Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Alcohol: A Fast Way To Wreck Your Life

I want to encourage you to take alcohol out of your life. I know for some this is the equivalent of me saying something like get rid of your cell phone or your car. For many alcohol is a part of every day life and every social event. It is completely socially acceptable....but it is a socially acceptable addictive drug. One that dulls the mind, reduces one's ability to think clearly and make rational decisions.

It brings on feelings of sadness, depression, anger and rage. And yet for some reason it is totally legal although it has had more influence for destruction in the lives of families than any other addictive substance in history. If you want a clear picture of this, talk to any child of an alcoholic. I know several and the life-long effects of their parents use of alcohol is never ending and highly destructive.

If you think I overstate my case, begin looking at articles about service members with PTS who have committed serious crimes and are now in prison. Almost every story involves heavy drinking and moments of absolutely disastrous judgment. Look at incidences of domestic violence within and without the military. Many if not most are alcohol driven.

Sadly, once the "calming, good time effect" of the alcohol has worn off, the reality of decisions made under the influence are impossible to avoid. Here is a story that illustrates just that, how one service member with PTS, after a long night of drinking, lost control, almost lost his life, almost took the lives of several other people and in the end lost his marriage too -- and then went to prison for eight years -- all for one stupid night of "fun."

I think the unfortunate thing is that this story only focuses on PTS as if that is what caused this service member to go off the rails. The PTS may have lead him to drink more but I am convinced it was the alcohol that lead him to the disastrous actions that ruined his life that dark night.

It is a proven fact that alcohol brings on feelings of desperation, sadness, fear and rage. All demonstrated in his actions that night. Anyone who has ever been to a college party or a bar can attest to all of these realities.

Alcohol is not all fun and games. It's not a great way to destress, unwind or spend time with friends. If you do drink socially often, think about how many times you've seen friends or couples break down into ridiculous arguments or fights after drinking for a while. How often do fights have to be broken up or contention arises that would not happen were alcohol not involved.

I see to damaging effects of alcohol too often in my military social network feeds. Too many break ups, too many fights, too many hangovers and far too many people bragging about how much "fun" they are having getting really plastered. And then they wonder why their lives are so unstable, their relationships broken and emotions so dark and hopeless.

Drinking is bad for your body and your safety (do I even need to bring up DUIs or the possibility of killing someone else while driving under the influence?)

Alcohol is damaging to relationships, to marriages, to children. When you're drunk, your kids are not drunk and they see and remember everything you may not the next morning. They are embarrassed and worried even when they see you start getting loud and silly when you have a slight buzz going. They are scared of you when they see you are not acting like your normal responsible self. It's terrifying to them and they learn not to trust you.

If you are a military spouse or service member or anyone who drinks, consider how you are using alcohol in your life. If you know someone with PTS be very alert to how they are using alcohol and if you have the chance, encourage them to avoid it at all costs. It is also important to be aware they may be mixing medication for PTS treatment with alcohol which is even more dangerous.

Reconsider how you use this powerful, addictive drug in your life. You can live without it and letting go of it has zero harmful effects. You will feel and be more healthy, see your life more clearly, make better long lasting decisions and genuinely have more happiness in your life.

Monday, September 22, 2014

10 Little Things I Like To Do On Base

Since we don't live on base or particularly close to a base, getting a chance to visit is like visiting a relative who you feel really comfortable with but don't see often. It feels safe, happy and comfortable.

I thought I'd share 10 little things I enjoy doing when I'm on base. I'd love to see you add some you enjoy in the comments section.

1. Drive along the docks at night enjoying the city skyline behind and all the shiny lights of the ships that never sleep. This is even better by bicycle. You can look around more and it's so unusually quite on base that it just feels a little extra magical. You own the roads and it feels like a great big world just for you.

2. Buy make-up. This sounds so ridiculously girly but I do love getting a good deal on a designer lip gloss. There a pretty, shiny satisfaction in that. The only bummer is how it always takes them 15 minutes to find my shade in all the drawers packed into the bases of the make-up display cases. Don't ever think you're going to just rush in and get out fast.

