Tag Archives: alcohol

How a $20 Bar Tab can Turn into a Million Dollars-Worth of Financial Stress

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Imagine you went to close out your bar tab before heading home on a Saturday night and the bartender said, “That’ll be $10,000.” You stare at the bartender, stunned. As he starts to correct his statement, you let out a sigh of relief, assured that there is no way that’s your tab. The bartender continues: “I meant $1 million.”

Research shows that the initial cost of driving under the influence (DUI) can average $10,000 – and that’s just within six months of the incident. That money may be spent on initial fees which include bail, car towing, DUI classes, court-imposed fines, attorney fees, ignition interlock devices and more. But the financial stress doesn’t stop there.

When the fictitious bartender corrects himself to say $1 million, he’s referring to the bigger picture. After receiving a DUI, depending on the state, annual auto insurance rates increase significantly. In California, for example, the average Good Driver insurance discount is $1,307. After receiving a DUI, the same driver might pay up to $4,001 more. That is an annual increase of $2,694, which would likely total tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Say you’re planning to retire from the Navy as an E-7 at age 39. Your military retirement pension of one-half of your base pay will amount to $996,000 over 40 years. Your commissary and exchange privileges will save you an estimated $52,000 and medical insurance savings will equate to about $61,000 over that time period. That totals a real loss of $1 million over your lifetime if you are separated from the Navy for a DUI.

Knowing the financial burdens – in addition to the health, career and safety risks – would you still drink and drive? Or would you remember how hard you’ve worked to earn your living and your rank? Plan for a safe ride home before you go out for the night—and stick to it. The Keep What You’ve Earned campaign’s Pier Pressure mobile application has the tools you need to drink responsibly, including a blood alcohol content estimator, calorie calculator (which tells you how many pushups it will take to burn off those beers) and one-click access to Uber and Lyft ride-sharing apps. Pier Pressure is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Drink responsibly and keep what you’ve earned. Don’t let a $20 tab turn into a $10,000 (or $1,000,000) budget-buster. Even driving minimally buzzed can increase your risk for a car accident by 46 percent. Know your limit before you get there, don’t try to “keep up” with others and plan in advance for a safe ride home.  You’ve earned it, don’t waste it.

April is both Alcohol Awareness Month and Stress Awareness Month. For more tips on responsible drinking brought to you by Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention’s Keep What You’ve Earned campaign, click here. If you think you may be struggling with alcohol, contact your local Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor (DAPA).

References:

Cost of a DUI. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www2.courtinfo.ca.gov/stopteendui/parents/cost/how-much-does-a-dui-cost.cfm

Devine, R. & Garske, M. (2014, January 16). Study: “Minimally Buzzed” Drivers Often Cause Fatal Crashes. Retrieved from http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/UCSD-Study-Minimally-Buzzed-Drivers-and-Car-Crashes-240673261.html
Marquand, B. (2016, February 3). How Much Does a DUI Cost. Retrieved from https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/cost-of-a-dui/

Know Your Part, Do Your Part

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Visit NavyLive to check out Rear Adm. Burkhardt’s SAAPM 2016 Interview.

Regardless of the accused’s or survivor’s gender, research indicates that sexual assault is associated with an increased risk of stress injury and/or suicide related behavior. Sexual assault has been linked to both physical and psychological effects including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Reducing the threat of sexual violence from within our ranks is everyone’s duty. While ensuring the safety of Sailors and the Navy community is a year-round priority, Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) is a call-to-action to help us reenergize our focus on the scope and impact of sexual assault, while dedicating ourselves to becoming a part of the solution.  It’s not just about awareness—it’s about knowing how to step up and step in to intervene during dangerous situations, and how to prevent them from occurring.

“I want Sailors to be a part of a team of professionals at a command that builds that command’s climate,” said Rear Adm. Ann Burkhardt in her 2016 SAAPM message to the fleet. She emphasizes that while part of prevention involves promoting core values and respect—discouraging destructive behaviors such as sexual harassment, sexual assault or hazing—it also includes encouraging healthy behaviors and not tolerating misuse of alcohol. “I really want Sailors to know that offenders victimize individuals under the influence of alcohol, so it’s important to understand this approach and then be part of the intervention to prevent this from happening,” she continued.

Sexual assault can have lasting impacts on the survivor, perpetrator and command readiness. Learn how you can get involved in the fight to prevent it this month and all year long by visiting sapr.navy.mil. To report a sexual assault, contact your local Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) or your local Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate. The DoD Safe Helpline offers live, one-on-one confidential support to the DoD community worldwide, 24/7. Call 1-877-995-5247, text 55247 or visit www.safehelpline.org.

