, my supervisors noted a change and said whatever I was doing to keep it up lol! I was more social, I started to talk to more of my coworkers and went out to bars and got invited to parties. I even started to date again. Overall my mood and my general sense of well being was way better then it had been in a long time. I had even started gaining weight and going to the gym more often.
And the best part, I wasnt so worried about the wars or what I had seen anymore, like it still bothered me, but i dealt with it, i didnt have a sense of dread 24/7 anymore, I didnt go to sleep thinking about dead Iraqis or dead soldiers. I just….dealt with it….like everyone else in the military thats been deals with it.
I felt great, and to top it all off, after I ran out of weed, I had no desire to buy anymore or smoke anymore. I figure I had gotten pretty lucky to not have had to take a **** test yet, so I quit smoking weed, and i didnt have a relapse, either to weed or the pills i was taking.
Then 2 weeks after I stopped smoking weed I was hit for a random **** test. Tests came back positive for THC. I was stripped of all my rank, confined to base, extra duty, and told that even though I only had a year left on my 6 year contract I was being discharged, and losing my GI Bill and most of my benefits.
Thats where I am now. A veteran of 2 wars, 5 years of being in the military, not once having got into trouble while I was in, kicked out and pretty much told that the last 5 years of my life were a complete waste.
And on top of that I started taking the ******* pills again.
I was so devastated and anxiety ridden after I had gotten kicked out, that I had trouble even packing my things to go back home. I didnt want to face my family. So I started taking the pills again. And I havent stopped since then.
That was 5 months ago I was kicked out. I lost my GI Bill, my benefits, the respect and pride my family had in me was gone. And now im just a bum who ****** up his life.
I cant even smoke weed to try and get off the pills again, because im trying to find a job and most jobs require a drug test. Its been 5 months and I still cant find a job, I cant receive unemployment, and im still addicted to these pills, and its gotten worse then ever.
I came on this forum because I have no clue where else to go. I have never told this story to anyone before, and I probably never will. I dont like to ask for help, and I dont like to talk about my military experience, but maybe you guys can help me.
Its Christmas eve, my first Christmas home in 6 years, my first christmas in 4 years where I wasnt in a war zone. And all I want for Christmas is the strength to stop doing this crap and regain control of my life.
Ive already hit rock bottom, and it feels like im only going deeper. Im sorry this was so long, i didnt mean for it to be, but it felt good to get it all out. It actually felt real good.
If you read this far, I sincerely thank you for taking the time to do so. and Merry Christmas
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