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News | Nov. 17, 2021

The Road to Recovery

September is National Alcohol and Drug Recovery Month. Despite recognition of the health issue, not everyone who needs assistance seeks it. A Soldier on Fort Bliss who wishes to remain anonymous began the recovery process at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center Addiction Medicine Intensive Outpatient Program (AMIOP). For duration of this article, we call him Alex.

"I was a heavy drinker almost my whole career. As a teenager, I did many mind-altering substances. Growing up in the Mid-West during the 90s, there was not much to do it was amazing how easy it was to get drugs, but it was more difficult to get alcohol without identification. However, I could go and get all kinds of weird stuff like weed and cocaine as a 15-year-old, 16-year-old kid,” said Alex.

Heavy drinking among service members is common, but the staff at AMIOP provide treatment with and intensive program to help individuals with addiction. Entry into the AMIOP begins with enrollment in specific substance abuse programs such as (SUDCC)-Substance Use Disorder Clinic Care.

“Nevertheless, all that stopped when I enlisted in the Army and turned 21 years old. Drinking took over with 43 months in Iraq and Afghanistan, multiple divorces, and seven permanent changes of station. In summary, my life has been extremely chaotic. I just always dealt with the chaos by just drinking,” said Alex.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), excessive alcohol use is responsible for 2.5 million years of potential life lost annually, or an average of about 30 years of potential life lost for each death. Statistically, more than half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking, and more than seven million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent on or has abused alcohol.

Alex recalled when his drinking became uncontrollable. After a four-day bender that landed him in the hospital, Alex realized that for a successful retirement, he needed to seek help. “I was shocked by the AMIOP program. It forces you to dig deep and talk about the problematic issues you don't want to address. It helps you get to the root of the issues," said Alex.

Alex feels that the benefits and the activity of the AMIOP programs helped his recovery. "Well, recovery for me has been challenging. I have relapsed once, but going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings helps, and I am learning it's a battle that is never going to end, but I am much smarter now and more armed and prepared. I'm looking forward to peace and serenity, working a nine to five job,” said Alex.

Service members who are seeking treatment must contact their primary care manager before enrolling in SUDCC and the AMIOP program.
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