It’s about being there for Every Sailor, Every Day.

For more information on recognizing the signs of stress injury in the Orange Zone or stress illness in the Red Zone – check out our Stress Continuum Stress Zone videos on our NavStress YouTube channel.

Reprogram Your Drinking Habits to Promote Health, Well-being and Safety

LifeLink April 2015April brings several key areas of focus for the Navy to the forefront, and among those topics is alcohol awareness. Alcohol misuse can affect all aspects of our lives—from health and well-being, to social connections, physical and emotional safety, and mission readiness. As we mark the two-year anniversary of Navy’s flagship responsible drinking campaign, Keep What You’ve Earned, here are a few suggestions to help you and your shipmates adopt or maintain healthy drinking habits and promote healthy decision making.

Don’t rely on alcohol to reduce your stress. When encountering stress, if we’re unable to respond adaptively while our bodies are in “fight or flight” mode, the likelihood that we’ll make potentially unhealthy choices to ease that tension increases. Having a drink or two to unwind after a stressful day may seem harmless, but this habit is actually working against you and can lead to long-term physical and psychological health effects, including addictive or destructive behavior. Instead of immediately reaching for a drink, try turning to healthy habits. If you’re more likely to make a “pit stop” on the way home from work, head to the gym instead. Endorphins released during exercise can actually improve your mood—a true happy hour! If trying to de-stress with alcohol has become a common practice for you, it’s probably time to self-refer for assistance. Talk to your Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor (DAPA), chaplain, doctor, or command leadership about where to get help.

Empower yourself to thrive during adversity. To help you explore and identify your resources for making healthy decisions during stressful times, take a moment to fill out your Stress Navigation Plan, available on www.suicide.navy.mil. This simple proactive tool helps you think about your current practices for navigating stress while you’re still emotionally and physically healthy. In the process, you may be able to identify more positive coping strategies than what you currently turn to, avoiding potentially destructive behavior like alcohol abuse.

Exercise controllability and plan ahead. As the winter weather is giving way to warmer temperatures, social calendars will start to fill with cookouts and parties. While you’re making your party plans, make plans for a safe ride home your priority by ensuring that a shipmate, friend or family member will be your designated driver. Designated drivers need to completely abstain from drinking—buzzed driving is drunk driving too. Programming the number to a local taxi service in your mobile phone is always a good backup plan. Controllability is one of the Principles of Resilience, helping you make proactive choices and minimize potential for stress or negative outcomes.

Be an active bystander. April also marks Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Approximately half of all sexual assaults involve alcohol consumption by perpetrator, victim or both, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Staying alert, engaged and looking out for your shipmates can not only prevent alcohol abuse, but can prevent sexual assault as well. If you recognize a potentially negative situation, you have the power to speak up and intervene before an incident occurs.

For more information on how you can encourage responsible drinking, visit www.nadap.navy.mil. For additional stress navigation tips to support every Sailor, every day, visit navstress.wordpress.com.

Holiday Festivities or Stressful Activities? 5 Tips for Celebrating Responsibly

The holidays are full of joy, love, and festivities, but they can also bring an increased level of stress and anxiety. While our social calendars fill quickly with trips to the mall, holiday parties, family get-togethers and other activities, we can easily become overwhelmed, anxious, and exhausted. Given the increase in social activities and related stress around the holidays, it is more important than ever to remember to drink responsibly.

Below are five tips on responsible drinking to help get you through the holiday season and keep what you’ve earned:

1. Don’t rely on alcohol to reduce your stress:

We’ve all heard the “I’ve had a stressful day” excuse for having a drink or two too many. Drinking alcohol may lead to positive feelings and relaxation momentarily, but if you try to deal with stress through drinking it can lead to serious problems. Instead of “calming your nerves,” drinking can actually work against you, increasing your risk for alcohol dependence and leading to other psychological health problems. If you’re feeling stressed this holiday season, look for other ways to reduce stress such as exercise, yoga, meditation, or just taking a moment each day for yourself to relax and be in the moment. If trying to de-stress with alcohol has become a common practice for you, it’s probably time to self-refer for help. Talk to your Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor (DAPA), chaplain, doctor, or command leadership about where to get help.

