A Decorated War Veteran is Using His Personal Struggles With Alcoholism to Help New Veterans

It isn’t uncommon to see a correlation between veterans and alcoholism. As more soldiers return home from war, the number of those impacted by excessive drinking, and even substance abuse, are increasing. Retired Brigadier General Stanley Cherrie is using his experience with alcohol as a way to help other soldiers. He recently shared his personal story in a Fox News article.

Former Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker was there the day Cherrie came into the emergency room after collapsing at a Gulf War reunion event. Years of alcoholism had finally taken its toll on the decorated war veteran. Although he initially denied claims of drinking too much, Cherrie finally came clean, literally, and went to rehab.

Drinking, says Schoomaker, is a persistent problem in the military. While there has previously been a stigma attached to seeking treatment for the disease, the government is hoping to change that. Just three years ago, a pilot program was created by the Army to help soldiers receive outpatient drug and alcohol treatment. The biggest perk is their commanding officer wouldn’t be informed. In the past, this would have been grounds for an immediate medial discharge.

Now sober, Cherrie has returned to a life similar to the one before his long military career. Cherrie said he hardly drank during his college days at Rutgers and before he joined the United States Army. But after his second tour in Vietnam when he lost a leg to a landmine, it all changed. Alcohol was a common stress reliever for not only Cherrie but his comrades. This illustrates the bigger problem with troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers will turn to alcohol to neutralize the pains of war.