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OutServe Magazine | October 15, 2014

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Ask Sarge: Rehab, Coming Out, Correcting the Record

Ask Sarge: Rehab, Coming Out, Correcting the Record
Ask Sarge

Dear Sergeant,

I recently got out of rehab for a drug addiction I’ve been battling for over a year now. My boyfriend has been more than supportive during and after the process, but now he wants to take time apart to get himself together. I totally understand because he’s never lived on his own, always relied on others, and doesn’t feel like he’s yet a man. But I love him and want him to know he’s man enough for me, while giving him his space and time apart as he requested. What can I do or should I do?

– Addicted to Love

Dear AtL,

As someone who has worked as a substance abuse counselor, I understand how important your support system is to your recovery. Those loved ones become such a staple in your life, especially in these early stages after treatment. It is important that you continue to focus on yourself during this crucial time to ensure you stay on the right path toward recovery.

As someone who was in a two-year relationship with an addict, the amount of support that goes into helping someone recover from an addiction is pretty significant. If your boyfriend is saying that he needs some space and time, you should afford him what he wants for two reasons: first, you should really take this time to focus on yourself, and second, a relationship is about give and take. It is possible that giving him what he wants right now may actually allow him to continue to support you in the future.

Both of you should take the time and space you need to focus on yourselves. Regardless of the reasoning, everyone needs a little time to reset every once in a while. Denying either of you that can, sometimes, do more harm than good to the relationship.

Finally, while I am sure that you were probably given plenty of resources and possibly even referred to an aftercare program, here are some other resources:
• Depending on your location, you can find a local listing of AA or NA meetings online.
• Active duty members can follow up with any Mental Health or Substance Abuse Program on their installations.
• All TriCare beneficiaries can log onto and find a list of all approved treatment facilities in their areas.

I hope that this helped, and congratulations on your sobriety! I wish you the best.


Dear Sergeant,

I am serving on active duty in the Air Force and recently decided to come out to my family, friends, and coworkers. The DADT policy repeal inspired me to finally be honest with myself and others about my true identity. I have friends who are actively serving as well and are afraid to come out due to the pressure from work to stay closeted. How do you suggest they come out in this post-repeal environment?

– Jacob

Dear Jacob,

Coming out in the post-repeal military is still a delicate process. There are many factors that need to be considered. In addition to the various emotional aspects of the coming out process, many LGBT members find that they are unsure how their current support network will respond. If your friends are having trouble finding their voices in their work centers, whether it is due to a perception of judgment or specific statements made by their co-workers and commanders, they should be aware of available resources and support.

OutServe provides a very strong network of individuals from all different backgrounds, service branches and ranks. Your friends can find strength and solace in the company of others struggling with similar issues. Also, a chaplain, First Sergeant or mental health provider is often invaluable in helping them cope with the stresses they are experiencing. These resources provide a safe environment to both identify their perceived prejudices, and also develop a plan to address these issues.

I hope that this helps you and your friends in your quest for acceptance and equality.


Dear Sergeant,

I was discharged from the Navy during the Vietnam War in Sept. 1967 for being gay. Originally, I received a Good Conduct discharge; however, seven months afterward, my discharge classification was changed to a Misfit Discharge. In 1983, I was able to upgrade my classification to an Honorable Discharge, but I was stripped of all medals that I had earned during my service. Do you know of a way to reinstate them?

– Dishonored Veteran

Dear DV,

To answer this question, I turned to my friends at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) for guidance. I would imagine that you utilized the Board of Corrections for Naval Records (BCNR) to upgrade your discharge classification. It is also recommended that you contact the BCNR to request reinstatement of your medals. According to the governing statute of these boards, “a military department may correct any military record … when the Secretary considers it necessary to correct an error or remove an injustice.”

I suggest you contact SLDN for free assistance with your specific request. You can reach them at 1-800-538-7418 or You can also visit them online at – they’d be happy to assist you in this matter.  I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!