He started drinking in what was a military-condoned environment within the walls of his workspace. This is where many a Marine went to "deal with it all" with the stocked and accommodated blessing of the command, but "dealing" is not what occurred. Incurred instead were a series of military police blotter entries wherein things were written down that should've first and only been logged in certified counselor records. That my own husband didn't have any run-ins with the law is irrelevant. Others did, and they shouldn't have been spoon-fed the option to get to that point; and it was in their company where my husband thrift-shopped for coping skills.
We argued constantly and he had no tolerance for teenagers, which sucked because we had two of them who were pissed about leaving their old high school three months into their senior year on top of everything else. The words "sacrifice," "duty," "loyalty" and "love" bounced off the walls of our new home as they were thrown around by all of us except our youngest who just stood there helplessly wondering what the hell was going on. And for as loud as we all were, no one was listening to the other. One hundred and ninety six boxes it took to move our household and we'd forgotten to pack respect and regard.
In 2003 not a single counselor in this area was remotely qualified to deal with a post-combat deployment family; and in fact a few of them they made things much worse. I began to write about the stuff that was going well in an attempt to keep my focus positive. I shared this with my husband and our kids and it did seem to help a little. But in truth, it wasn't positive most of the time.
One of the chapters in my book that I still can't seem to get right had started out as the end product of an email interview my husband and I had with a couple of college psychology students who were studying the effects of combat deployment on families. I can't seem to get through what I wrote all those years ago, and I wonder if I just shouldn't pitch that chapter from the book entirely.
On the one hand, I know there are readers who would get a lot out of it. On the other hand, there is the feeling I'm writing someone else's story without permission despite the go-ahead from my kids and my husband. Every time I read it I'm right back there in the throes of it all, but instead of being the woman I was, I'm watching her. The idea of making her pain public just seems so ... invasive. I gave a very long answer to the last question in the email interview, but I ended it with one word: "Permanently." The question was, "How was your family affected?"