Veteran Stories : Let my failure be your lesson.

Posted by Stuart Holden on

Hey Legends, 

"G" has supplied his story as a cautionary tale. Have a read and take in his moving story. Thanks to G for sharing his moving story. 

... 

It was the 13th of December 2013 and my life had changed forever. We will get to that later.

Let’s talk about how I got to the point where I was about to spend an extended period behind bars.

I joined the Army in 2001. I didn’t really drink a whole lot prior to joining and didn’t do it much for the first few years of service either. But that would soon change.

In 2008 I took a posting to a job that was well out of my comfort zone and would be long hours. This was where I developed a drinking problem. For the first year of a 2-year posting I was going out and getting drunk 4 nights a week and at times pulling 18-hour days at work. Drinking was just what we did when we socialised, or wanted to unwind or just cos. I very rarely could just “have 1 or 2”. It would usually end up in an all-nighter. After finishing this posting and returning to my previous unit I had this stupid idea that the drinking would stay behind. But it didn’t, and this was when it really started to change my decision making. With the benefit of hindsight it is now easy to see that this was occurring when at the time I truly didn’t believe I had any issues despite my wife at the time(now ex-wife) raising it on several occasions.

Now I admit that I had a problem with booze, but I was a binge drinker. I lived for the weekend and the chance to go out with mates and get wasted. I’m not saying this makes it any better, because it doesn’t, but I was a party drinker. I drank to get fucked up. The majority of decisions I made on the weekends or who I hang out with was great influenced by where and what we wanted to drink.

By this time, it’s now June 2010 and I have just finished 6 months of lead up training for a deployment to fail the final assessment and be pull of the trip. This was 100% my fault. I don’t believe alcohol had a direct effect on this but the there is no doubt in my mind that it and my decisions made around it(alcohol) would have had some effect on my performance.

This only made things worse! I then sought out some down time that wasn’t leave and ended up being in the form of a defence sporting carnival. This was, yet again, another booze driven choice. I will say that playing the sport I did then lead me to meet my current (2020) wife so there is a silver lining, but I digress.

After another 18 months in this posting I moved interstate a single man having just broken up with my wife and made the trek north in 2012.

This is when shit really starts to turn south.

I had made plans to travel interstate to another defence sporting carnival when it was cancelled somewhat last minute. This left me with flights and not really having a point for using them. Now I COULD have made the smart decision and changed the flights to go and see my girlfriend at the time (my current wife) but instead I let the potential of an alcohol fuelled weekend with the boys cloud my judgement and took this option instead.

This is the stuff I’m talking about. If I made the smart choice and visited my GF I probably would’ve STILL gotten drunk and STILL had shitloads of fun, but the ease of the boys weekend was took good to go past and it was THIS point that my life changed FOR-E-VER!!!

NOTE: As you can tell I have been very scarce on specific details as this is still very raw for me. My Wife and I have, only in recent months, been threatened and bullied by someone about the events surrounding the events of that weekend so I’m sure you can understand my reasons for this.

 

 

The night that would be the event that changed my life was my birthday. So not only was my life fucked but my birthday is soiled just to add to the fun. That weekend was an absolutely liver killing time that, in hindsight, had no real point to it but to get as wasted as possible. It’s not like I was suffering from a mental illness that I was trying to use drinking to self-medicate, I just liked getting wasted.

So, skipping the rest of the details of that weekend, I returned home to find out that I might be in some trouble with the law. THIS is the point where mental health issues became a problem.

Over the next 18 months I would see the inside of a courtroom numerous times. Oh, and the kicker……. I STILL thought drinking was a good idea. Even after moving in with my, now, Wife and having our first child, drinking STILL made up part of my decision making. Even to the point that I very nearly lost my family from it. I was in the mindset that everything was going to be fine and that it would work out.

WELL GUESS WHAT?! IT FUCKING DIDN’T!!!!

