Robert LeHeup will be the first to admit that he's an alcoholic. “I drink so that I don't go to shit,” says LeHeup, a 30-year-old bartender living in Columbus, South Carolina. “I drink because I have to.”
LeHeup is a former Marine sergeant, who served two grueling tours in Afghanistan during the US invasion and early occupation. He drinks to dull memories of the everyday chaos and carnage. He drinks to tolerate his disgust at the raucous bar-goers who have no idea how easy life is in America, compared to the casual violence and grinding poverty of Afghanistan. He drinks because, in the Marines, that is just what everybody does.
“There was this drive to prove to each other that we can handle our liquor,” recalls LeHeup, who increasingly channels much of his distress more productively into his burgeoning writing career. “In the Marines, when I was stateside, I drank a fifth before I went out drinking, you know what I mean?”
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