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“Warrior Lush: The Battle with Combat PTSD Addiction” is a must-read for anyone who is going through addiction with their Combat Veteran. This book deals with not only addiction but also the special circumstances that go hand-in-hand with it as a possible result of war. It gives practical advice on not only how to recognize the signs but also deals with co-dependency in the partner and ways to seek help. Post-traumatic stress disorder creates its own set of problems and addiction is one of them. Written in a tone of familiarity, this book addresses the reader in an endearing and comforting way.

Chapter 6

Drink Yourself to Death

A friend of mine who is a Combat Vet had a very simple explanation as to why he was in the process of drinking himself to death thirteen years ago. He said “Vets beat themselves up for what they have done. Their brain is in replay mode from the past.” Is being in Combat like the movie “Groundhog Day”? Do they relive moments of Combat that torture them daily? I believe the answer to this is that some do. Some don’t. However those that are in a constant state of mental torture are more likely to drink and use drugs. They feel that it is a way to shut off the “replay mode” for awhile and an escape to something else.

Given the fact that approximately 20 Vets a day kill themselves in the United States alone, is it possible that the substance abuse is another way of committing suicide? I would have to say that I suspect that it is. Instead of using their firearm, they use a substance. Statistics collected have stated that death by firearm is the most common way that Vets commit suicide, but what about the numbers of them that have drank and drugged themselves to death? Shouldn’t that be reported as well? I feel that death by substance abuse is also a form of suicide. However, it isn’t the type of suicide that leaves people wondering why. It’s pretty obvious why someone that drank two fifths of vodka a day ended up dead. Yet, as a society, we don’t view this behavior as suicide. We view it as addiction that didn’t end well. However, should the numbers of Combat Vets that died by addiction be figured into the suicide statistics? What would those numbers be then? Would that number double or possibly triple? I have an odd feeling that it might. This is some VERY “Scary Math”!

Coincidentally, my own Uncle died of alcoholism at the age of 42. That’s what my family liked to call it anyway. However, I suspected it was suicide by substance abuse. It was a slow and painful death that lasted for years. He was not a Combat Vet. Instead, he was part of the Honor Guard at Arlington Cemetery during Vietnam. He watched casket after casket of young men being lowered into the ground. Could this have created post-traumatic stress disorder in him? In retrospect, I would have to say that I think that it did. However, he wasn’t willing to get help and not much was known about post-traumatic stress disorder at the time. He bled to death of esophageal varices in his boyhood bedroom at my Grandmother’s home. To me, it always was and will be a suicide.

I’m pretty sure you don’t want to be in the same boat that my aunt and my cousins were. How do we avoid being part of the statistic of suicide by substance?

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Leilani Anastasia


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