Spartan Rising
An Unknown Soldier

War, The Worlds Most
 Dangerous Addiction

“There is nothing in life more exhilarating than to be shot at without effect” ~ Sir Winston Churchill.

You are about to be deployed on a three day  fighting patrol to clear the enemy from a stronghold.  ISTAR assets have confirmed high numbers of enemy in and around the AO with human intelligence suggesting that there remains a threat from enemy HMG and IDF.  You are told to expect IED's to line all access routes in and out of the village.   You have recieved your orders and spent two days going over battle prep.  You have left the line of departure and  you are well on the way to doing a job you have trained for years to do.

Now picture the scene, you have received your Quick Battle Orders and have been fired in with HMG, GPMG and shoulder mounted weapon systems. You are stacked in your fire team prepared to assault the enemy.  You raise and lower your rifle three times in quick succession to signal to the number two in the first assault pair that your are ready to assault.  He removes your grenade from your pouch and preps it.  The door is pushed slightly open and in goes the L109 HE fragmentation grenade. Just metres away the enemy suspects that you are waiting to assault and he is either frantically trying to escape or sitting in wait covering his arcs, he has the drop on you.

You about to enter the lions den.  What seems like an eternity passes as you feel the force of your blood rushing through you body, exacerbated by the adrenaline flowing through you.  You may feel slight kidney pain as the adrenal glands  go into overdrive.  With the tremendous thundering blast your right index finger twitches along the trigger guard and you enter the compound.  Life becomes intense, it feels as though everything is in both high definition and slow motion.  Your breathing is heavy and your reactions pin point, head on a swivel and the muzzle of your rifle in perfect alignment with your eyes.  Life changing situations unfold in split seconds and you have been on autopilot since you left the forming up point.  The whole time not giving a moments thought to the act of killing, defending and saving lives.

 It is quite simply epic.  For days you are on a roller coaster ride of emotional ups and downs but no one saying exactly how they feel.  Assault, Suppress, Reserve, these three words rotating over and over as you move from bloodied acts of violence to periods of administration as mundane as brushing your teeth or changing your socks.  Patrolling through enemy held territory sweeping the floor for victim operated IEDs while under the continual threat of ambush from well trained enemy combatants.  "Man Down!" Amidst the chaos one of your own has been hit. Frantically the platoon Sgt organises the casualty evacuation but despite the fact that one of your own is hit, a friend,  a brother,  you must win the firefight.

 You must continue to close with and engage the enemy.  As you advance through the feild of battle you roll up on scenes of carnage and devestation, pools of blood and bullet holes.  Corpses often times hardly resembling a human figure.  The feeling of victory as you encounter the enemy dead from the most recent engagement. Contact is regularly shouted in response to enemy activity, promting every man in your unit to switch on and feed the addiction once more.

Does this sound exciting?  Did it take you down memory lane?  Did you yearn for the chance to go back and experience this all over again?  That is because you are human.  Adrenaline is addictive but it can be found in places other than the field of battle.  Most civilians cannot understand how you can become addicted to this environment.  After all it sounds horrendous and lets face it, it is.

Have you felt like this since?  Chances are, no you haven't. 

So what do we do?  How do we get rid of the yearning for battle?

The good news is that its not the battle you were addicted to. It was the hormonal response that gave the intense feelings associated with combat. So what do we do about it?

Transmute the need into something healthy

 When I left the forces I felt life had no substance and that everything was boring and mundane. This was at first not particularly worrying and just left me a bit down. It became a serious problem after I started suffering from PTSD.  The way I got round this was  through competitive sports, it is a great way to get fit and release built up physical and emotional energy. Especially by adding the danger element, MMA (mixed martial arts) or boxing are prefered sports as it gives the Veteran an "Enemy" by way of an opponent.

When a soldier does not understand his own emotions it can lead him into many undesirable situations.  Instead of looking at productive ways to enhance the sense of adventure in your life you may use sex, drugs and alcohol as a way to feel like you are living dangerously and while you are indulging yourself,  it feels good. The problem is that after the act you may feel such self hatred and disgust that you become extremely depressed and looking for your next opportunity to intoxicate yourself.

This is bad for both physical and mental health. A wretched cycle that can leave you feeling empty every time you wake with a hangover/comedown and a sensation of guilt about who you had offended the night before. There are only so many apologies you can make until people start realising thats just who you are.

When I was in this cycle of alcohol abuse I was continually ashamed and embarrassed. Now that I am sober I see just how destructive it was. I look back not with a sense of guilt as you might expect but a sense of pride that I was able to turn my life around. You may have a feeling that you cannot return from  this point of dispair.  Trust me, I am now well respected among my peers and colleagues(or so I like to think so;)).  People used to talk about me behind my back about how I was a loose cannon and that I was going to kill myself eventually.  Sure they knew I was a Veteran and that I had some troubles.  It got me sympathy but it did not get me help.  Some people tried to talk to me about it and sometimes I listened for a day or two and “took it on board”,  but I just felt that no one knew what I was going through.  

It wasnt until I hit rock bottom and realised that I needed to make a change that I started looking for answers. I almost became a statistic. I have spent a lot of time reading through vast amounts of information on the biochemestry of the human brain, phychology and eastern meditation to work out how to deal with my own personal trauma.  Within a few months I had turned my life around. After I had found myself cured of PTSD and my war ravaged mind set I started to help others in my situation. It turned out that I wasn't a freak accident. I had discovered a formula to fixing my own mental health problems and turning my life around.

There are plenty of self help guides out there for people who have lead “normal” lives but the Spartan Programme is going to be specific. It will be tailored to us, as Veterans. Remember we are all unknown soldiers, I am the same as you. You CAN come out of this a changed person, for the better.

The addiction to war is just one of many subjects that I have dealt with and Spartan Rising,  The Veteran Survival Guide covers almost every probable  issue a returning Vet may encounter.

Spartan Rising is NOT a charity, It is a community, starting today we will build this together. 

It is a Programme that will help you become the best possible version of yourself. Become Spartan and help yourself. 

Search Spartan Rising on Facebook for regular tips and updates.
Please feel free to contact me through FB or this blog. It would be beneficial to hear from fellow Veterans who may still be suffering from the after affects of war. 

You may also have success stories and tips yourselves that you would like to share to help other Vets, if so please dont hesitate to let us know.

Spartan Mission
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Here at Spartan Rising we have made significant improvements in the mental wellbeing of Veterans  who suffer from the after affects of war and military life. Our group of dedicated "Unknown Soldiers" have had their fair share of trauma and problems but have bought themselves back from the void and become successes in any area of life that they have worked to improve. Thats right. We were there, in combat and then the subsequent aftermath of post military despair. So we know what we are doing .We put major emphasis on the Spartans ability to to use choice in every facit of life. You simply need to change the habit of letting your poor behaviours sabotage your life. One step at a time for permanent positive change. You can help too. Share your experiences and get in touch with us on FB.

Welcome to Spartan Rising
Spartan Rising is a non profit organisation designed by Veterans for Veterans to help them become the best possible versions of themselves. Life after the armed forces is challenging, you spend years developing specific skills that dont tend to relate to much outside of the conflict environment.  All you need to do is transmute your skills and gain a definite major purpose that will propel you forward. I am a living example of how you can go from a suicidal Vet with "nothing to live for" to a dynamo of continual self improvement. So join us and become the best possible version of yourself. Become Spartan.