Confessions of a Recovering War Junkie
*Note - This is the first post to this blog, so I will attempt to keep it short for those of you who can
barely sit still long enough to read the latest The Duffel Blog post. Plus, I want you to come back again.
Combat. To some, that word conjurs images they have seen of wars fought in faraway lands,
broadcast daily on CNN or Fox News since September 11th, 2001. To others, the word 'Combat'
will ellicit fond memories of Brotherhood, firefights won, and the incomparable high of an adrenaline
Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
Soldiers come back from long tours of terrifying, adrenaline-infused combat and are happy to be
home. For a while, anyways. Happy to see their family, get laid, eat their favorite food, drink far
too much (or not enough) liquor. The excitement of returning from war temporarily replaces the
intense adrenaline high that combat provides. This fades quickly into a yearning for more
excitement and adrenaline 'fixes'.
Oftentimes the retuning soldier will purchase a motorcycle with his hard-earned, tax-free combat
pay. And drink too much. And speed. And die. All to recapture that combat adrenaline rush. In the
heroin world, this is called 'chasing the dragon'. The high you get in combat can only be replaced
with what? More combat.
Fighting. Out at the bar on a Friday night. It's crowded and you hate crowds because they have a
tendency to attract bullets, VBIEDs, gentlemen mingling with the crowd wearing suicide vests -
Crowds are shitty places to be. But you have your boys, and a buzz. And now the crowd makes
your PTSD flare up like a pack of hemorrhoids. Ah, yes! Excitement! Adrenaline! FIGHT!
Pro Tip - Stay the hell away from Walmart on the weekends.
This cycle is destructive, but you have to be willing to recognize this fact before you can change
Or hit rock-bottom. End up in prison with Bubba rocking YOUR bottom. But I digress. Here are
some more Pro Tips to help you assimilate into society and not be that angry war vet.
- Stop wearing MMA clothing. Your limited exposure to Modern Army Combatives and
years of being a Tito Ortiz fan (plus that super-busy and blingy Tapout shirt) will not
keep you from getting your ass handed to you. And no SnapBack hats. Ever.
- Don't drink so much. And if you want to drink while watching UFC 576 this weekend,
Affliction gear, and the patrons of Buffalo Wild Wings will laugh at you. Hard. Then
you'll want to fight. It's a vicious cycle.
- Again, STAY AWAY FROM WALMART ON WEEKENDS.
- There's this thing called 'Adrenal Fatigue'. Guys who have been in high stress
but are rarely diagnosed. Causes depression, lethargy (dragging ass, for all you weirdo
knuckle-dragging Infantrymen out there), low testosterone, and other symptoms. Can only
feel energized after that 2 1/2 gallon can of Monster energy drink? It's because your adrenal
glands are running on empty. More on Adrenal Fatigue -
Everyone knows you are a war hero - you personally shot Bin Laden, ate babies and killed snakes
while you were in the Middle East. We get it. You are the archetypal Sheepdog badass who enters
an Afghan village screaming 'WHERE'S THE BABIE'S ROOM!". Well even the most awesome war
heroes lose it at times. Look at Rambo - He was obviously depressed and decided that his happiness
would be somewhere in the Pacific Northwest (or in his duffel bag, probably buried at the bottom
underneath all the unecessary gear he had to pack as per the Packing List). He probably should have
moved somewhere sunny and less emo, especially since he was on foot.
Rambo had a classic case of 'Don't Go To Walmart On The Weekendsitis'.
Enjoy the great memories and have fun NOT living in shitty conditions. But be honest with
yourself and get some help if you need it. Remove your Ego from the equation and do some
maintenance on yourself. No one else is going to do it for you. Oh, and MMA clothing makes you
look like a douche. Burn them. Burn them all.