On that day I mentioned at the start I came out of that courtroom being found guilty of something that would see me serve 2 years in full-time prison, 1-year weekend detention and another 2 or so years on a good behaviour order. As you can imagine, I was dismissed from the Army NEVER to go back. I was lucky enough to be able to go home for Christmas before starting my period of incarceration early January 2014.

My Wife and I are firm believers in karma. We teach our kids not to do dumb shit or karma will come back to haunt you. Now I, to this day, deny what I was convicted of, however; I had, in those alcohol fuelled years, done some morally bankrupt shit. It is THIS stuff that I believe that karma decided to teach me a lesson.

Let’s put the prison time aside for a minute and have a look at the other areas of life that are affected by this. And let’s be honest, by “this” I mean alcohol.

  1. I lost my job in the Army.
  2. I truly found out who my friends were. By that I mean most of them aren’t in my life anymore.
  3. It’s REALLY hard to find a good job with a criminal record. You can have the best resume in the field, of which mine is rather good, but you are still required to answer that question if the employer asks it.
  4. Then there’s the issue of how and when to tell your kids about it.
  5. The mental health implications that come with going through something like this. I’ll be honest, I have gotten to a point where I have had suicidal thoughts that were VERY nearly acted on twice and one extremely near incident of severe self-harm. I have previously only told my psych and my wife about that so I might take it out yet…. we’ll see.
  6. I find it EXTREMELY hard to make new friends………….and the list could go on.

As I sit here in tears and re-live all this, I only hope that someone can take my failures and learn from them. I have made some REALLY bad choices around drinking; PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t make the same mistake I did!!! I could change your life forever or maybe even worse………………….it could end it!

 

I saw a post on IG the other day shared by Stuey at Threshold Tactical. It was a legal firm offering advise regarding talking to the police. Having been in several police interviews, I can 100% vouch for the advice they gave. I’m about to tell you what helped MY SITUATION when my court case was happening. This is NOT legal advice and you should ALWAYS talk to a lawyer before talking to the police!!! Here’s a few things that ended up getting me a “discount” on my sentencing in the end:

  • If there is something that they have on paper or on video, like phone records or CCTV, don’t argue the point. Both of those happened to me and I did the righty and agreed to what they were, and it got me 5% of the sentence when it ended up turning to shit.

This next part comes straight from the @operationallegalaustralia IG page and its smart advice. These are the simple things that you can do should you find yourself in this situation:

DO

  • Ask why you are being arrested
  • Give your name and address
  • Ask to speak to a lawyer
  • Ask for bail
  • Always be polite. Being a dick is only going to make things worse.

DON’T

  • Be abusive, this will absolutely cause you problems
  • Answer any questions other than your name and address
  • Make statements verbally or in writing
  • Sign anything
  • Resist arrest.

Be careful when police talk to you outside of the station setting. At one point they came to my house to “have a chat”. I was told that they would be “taking notes” but I noticed an electronic recording device in his shirt pocket by the red light that indicated it was recording. I wasn’t a dick to them; in fact, I answered all the questions they had in accordance with my lawyer’s advice.

Speaking of which. Let’s talk legal assistance. I was lucky enough to be given the contact details of a reservist Legal Officer and he helped me out, in large for free, for the early days of shit. So, check out the legal section in your area and see what they can offer or who they might know. If you’re not in the Military, there are legal aid services available that are free. This does take an application to be approve I believe but the help is there.

Even though I left out quite a few of the details, I have spoken about some stuff in this that is quite confronting. There are so many support services that you can access whether you are in the ADF or not. Going through this is HEAVY shit and it will affect you mentally. I got on to it pretty early both when I was going through the court process and once again when I was in prison. Again, these services are there so don’t be afraid to use them.

As the title says, I hope my EPIC failure can be a tool for you to get the help you might need and avoid going through what I have. Drinking might be fun, but its not worth changing your life forever.

 

Regards,

G.

 

 

All stories are supplied by Veterans to Threshold Tactical Blog, they are not edited in any way and their opinions and reflections don't represent the opinions and viewpoints of the brand or it's team members. All rights reserved by the author not to be copied without permission. - Threshold Tactical