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Can You Join the Military If You Have a History of Addiction?

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If you have dreamed of joining the military, how will your addiction affect your dream? When you are in addiction treatment, you are very focused on your treatment. However, you are also thinking about the future. Will your friends and family welcome you back? How will you manage at home? How will your addiction, addiction treatment, and recovery impact your career? If you have dreamed of a career in the military, will addiction treatment prevent you from enlisting?

The Military’s Attitude Toward Drug and Alcohol Use


While movies and books may show those in the military using a lot of recreational alcohol, the reality is different. Drug and alcohol abuse is no longer tolerated in the military. The tolerance for use of alcohol has decreased dramatically, and activities such as drinking and driving are certainly not tolerated.

Can You Have a History of Drug and Alcohol Abuse?


The US Military “does not condone the illegal or improper use of drugs or alcohol,” according to The Balance. This is not only because it is illegal but because it is bad for mental and physical health. It could put other people in the military and the civilian population at risk, and it could lead to criminal charges.

The Military Screening Process


If you are considering a military career, you will be screened for drug and alcohol abuse. You can expect a recruiter to ask you if you have used drugs. You will also be asked about abuse and dependency. If you have been physically or psychologically dependent on drugs or alcohol, then you may not be eligible to join. If you have experimented with drugs but were not dependent, you may still be eligible. The military does not accept those who have sold or trafficked in drugs in the past. In any event, be completely honest with your recruiter about your addiction history. Addiction treatment

What is Allowed?


While the military would prefer that you be clean and you must pass physical drug and alcohol screening tests to get into the military, you can have some drug and alcohol use in your past. According to the Military Authority, “the military is more lenient towards alcohol use and soft drugs like marijuana than it is towards hard drugs like cocaine and heroin.” If you have used drugs and alcohol occasionally and recreationally, without dependence on them, then you may be allowed to join. However, the less you use drugs and alcohol, the easier it is to move into the military. The use and abuse of drugs and alcohol can be a barrier for those who would like to join.

What Happens If You Cannot Join?


Drug and alcohol abuse can change your life in many different ways, and it could change the employment options that are available to you. Where should you go in your career as you move through addiction treatment and into recovery? Talking with a therapist and employment counselor can help you find the answers you need. If you are not able to join the military, you could look at the reasons that you would like to join and find other fields of work that fill those interests and needs. The addiction recovery process requires support, and part of that support is designed to help you find out where you want to go with your life and your career. At Advanced Recovery Systems, we know that receiving all-around support is important when you are in recovery. Talk with us about how our programs can allow you to move more easily into life after addiction treatment. Contact us today.
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