What If...

I got myself out of the U.S. Army. I lie to everyone I meet about the specifics because it kills me. I was 18 years old when I joined, and 18 years old when I got out, I am 23 now. I remember looking at the other guys getting processed out and thinking how full of **** their "back injuries" were or there "psych" problems were, but I was one of them.

I was a holdover for my MOS(Military Occupational Specialily) training for over 6 weeks and the stress began building.. The girlfriend that had just broken up with me, the terrible family life I had come from and I used a discrepency in my civilian medial records to get out of the military. The disappointment in myself that I carry with me everyday is unbearable. The dishonor I feel is unbearable. I have a 3 year old son now, a terrible family life and no career path and I wonder, how badly did I screw my life up? I have aspirations, and I try and use the experience to better my future and to work harder and be a better man, but the burden is carried with me everywhere I go. I cannot hang my awards on the wall, I cannot joke about my basic training class, and I cannot tell people I was in the military.

I have tried to use the experience as a building block for my future but I have found it is becoming a road block. I have a hole in my life because I did not accomplish what I set out to accomplish. I gave up, I quit... How noble is that? What kind of man gives up on the military and runs away? I was not scared of war, I was not scared of dying.. I just took the easy way out because it wasn't fun sitting in the barracks doing nothing. I was a stupid kid that made a stupid decision... But the regret lives inside of me today.

This is the only experience that brings God into my life, something to bring clarity to the situation. I tell myself "I wouldn't have my son if I stayed in".. "Maybe I would have died in Iraq if I had stayed in"..."Maybe me getting out was meant to be" but that is always clouded by me telling myself that I'm trying to validate the pain I have inside me.

I am not proud of myself, and I cannot move on. I cannot stop thinking about the "what if's".

What if I never had my son?
What if I had been killed in Iraq?
What if I had never left my U.S. station?
Where would I be today?

It's killing me inside.

drc6 drc6
22-25, M
2 Responses May 6, 2012

I am here if you need to talk hun but I must tell you I will be really honest with my thiughts and opinions. and it looks like you need that. I was going to disect your story here. but I decided that this is really personal and it needs to be solved on a one on one basis. granted I am no psychologistor whatever. But I have been known for helping people. so message me If you would like to talk

Well, it's good you are writing about it, at least.<br />
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You need to first of all realize just what you said yourself: You were a stupid kid and made a stupid decision. You did not know any better then or you would have stayed in, right? That was who you WERE in the past and there is nothing at all you can do. Feeling bad won't change it.<br />
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What's the best way to move forward? Is it "noble" to keep beating yourself up, keep feeling guilty and unworthy? Or, would it be more noble and manly to choose a new goal, and accomplish that? Idk anything about the military, but, can you go back, or rejoin?<br />
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Believe me, I've done and do the same thing... I sometimes am paralyzed because of some things I did years ago. Most of us do this from time to time, you're not alone.<br />
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I think we keep going back over a past failure because we're afraid to do something new... it's way less scary to constantly feel bad than to try again. If you can't get past it with your partner, or other people, then find a sliding scale or free therapist so you can talk it out. You ARE still very young! Don't waste any more time.<br />
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And thanks for sharing, I feel more inspired myself after reading about your struggle.