I never let a war ruin me…but I feel like ruins war on me

The bittersweet military. I joined May 26, 2009 with the intentions of getting my shit together. I was 20 years old, partying nearly every night, had no job, and no direction in life. I thought joining the Army would change all of that. Little did I know that 10 years later, I would finally realize what role my time in service truly played.

Basic training taught me discipline and respect. It also taught me integrity, loyalty, and honor. And boy, did I have honor. I was so proud of the fact that I, Carrie D, was a U.S. soldier. I proved that I was fucking worthy of something. Although I showed my potential, I couldn’t stop trying to prove myself. That lead to some of mistakes and disasters.

Not many females were in my MOS (job) in the military. I was a truck driver, who constantly tried to prove her worth to the males. I just had to show that I could hang- I could drink, drive, and shoot like the best of them. Carrie D was known to be a partier. I would stay up all night drinking and do PT in the morning. That is what I thought the definition of being a soldier was.

I wanted to be liked and fit in more than I cared about my self-esteem and self-respect. I allowed alcohol to call the shots and had many sexual encounters. You know it’s a sad reality for a female in the military when a higher ranking female tells a new female soldier you have two options of what you’re going to be: a bitch or a slut. I “chose” wrong.

Despite all of this, I ended up getting sexually assaulted by my First Sergeant right before leaving on my first deployment, which fueled my alcoholism even more. Instead of dealing with that, I volunteered for another deployment 6 months after my return home.

I was a drunken slut who lost herself doing something that was supposed to make her a better person. Joining the military absolutely doesn’t play out the same way for everyone. This is my story.

By no means am I blaming the military for me being an alcoholic, either. I believe that I’ve always been one, however, my military experience brought out the worst of it.

I often wonder what life would have been like if I hadn’t joined, but then I wouldn’t have my husband or my daughter. Through all the bad, I still try to look at the good. It’s never always bad, and it’s okay to remember those times too.

I’ve never really been vocal about these times of my life. It’s hard for me to talk about as I’m sure it is for others who have gone through traumatizing situations. I hope my rawness will help someone else. You are NEVER alone.

Thank you for reading.

-Carrie Harmon

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