An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Features : Display
NEWS | Aug. 19, 2014

Alcohol Abuse: Drinking your life away

By Melissa Walther 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

You tell yourself you're just going to have one beer, but that one beer with friends turns into two. Before you know it, you've killed a six-pack by yourself and are heading out to the bar for more.

You don't have a problem. You're with friends and only drinking to be social. You can stop whenever you want. When you pull your head out of the bottom of the glass though, you realize all of your friends have been long gone and you're drinking alone.

Alcohol and substance abuse can have lifelong consequences for anyone, but for U.S. Service members at Joint Base Langley-Eusits, help is just a conversation away, thanks to the Air Force Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program and the Army Substance Abuse Program.

"Coming forward and admitting you have a problem is a hard thing," said one Airman who is set to graduate from the treatment program, and continues to serve. "I was going through a rough time. I was going through a divorce and had just come off a special duty that was very stressful. I transitioned into a very low-stress office, and that change was hard for me to handle. I enjoy the high-pressure, high-stress environment and going into an office environment was a night and day difference. My problems began when I left that atmosphere."

The 25-year-old Airman declined to be identified at this time, but said he realized he had a problem when he couldn't sleep at night.

"I wasn't getting a lot of sleep at night, I was getting involved in things that were potentially very dangerous and I was getting talks from my family," he said. "My coworkers didn't really notice I had a problem, but I had a close friend that suggested I talk to my chief and first sergeant."

Although he said he was nervous about self-identifying, the Airman said it was the best thing he could have done at the time, and it saved his career.

"They were extremely supportive," he said. "They got my family involved, which is what I wanted; my chief still talks to my mom. They got me into a treatment program and got me the help I needed. They fought for my career and let me stay in the Air Force; I was definitely on a path to a dishonorable discharge."

In treatment since January, the Airman said he is glad he self-identified and got involved with the ADAPT program.

"Self-identifying is huge," he said. "If you don't and you're referred, the repercussions are enormous. [Self-identifying] shows a lot of courage and it makes a huge difference with your command. It's nothing to be ashamed of."

This month marks the Airman's five-year anniversary in the Air Force, and he said he is considering his options for staying in and continuing his service. He also said he's considering becoming an advocate for the program, because it allowed him to turn his life around.

Although the program has gotten him back on track with his life, he said he felt self-identifying was helpful on a more personal level than just making a good impression on his chain of command.

"You get out of it what you put into it," he said. "We talk about things that bother us, meditation, coping skills to deal with stress, things like that. If you have the attitude that you don't need this, you wont get anything out of it. Go into it with an open mind and you can get a lot out of it. I feel like a changed person today."

For more information or to seek treatment, contact the Langley Air Force Base ADAPT office at 764-6840 or the Fort Eustis Behavioral Health Clinic at 314-7558.