Road Out of Hell

PTSD and its common manifestations of anger, alcohol, substances, food, and suicidal depression is a serious growing issue in society. There are those who suffer from PTSD and its symptoms; while there are typically 10 people (spouse, family and inner circle) who are directly impacted; and a further 10 who are indirectly impacted for each of these. There are at least 100 people who are affected in some way by the PTSD motivated behavior of each injured person each year.

Veterans of local civilian conflicts have Moral Injuries. Which can be understood as:  i) there has been a betrayal of what’s right; ii) by someone who holds legitimate authority; iii) in a high-stakes situation. The body codes it in much the same way as it codes physical attack.” Dr Jonathan Shay, M.D. author Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America.

I believe that society owes a "huge" debt to every young person who has been wounded serving in the military. The freedoms we assume and enjoy would not exist if it were not for their sacrifice.

No one can fault the generousity of the American public for their giving to the physically wounded. We are sorely lacking in our support of those who have taken a Moral Injury (spiritual bullets that plough through the brain) while serving us.

We need to be well informed and compassionate; to be willing to get support where their PTSD related behaviors cause us to struggle with unconditional love. Enabling may look like love; but it is not helpful to our recovery. Veterans have a profound responsibility to not let their military wounds be an excuse for continued bad behavior.

There are some 8.4 million living veterans of the Vietnam war. There are 5.2 million veterans of wars in the Gulf States; from August 1990 to present; including: Kuwait; Iraq; Afghanistan; Iran; and Syria. All of whom carry some degree of Moral Injury, as a result of their combat experiences with innocent civilians. Half of American society will be directly impacted by one of these people this year. No one can escape the indirect effects of the wars we have chosen to fight.

Recovery begins when one Veteran shares their story with another. There is a unique bond which exists between people who have shared death. I sincerely believe that this sharing needs to be balanced with professional skills and prescribed medications. For example, naltraxone can save lives lost to drunk driving by reducing the craving for alcohol.

My story is not unique. I hope that the political intrigue around Operation Savannah will add some "spice" to the story. That my accounts of being a "Wilbur Smith" character; including smuggling emeralds in Zambia, will generate an interest in the principles of recovery.

My sincere hope is that our readers will be able to grow in their understanding of all the issues!