Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Staying On Track With Sobriety
Veteran Grady Mccrary started drinking when he was 17 and, at the time, did not see his drinking as a problem. He joined the Army in 1974. Even though his drinking was impacting his career in the military, he just thought his drinking was a part of his social life. Alcohol eventually caused him to be discharged from the Army early and his alcohol use became an even greater problem.
After the Army, Grady became what he calls a “functioning alcoholic.” He began using drugs and believes alcohol is what started his drug use. He maintained a job, but was having problems at work with tardiness and absenteeism. It was not until Grady started getting into trouble with the law due to his drinking that he realized he needed help. He sought professional help off and on for five years with his sobriety only lasting around 30 days before relapsing.
In 2005, Grady found himself in serious legal trouble. He was forced to face sobriety and, for the first time, realized, “All these programs were giving me the tools to stop, but I had to take the tools, put them in my tool box and actually use them.” He started using the resources provided to him by Truman VA and other organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous. He learned that he cannot drink in moderation and stopped socializing with other alcoholics. He has not had a drink of alcohol since June 4, 2005.
Looking back, Grady realizes how out of control his drinking habit became. He said, “Being a heavy drinker has consequences. It causes health problems, hardship on family and friends, poor decision-making, and you don’t have any self-control.” Grady feels like his life finally began when he stopped drinking. He now enjoys walking and bowling and even took up horseback riding. Grady tries to maintain a positive attitude and finds it helpful to spend most of his time around nondrinkers.
When asked what kind of advice he would offer to others trying to quit, Grady said, “Get involved with your local VA hospital. VA has a lot of resources that are free or inexpensive, that cater to your needs.” He continues to use the resources he has gained by attending groups at Truman VA, along with prayer, to stay on track with his sobriety.
For more information on the monthly prevention topic Limit Alcohol visit: https://www.prevention.va.gov/MPT/2017/April_2017.asp