Our godless Army is an addicted army.
The ever-present demon of chemical addiction exacerbates the plight of soldiers. Alcohol and drug abuse scars the souls of these young men and women. With ease, I envision one of my young soldiers in his barracks room all weekend, alone with Satan himself. Satan, always whispering,
“Do it, there’s no hope. Do it. It’ll make it better.”
“I don’t want to.”
“It’s the right thing.”
“They’ll call you brave.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Have another drink.”
I mourned at the consideration, that the blackness in a young man’s heart was deepened by the consumption of alcohol to the point whereby the demonic could convince him to cinch his belt around his neck, secure it over the door jam, and literally sit to his death. I still mourn at the sheer emptiness that led to such an act, the spiritual bankruptcy enabled by chemical enslavement.
I felt compelled to write my inaugural work, Scourge: Confronting the Global Issue of Addiction, before ever setting foot in the Division. I noticed, via the foster care system, the surprising prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse.
We live in the Bible Belt yet, every single foster child we’d sheltered over the course of eight years—numbering nearly 30—dealt with the impacts of addiction. Many were taken into custody due to the sins of their birth parents in terms of addiction. Some birth mothers afflicted their children in the womb, consuming drugs and alcohol while pregnant. My seven-year-old son, our first foster child nearly seven years ago, suffers from a litany of physical ailments due to his mother’s crack use during pregnancy. Another of my sons suffers from partial hearing loss due to his mother’s prenatal alcohol abuse.
Physical and emotional abuse frequently accompany addiction. One of my sons witnessed drug abuse and drug related violence…against his mother. Another son of mine spent time in a crack house with his biological parents some years ago. It’s a wonder he can even function.
Prescription drug abuse flourishes. One of my sons lost his father to prescription drugs. We took in another young man who had just turned 18. For several weeks he just kind of moped around the house in a funk. At some point, I took him to the doctor for a checkup. He walked out shaking a bottle of pills at me.
“At least I got these.”
“You ought to flush them down the toilet.”
A wretched physician had prescribed anti-depressants based upon him merely saying he was depressed. No follow-up with a psychologist or otherwise. Just a, “here’s yer pills, now go away”. Ridiculous, but common. A week or so later, he got a full-time job and the change in his demeanor was palpable. He no longer had time to be depressed.
As he and I later discussed, he wasn’t depressed. He just was not fulfilling his God-given desire to be productive, to work. Yet, our entire system revolves around treating symptoms, often with narcotics.
Is it any wonder we have a nation of addicts?
Is it any wonder we have an army of addicts?
An Addicted Army
As such, I should not have been surprised to find the same issue in the Army. I’m not even sure how to adequately capture the extent of the issue, how to adequately do it justice. I recall reading about the ‘Hollow Army’ of the 1970’s and the rampant drug abuse that permeated the ranks.
Binge drinking was the order of the day in my younger Army years. I showed up to Korea in 1996 and the first night found myself doing naked carrier landings in the O-club…with my battalion commander…and all the other officers…while drinking heavily. I distinctly remember the Top Gun theme song blaring loudly. Some from my generation look back fondly upon such antics. Yet, I wonder how many closet alcoholics later self-destructed.
Things have changed.
Consider that the Army is sending kids as young as 20-years-old to in-patient rehabilitation. Consider that the vast majority—not all—of rapes and sexual assaults occur within the context of binge drinking. Cocaine, marijuana, spice, prescription drugs—they are all present and prevalent. The statistics paint a surprisingly bleak outlook concerning the widespread abuse of chemicals in the ranks and as I said, it normally accompanies other afflictions, weakening minds and eroding the will. People will simply do things under the influence that they might not otherwise do.
The van ride to Fort Leavenworth must’ve seemed to take an eternity for my young sergeant convicted of raping a junior soldier. He was drunk at the time, as was she. Three young soldiers, two males and a female, return to the barracks in a drunken stupor and have a sexual triste. The next morning the female cries, ‘Rape’ while the young men cry, ‘Consensual’. Either way, lives are ruined.
Another young soldier, on more psychotropic medications than any man should be, due to a laundry list of behavioral health diagnoses, weeps feebly at the slightest demand. He is literally, incapable of working. A young sergeant shoots up a local nightclub. Cocaine and alcohol are involved.
The deviant creativity of the enemy ensures soldiers will remain one step ahead of the authorities. As fast as the army responds to one type of abuse, someone invents another. Recently, soldiers started spiking their ‘vape’ e-cigs with all manner of chemicals in pursuit of the high, undetectable to any current methods.
Other than the obvious destruction of young lives, chemical abuse wreaks havoc in another way.
Chemical abuse weakens the force.
The moral bankruptcy in the hearts of these soldiers drives their pursuit of worldly satisfaction. Apart from Christ, godless soldiers—godless men, really—will seek the high in any way, including chemical abuse.
Every soldier battling drug and alcohol abuse is a soldier not available to close with and destroy the enemy. Every Commander and First Sergeant spending inordinate amounts of time dealing with soldiers battling drug and alcohol abuse is a Commander and First Sergeant not training their men to close with and destroy the enemy.
This problem will only continue to worsen. The increasing godlessness of our soldiers should cause great concern as the scourge of addiction will likely continue to grieve the ranks for the foreseeable future.
For this reason, I pray that our civilian masters keep us from the high intensity conflict that would demand so much from our Army, perhaps more than we could ever again muster.
Author - Founder
Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).
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