Name: Cassandra Cartwright
Addiction in the Military
Caffeine, Nicotine and Alcohol that’s how you get through everyday life in the military. Ask any service member it will be true amongst any of the branches. I am a 24-year-old female that has served six years in the hardest of the branch the Marine Corps. Sadly I have struggled with this idealism that all six years that these three things were necessary to help me through every day. Imagine waking up every morning starting your day of with an energy drink and needing about three throughout the day. Or even, not being able to sleep without a sip of alcohol. The military makes these items so convenient and cheap that it starts the addiction that never ends. You’re stuck in horrible environments mentally and physically that anything that can alter your brain and reality can help you will take it. Especially if it is cheap. The American Addiction Center has defined this problem and acknowledges this problem.
Why do service members especially Active-Duty Members rely too heavily on these three additive items? The main reason is to stay awake or alter your brain. Even without being in combat you are trained to work from sixteen to eighteen-hour workdays every day. With allows for max eight hour in sleep if you don’t have other priorities to take care of in your time off. This continues for five to seven days a week regardless of what your job is. Not to mention once a month or more your mandated to stay awake for twenty-four hours straight doing absolutely nothing but watching and walking in circles. Anyone in their right mind would go crazy. In the military your fresh out of high school or college preforming tasks that normally need years of preparation. For myself as an example, for the past five years my job has been to fix and certify aircraft safe for flying. On anyone that is a whole lot of responsibility for someone at twenty years old. Eventually the stress of work and the lack of sleeping conditions it effects your brain. Its repetitive mental and physical a stress that sometimes altering your brain has to be required that turns into an addiction lasting years.
I am currently married, and both my husband and I are service members. We both suffer at least one addiction and were just like everyone else in the military community. We have both tried quitting but the emotional and physical attachments to these things have been imbedded into our lives its hard. I believe it is toxic and influential in everyday life to be addicted to these things. It has also become a tremendous common addiction across my current generation. But in the military, you are conditioned to accept it as the way of life. It becomes a necessity that lasts and affects every age/ time in the military. There are so many worse things done and seen in the military that this is not seen as a problem. But it has Affected so much of the mental health of service members that it’s not a thing they “can just get over.”
There is a. fix to this problem of these addictions are small-scale to the impact of the mission in the military. Mental health is a topic that is just starting to come into the military that has never been “a thing”. Due to the Pride amongst being in the military. You are taught to “suck it up” and “be a man” (even if you are a woman). Addiction will never change in the military, sadly is comes in many shapes and forms.