Military service and alcohol-fueled tales of grandeur, as well as the tales of pure stupidity and recklessness, seem to go hand in hand. What some would call alcohol abuse, others would call a normal Friday night. The relationship between alcohol usage and the military cannot be overstated. I had just arrived at my new unit, fresh from eight months of training, over the course of which I had not had alcohol at all. My unit had just returned from a pretty rough deployment to Afghanistan, and it was the start of a four day weekend. The atmosphere was ripe for bad decisions, some that would end careers, and others that would end lives.
I would see this story play out almost every weekend over the course of my enlistment. Some weekends would not be so bad, maybe a DUI or two. Other weekends would see entire platoons and companies shook to their very core, at the loss of a Brother or Sister.
With high operation tempos overseas, long working hours, stress in abundance, boredom, or just plain enjoyment, it is no surprise that service-members in very high amounts turn to alcohol, to cope, or simply blow off some steam. This symbiotic relationship between the military and alcohol can be seen from outside the military as well. Many popular veteran companies push content celebrating the over-consumption of alcohol on a regular basis, the Instagram accounts full of Jameson hashtags, and the weekends never remembered.
This is not just a small issue in the military; this is an epidemic. The issue of alcohol and the negative effects it has in the military transcends all branches of the service; it is a problem that sees massive deterioration of the armed forces as a whole.