Then there came the the shattering illusion of total reality. At times when a person is in the state of intoxication one can see things in a different perspective. The total reality of the situation to the point of understanding came into focus. Stumbling and thinking to myself in my stupor state, I began to understand the thoughts of being shot and shooting another person. It was in the beer haze of fantasy but it rang in my mind. Never before had such a question cross my mind of shooting and being shot or wounded. There was a real semblance of truths running through my beer hazed mind. This war was the ultimate of confusion to myself and everyone else involved in it. Inside in the beer haze of my mind the terror of this war was starting to sprout shoots of growth. The inner instinct of living and not wanting to die found earth to grow upon. The basic instinct of survival was the pivot point of my thinking. Walking on the dirt path, thoughts of home, people, friends, loved ones was gushing into all parts of my mind. All this concluded in one major decision of my war policy, I would not again drink beer or alcoholin Viet Nam.
The days continued to get longer. There was a lack of things to do in lax times which made the seconds seem longer. The longer you were in the company the longer the days grew. The routines were the same as the details along with army bullshit, which had a way of getting under your skin. For some the problem of drinking, could be seen at various times with antics. But, for many it was the deep seeds of alcoholism taking root with the problems of Viet Nam. The early rise eye opener was medicine for a few. Then again who could blame them for wanting an exit door out of Viet Nam. The time, boredom, and pressures made it understandable relatively speaking. Others would find a corner some where and smoke a joint of grass, or go down by the river and light up. The ones who went and smoked grass seemed to emerge in a happy giddy mood. To me it seemed the lesser of two evils, if you had to choose. Though the stigma of grass stayed with me from high school and the few beatnik village goers who used grass. The bottom line was the unknown and the fear of drug addiction associated.
The pressures of the present situation were still mounting. The idea of smoking grass or at least trying it started playing in my mind. Then the old fears would come back to cancel out the new thoughts. It was a frustrating situation which was gnawing inside of me. Then my curiosity was now being brought into play. One thing of interest was the people who smoked grass seemed to have one click. The people who drank socialized but were going off in a stupor in a corner of thought and depressions. Now it seemed I was being isolated in the company, an outsider now,with a click of grass smokers and varied individuals who were loners or married want to be short types. The isolation seemed to grow inside of me. There was a need for friendship and it was being shunned. I realized that there were months of time before me in this one company of AN KHE ARMY AIR COMMAND.
Time and need of social companionship was increasing within myself. It is my nature to have friends and converse with others. The isolation of the place in the jungles of a country that no one knew about or cared, except on the television news. It wasn't like going out the front door, hoping into a car and going somewhere. Fears and pressures grew larger and larger with the real reality of the war. More and more as the new life of Viet Nam grew, the old civilized was of life seemed to be erasing themselves. As time passed in the company, with the F.N.G. label pretty much gone, you became aware of much more. You talked with others about the war and there was a social intercourse of awareness-es. There were some guys in the company who were smokers of grass in the world,[the United States was the world now]. They were a motivating stimulus in the company, they would ask others if they wanted to turn on. The turning on process was like walking down a path till you reached the joint. Within myself the two choices was either alcohol or grass, one or the other.
Inside now the courage was mounting and building. The idea of trying a puff was working its way into my thinking as a common thought. My inhibitions were folding to Viet Nam. That final step of doing it was the direction I was headed. For most the situation, war, loneliness, pressures, personal griefs, heartbreaks, wife, girlfriend, and just the situation. These were the general thoughts that were running through most minds.Being drafted and not wanting it was a big fact in a lot of minds. These were the thoughts that had to be taken care of in Viet Nam. If you dwell-ed on those thoughts, you were headed for a crackup. Each person is frail in nature and will sub-come to those pressures. The shock of Viet Nam was a big factor to overcome for all who spent time in country.
Coming to Viet Nam was in the beginning a total new and altering experience. Then like a dust storm that ends one starts to see further and further in visibility. Then the bright sunshine of day shows the true colors of the sky and all surrounding things. This was the point that the average person decided on grass or alcohol or both for some. If you didn't find that release valve in company it started to eat at your bone marrows and your soul. For some again a crackup and off to the hospital. There were some who coped by isolation and sleep. Some just took a drink or took a hit from a jointand went into slumber land. They would lay back on their bunk and dream of home and the thousand thoughts that would take them away from Viet Nam.
The new situation brought on social changes in the person also. Little habits and mannerisms were developed or lost. Different words used to describe things, at the dinner table the learning of home manners seemed to fade a little.
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