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I went in for my c&p exam recently for mental health and he asked about my drinking. I believe i was honest about it and it is an issue. for me personally i prefer alcohol to drugs for sleep. He informed me that alcohol is not a good sleep aid. I did not no this. upon talking to him further, it turns out I've been doing this all wrong. my question is i went in for major depressive disorder as a secondary claim. did i hurt my claim by revealing my use of alcohol over drug use? meaning taking meds over the alcohol.

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If VA took away or declined benefits from every Veteran who took some degree of alcohol, then VA would need to shut down, because there would only be a handful of Veterans left, the other 28 million or so Veterans would all be excluded from benefits.  


While it is true, for example, that if you get drunk in service and injure yourself, especially due to drunkenness, AND your doctor puts into your file "due to the Veterans own willful misconduct", he was treated for -----------, then you may not be eligible for benefits related to that event.   Absent a note in your file, that you injured yourself "due to the Veterans own willfull misconduct" (including alcohol, drugs, or disobeying a direct order and disregarding safety equipment), you have little to fret about.  (my opinion).  

     I have a family friend who is a known alcoholic, and he recently reported to me "he got his 100 percent SC".  

To the contrary, especially if you did not demonstrate an alcohol problem prior to service, and, maybe you had a PTSD stressor and "self medicated" with alcohol, this can be a symptom of your PTSD.  


    In short, full speed ahead, dont worry about your benefits due to past alcohol, but instead, seek treatment for alcoholism (if you have it, and IDK), along with your other conditions.  I agree with your doctor, that "alcohol" is a very bad sleep "medicine", and agree you should likely seek treatment for same, and not be in denial.  "In denial" means you justify alcohol in your mind because:

1.  It is necessary to kill pain of divorce, physical pain, lost loved ones etc.  It never works.  

2.  It does not make you a better lover, or a generous person because you want others to drink with you and you buy them drinks.  

3.  It makes "0" problems go away, and makes solving them increasingly difficult.  It does not make family problems go away, it does not improve your relationship with your spouse, and it does not make your wife prettier either, contrary to some country songs.  

4.   As a friend once said:  When you have alcohol or drug problems you will also have family problems, relationship problems, financial problems, work problems etc.  And those problems can not be fixed unless or until you fix the alcohol/drug problem first.  

5.  I have many family members who have drinking/drug problems, as does my wife.  We have both seen the destruction of families it has caused.  

6.  Many years ago my mother made me promise:

     "She said, I dont care if you drink.   I dont even care if you get drunk.  But if I go to your home, your kids dont have shoes or milk, and you have beer in the refrigerator and not milk, I already know:  Your drinking is hurting your family.  Promise me you will never hurt your family that way."

      I made that promise and kept it.  I managed to do stupid mistakes, "without" the use of alcohol or drugs, but, I was better able to overcome my mistakes or get past them, because, in no small part, I consume less than 1 six pack of beer a year.  

     The VA asks me almost every time if i have an alcohol problem.  No, I dont.  I kept my promise to my mother.  

Even if I wanted an occassional beer, I would not buy a six pack "unless" I was 100 percent certain we had milk in the refrigerator for my kids.  I never have beer in my refrigerator at the exclusion of milk or, now, my coffee creamer, as neither my wife nor I drink milk.  If my grandkids come over, I buy them milk.  


      Once, I bought a new Silverado (Chevy pickup).  My wifes brothers came by, and went "Whoa..how could you afford a new pickup?"   Well I did not tell them this, but my wife pointed out:

       They smoke 2 packs cigs a day.  Thats about $600 per month.  If you add a six pack of beer per day, and weed, they could have also bought a new pickup instead of drinking or smoking theirs up instead.  With good credit, you can easily buy a new pickup for what they spent on cigarates, beer, and weed.  

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FYI, and you may be aware, but you may not be, the number of drugs that have a negative outcome with alcohol- whether by reducing their effect, canceling them out completely, or worse, causing side effects, could fill a book (my BIL is a pharmacist). I had to stop alcohol almost entirely because, while I was not a heavy drinker at 1-2 drinks per week, a few of my medications were likely suffering effects from it because when I quit drinking but for once or twice a year aspects of my health that aren't alcohol affected started improving slightly, but noticeably. 

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