3. Watch planes land. There's something quite stunning about watching a gigantic cargo plane land. I am befuddled by the science behind keeping such a huge thing in the air.

4. See movies and bowl. A few weeks ago we hit the early Saturday night movie and then walked across the street for Disco Bowling. One of those events is free. The other is quite an "ouch" cost on a Saturday night. Cost for Saturday night is about three times what it is on a weekend afternoon. Zoinks.

5. Go to the driving range. Taking Clementine to the on base golf course is a crack up. Boy does a second grade girl get all the guys looking when she makes an appearance there with clubs on her back. It always cracks me up. She holds her own. I wish I could always say the same about my game. (Hit & miss...)

6. Shop designer purses. There is something extra powerful about the draw to high quality leather goods when you know the prices are incredible and tax-free. I restrain myself pretty well though. I don't remember the last time I indulged.

7. Enjoy a good car wash. Granted I'm going to get wet but for $2 for the basic time it's still pretty cheap to get the car looking good even if you add several minutes. There's a lot of satisfaction in being able to wash my own car. There are no "spray your own" car washes near our house. I have to drive to another city for that.

8. People watch. A base is a great place to people watch. It's fun to see all the different "sailor" types strut their stuff, young and old. Last time we ate on base I watched a great big sailor sit on his phone the entire time he was having dinner with his parents. His bad. I love checking out the retirees and wondering what crazy stories they have to tell. People talk a lot and they talk loudly. You can pick up some great stories.

9. Have doors held for you. No where do I see such great manners in strapping young men for holding doors open for women. And it's often accompanied by a drawled "Maaaa'am." I thank the South for this! Such a treat in a world where people seem too self-involved and lacking basic manners.

10. Feel safe. Granted there have been some violent crimes committed on military bases the past few years, but I doubt there is anywhere in the world where so many people would have the courage to jump up and get involved if the you know what ever hits the fan. And we're talking well-trained people too. What a gift to be surrounded by such can-do people.

I think soon I'll do 10 things I don't like about base. Maybe some one will listen and make some needed changes. (I can pretend my opinion matters that much, haha.)

What are your favorite things to do on base?

image via Wikipedia

Monday, September 15, 2014

Do All Military Spouses Love/Hate Storage Units?

I'm wondering if all military spouses have a love/hate relationship with packing and storage units. Remember the storage unit we had on base. I wrote about it here. Mr. Hart wanted to cut costs and I wanted to bring those things back to our home since we're looking at moving soon. So we spent part of the last two Saturdays cleaning them out and bringing most of the stuff back to our small apartment. Sigh.

It's of no concern to him where all that stuff is going while he's on active duty elsewhere. (LUCKY DOG!) But it's one to two days of work for me to reconfigure all out small storage spaces to figure out how to keep it bearable around here. Not to mention unloading the SUV monster alone.

Some of it went to hubs storage unit not far from base. We had to do a major re-org on his unit because it was a disaster. Sigh. Not to mention it just had to be the hottest day ever. Imagine him standing inside the storage unit where there is no air flow at all. We were both totally soaked to the skin with sweat. Even my hair was totally soaked through like I'd just washed it. It was awful.

I really want to burn the clothes I was wearing that day because I felt so disgusting and just never want to be reminded of that again. But I was really proud of us because we stayed calm and got it all done. Although I will admit that throughout the day there was a somewhat regular expletive tossed by Mr. Hart and by the end of the day I was about in tears from exhausting.

All I could do is stand in front of my husband, put my arms around him and just lay my sweaty, gross head on his shoulder so I would not sit down in the parking lot and cry. Exhausting work. I officially hate storage units. Haha. I was so tired today that after I got Clementine off to school I slept for almost five hours. Hello recovery! Mama's back needs some rest.

Do you have a love/hate with storage units too?