2. Practice good self-care:

Mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and casserole, pie, pie, and more pie. There are many treats to indulge in over the holiday season and as your social calendar fills up it becomes more difficult to make time to stay healthy. During the holiday season it’s okay to allow yourself some additional treats, but be careful not to over-indulge—especially when it comes to alcohol. Drinking in excess during the holiday season can lead to bad decision making, whether it’s the decision to eat more than you had planned, skip out on the gym, or worse, drive yourself home after drinking. Keep your diet and exercise routines on track and don’t let alcohol steer you wrong—you’ll feel better for doing so!

3. Know your limit:

Many people, particularly those who don’t drink that often, find themselves participating in more social activities that involve drinking this time of year given the celebratory nature of the holidays. In fact, according to the Distilled Spirit Council of the United States, the $49 billion distilled-spirits industry makes more than 35% of its profits from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. If you find yourself drinking more often during the holiday season, you should know your limit, don’t try to keep up with others, and learn to say no to peer pressure to drink more than you had planned. Exercise Controllability, one of the Five Principles of Resilience, and monitor your consumption to help you keep what you’ve earned. Whether you’re the host or a guest, there are plenty of festive alcohol-free drinks to enjoy this season! Non-alcoholic eggnog, anyone?

4. Plan ahead for a safe ride home:

Studies show that during the holiday season there is an increase in drinking and driving, making it one of the most dangerous time of the year to be on the road. According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2012, more than 300 people were killed in traffic accidents nationwide. This holiday season, plan ahead for a safe ride home before you go out for the night. Make the choice: will you drink or will you drive? Stick to the plan! Remember that even buzzed driving is illegal and more importantly can lead to dangerous accidents.KWYE_Holiday

Furthermore, this season the Keep What You’ve Earned campaign is encouraging all Sailors to take the pledge to be a designated driver for a shipmate, friend, or family member. You can give the gift of a designated driver to a loved one by downloading the printable holiday gift cards, and don’t forget to take the pledge to be a designated driver this season. Exercise Trust, another one of the Five Principles of Resilience—don’t put your friends and shipmates at risk by deciding to drink after committing to serve as a designated driver.

5. Talk it out:

Do you blame your stress, loneliness, or feelings of depression on the “holiday blues?” Do you often feel alone amongst all of the holiday activities and social gatherings happening around you? Do the hardships you’ve experienced in the past 12 months feel magnified during this time of year? These feelings can slowly build up over time, especially as we deal with the stress and anxiety associated with preparing for the holiday season.

Rather than bottling up your feelings—or turning to the bottle to relieve stress—it’s important that you talk to a friend, family member, fellow Sailor, DAPA, chaplain, doctor, or any other resource available to you. If drinking to relieve stress has become a trend for you, remember that a self-referral is the best option for seeking help. When Sailors get help via a self-referral or through the help of their command, neither results in disciplinary action.

Keep an Even Keel, Shipmates—and Keep What You’ve Earned this holiday season!

May 18-24 is National Prevention Week

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) “National Prevention Week” is right around the corner. Observed from May 18 – 24, this annual public health initiative is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health issues and substance abuse issues through community-centered approaches. While this week is used to promote public awareness and support, National Prevention Week was developed based on the concept that “effective prevention… requires consistent action.” It’s an all hands evolution, all of the time. This is a great opportunity for you, your shipmates and families to tie in the many ways we can come together to support each other and prevent destructive behavior, engaging the theme “Our Lives. Our Health. Our Future.” Each day, SAMHSA will highlight a new topic according to the following calendar.

May 18: Prevention and Cessation of Tobacco Use

May 19: Prevention of Underage Drinking

May 20: Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse and MarijuanaUse

May 21: Prevention of Alcohol Abuse

May 22: Prevention of Suicide

May 23: Promotion of Mental Health

Visit SAMHSA online for National Prevention Week engagement ideas. You could organize a health fair supporting the daily topics or promote prevention awareness on your command’s Facebook page using SAMHSA’s messages. Even individual action promotes solidarity. Take the Prevention Pledge on Facebook and encourage your shipmates to do the same. Templates are also available online for the “I Choose” project—a great opportunity for individual or group engagement. Just take a photo of yourself or a group of your shipmates holding up an “I Choose” sign personalized with your message promoting healthy choices to prevent destructive behavior.

Navy’s 21st Century Sailor Programs have myriad resources to support your local efforts. Visit Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Navy Suicide Prevention, and Navy Operational Stress Control online for downloadable tools and information. For more resources, including Tobacco Cessation information, visit Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center’s Health Promotion and Wellness site.