When I was in the Army I was always referred to as a “training aid.” A training aid helps you perfect your craft. And if you’re an E-5 (sergeant) or above then you’re referred to as a (NCO) a non-commissioned officer. Those are the guys I helped train. I made my bosses pay attention to me because well I just tended to draw attention to myself. I did not mean it, honest…
I feel during my time in the military I played every role there was to play. I was the “high-speed soldier” who maxed his PT test. Other times I was “In the spot light”, we call this “being a dirt-bag.” This is when you do lots of push-ups, I did lots of push-ups.
Digging holes in Iraq
I always thought it was fun to hang out with the bad soldiers. In fact, I often slid through the cracks in my 7.5 year military carrier. I think I got away with more crap then any soldier. I had about 6 or 7 friend’s who lost rank. They would get demoted or kicked out of the ARMY. Now most times I was doing the exact same things as my friends (I just never got caught).
Furthermore, I had my actions reinforced and validated by looking around me and seeing everyone fuck up, but not me. I even knew a guy who fell through a whore house in South Korea. He fell right through the roof! One day this same guy set his face on fire with Bacardi 151. He showed up to accountability formation on Monday with half a face! Guys like him got chaptered out of the military while I just fell asleep in a puddle of puke in my barracks room. Haha. But not really funny.
And I felt that way too! I thought I was so clever. If I was an animal I would be a chameleon. Doctors often refer to this type of behavior as deviation. I am deviant, or a deviant… Haha. No matter what you call me, the goal was to get away with shit that you did not know about. This meant that I was better or something??
Really I do not want to get too much more into the why. When we (or I) look back what I once felt or thought, I remind myself “this really does not matter.” The only thing that matters in life is what we do, our actions! I ought to always ask myself, what did I do?
This brings me to my thought when I started tonight. (TRANSPARENCY) You may notice, I try to be transparent. See, I am lucky to have learned the lesson “Lies will ruin your life.” Or at least they took me down a path to the next bad thing. And I really do like to peak over the edge in life.
See I am a “hard charger!” If I do anything I will do the shit out of it. If I am getting over, I will generally take it too far, until it hurts. Here is a story, it kind of hurts after years. In 2009 I was getting a divorce and transitioning out of the army. I was going through one of my Sergeant TURD phases. I will never forget my commander, let’s call him Major Todd. 😉
I had just got my monthly (NCOER), it’s like a sergeant progress report. One of the sections labeled INTEGRITY was marked poor. I have been very deep in gambling addiction during my transition to civilian life. One of the biggest addictions in my life is gambling. Doctors say, the uncertainty of the outcome produces effects in the mind that mirror cocaine.
Don’t ask me all the medical details… Over the years I spent Hundreds of Thousands of dollars. I used to get off work on Friday at 5 pm drive two hours to the Indian casino in California. I would stay up for 3 days and gamble all weekend. Sometimes I would be so sleep deprived while driving back on Sunday, I would see things that were not really there! Then by some act of God, after about a hour sleep, I would make it too PT formation on Monday and maybe run 7 miles.
Most times I was unshaven during formation. One time I recall, I did not shave or even wear my class A’s for a formal inspection on Monday (I totally forgot). I told my 1st Sergeant that I sold my class A’s (It was true). I had balls, but no brains. I also did not have a shit to give about anything, my life was falling apart. During this time I was also on med’s for ADD. The Adderall did help me stay up all weekend and gamble.
Eventually, I had this formal meeting with Major Todd in his office. He told me “Sergeant Pausa! Have you ever read my mission statement?” I said, “You gave us a copy when you took over the unit sir.” He says, “yes but did you read it?” I say, “I believe so sir”. (Maj Todd) “Well have another copy there are a lot of good things in my mission statement.” He slid one off his desk and gave it to me.
(Maj Todd) “I am looking at the last drug test results, you know what’s interesting?” I say, “I have no idea sir?” (Maj Todd) “Well, I know that you’re allowed to take this medication for ADD. It is prescribed by a doctor and you’re allowed it. Soldier! That is perfectly fine!” I say, “Right, sir! I don’t see a problem?” (Major Todd) “Well sergeant, it is an amphetamine, doctors test the healthy level of this drug you’re supposed to have in your blood. Here it says.. Your levels are about 50 TIMES that of a normal dose! What have you got to say?” At this time, I am sure I had a dumb look on my face. I said, “The results must be wrong sir. Or mistaken.” The air in the room was very uncomfortable.
You get the idea. It’s painfully obvious, I did not give a shit about my carrier because my life is falling apart. And oh. By the way, POOR ME! If this is apparent to the reader? Then you can see this is just the excuse in my story. And the excuse gave me a reason to get fucked up. And the drama in my life brought me back to more excuses. At the time I called bullshit like this “justifiable reasons.”
The real point is that I sure as hell qualify as an addict. I want more of everything, my addiction is MORE! This is why it is absolutely necessary that I am totally accountable from now on. If I get lazy and I am not accountable all the time. I must at least be transparent as much as I can be. I must let people like you see through me, for the sake of my Integrity. (And for the sake of Major Todd)
My military experience was great, bullshit always caught up to me eventually. I had to make more excuses in the ARMY. It made me a bull-shit inventor (I would create shit)! And eventually the experience made me an honest man. A funny thing, I sorted through the love me box everyone has in the Army. I found it! “Major Todd’s Mission Statement”
Please comment on this blog if you found it interesting. Do you have any crazy addictions in your past? What have you overcome? Or perhaps, what are you still struggling with that you need to get off your chest? Id be happy to listen.
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Cover photo credit