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If you have the disease of alcohol or drug addiction, you are at war. This conflict has wounded you and taken casualties, and many have lost their lives during the battle. Therefore, we will treat this like a standard U.S. military operation. However, it’s a war that can be won. 

Let’s begin with the battles. Every time that you want to drink alcohol or use drugs, your body is mentally, physically and emotionally engaged with the enemy. Every trigger is another battle. When life gets stressful and your drug of choice seems like the best solution, that’s another battle. 

Boredom becomes an internal battlefield that will test your discipline to the limit. So is peer pressure. You may just want to fit in with the crowd, but gear up because now you are facing overwhelming force: You are in an internal civil war.

How do you win these battles? You need weapons.

Let’s take an inventory of the arsenal that you have available. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings will provide you with the security forces and manpower to beat the enemy. 

When you need a bit more cover, you have overwatch (sniper support) standing by in the form of your sponsor. If you require reinforcements, the army of brothers and sisters actively working through the steps, attending meetings and understanding this type of warfare should be on speed dial for activation. 

But when that ice cold beer, meth pipe or pill feels like the answer to your problems and the odds are overwhelmingly against you because the adversary has fire superiority, call in air support (your higher power) to shock and awe the enemy.

With every battle, there will be fresh wounds and scars left from past conflicts. The scars show that you survived. They can be a powerful teaching tool.

You will fight many battles in the war on addiction, and you may lose some. However, as a soldier in the army, you must take inventory of your resources, equipment and weapons of war on a daily basis. 

You must be prepared for the next urge to drink, use or continue the cycle of self-destructive behavior. 

Do not allow the enemy to defeat you in battle.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Shon Pernice is a contributing writer for PJP. He is a veteran and a Kansas City native who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a combat medic and came home with traumatic brain injury and PTSD. He has been published in Veterans Voices, The Beat Within and Military Magazine. He is a contributing author to the book, "Helping Ourselves By Helping Others: An Incarcerated Men's Survival Guide." Shon was incarcerated in Missouri.