28 Jan A to Z: 26 Issues Transitioning Veterans Face #1
When men and women join the military, they’re introduced to a culture that relies heavily on structure, hard training and calls-to-action in both training and real-world scenarios. These aspects of daily life puts pressure on the psychological, physical and emotional state of a soldier. For some soldiers, this often leads to finding alternative means to cope with the pain and pressure.
High intensity activities that get the “juices” flowing are one way of releasing the pent-up adrenaline. Moreover, extreme training in the gym or during PT (physical training), to help blow off steam, are common coping strategies.
One the other hand, some soldiers turn to alcohol to get through the pain. Drinking alcohol in moderation isn’t bad; however, when one depends on it to get through the day and/or cope, there’s a problem, developed during military service, which will carry over into civilian life.
The truth is, for a highly-trained soldier who saw and experienced many things the average person doesn’t, it can be tough dealing with post-military life. Depending on alcohol as a coping mechanism will lead to other negative problems, such as difficulty maintaining or finding employment, and having healthy relationships. These issues can be the gateway to more serious problems like domestic abuse, drug addiction and criminal activity.
Awareness of this and a strong support channel are critical for a positive transition from the battlefield to the employment field. Being able to accept responsibility, acknowledge there’s a problem and seeking help to positively cope with any anxiety or depression are the first steps that must be taken. It’s not easy to admit there is a problem, but being honest will be very beneficial for every veteran. It’s a process. Moreover, the Veterans’ Administration Hospitals have programs to help veterans rebuild their lives, without using alcohol as a crutch.
You can’t run away from your problems, because no matter where you go, there you are. So you need to deal with these issues today, because no one is guaranteed tomorrow.