Sharing personal pain, learning lessons

  • Published
  • By Capt. Ken Langert
  • Flight Safety, 319 Air Refueling Wing
Drinking is not bad, if done responsibly. It is drinking to get drunk that is dangerous and stupid. 

Years ago, when I was a kid, my next door neighbor was killed by a drunk driver in the middle of the day while riding his bicycle down the street. This tore apart families and left them forever changed. 

In the past two years, my own brother has been charged with DUI, attempted suicide and has continued to fight addiction. My father-in law is going on 10 years of sobriety from alcoholism and has Alcoholics Anonymous, his faith and family to thank for it. I know I am not the only one with these experiences and odds are that you or someone you know has had similar ones. I would encourage you to share them with your co-workers and friends to help reinforce the dire effects that substance abuse can have.
All too often people associate alcohol with a good time, and as a way to unwind and relax. I would caution that if you need alcohol to do those things you may have a problem. Alcohol is a drug, and you can easily become addicted to it. You might think that it won’t happen to you, but everyone knows someone who has said that and ended up hurt. 

I have seen the effects that alcohol abuse and dependency can have on families and Airmen. I hope to convince and challenge everyone reading this article to never drink to get drunk. And as Wingmen, we need to step in if we see that alcohol is being abused, and discourage and prevent those that are doing it. 

The 0-0-1-3 program is a sound approach and should be our standard for drinking responsibly. It is more than numbers, it is a way to ensure you and your Wingmen stay sober and safe if you drink. If you have a personal experience that can benefit someone, take a moment out of your day to share it. You may end up saving a career or even a life.