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10 Things I Wish I Knew Coming Out of the Forces

Transitioning out of the Forces into civilian life can be emotionally and financially challenging for anyone. In order to make that change as smooth as possible, we asked Spartan Wellness co-founder, Riad Byne, to list his top 10 of what he wished he knew coming out of the Forces. In his own words, here is Riad’s top ten.

I wish I knew…

1. What financial entitlements were available to me, as well as the array of other services I could access.

2. To be financially prepared for a gap between receiving my military pay and receiving severance and pension income. The timelines can be much longer then indicated when going through the release process

3. SISSIP is not the final financial support available; it is only a 2- year interim solution designed to be a stop-gap between release and either employment or VAC entitlements. Not all services advertised are easily attainable by all members. Due to the backlog of applications and the administrative requirements, it took a lot of time and patience to complete all forms.

4. My new income was not always adequately taxed at source. Don’t wait till you file your tax return to make up the difference. Ask to have more taxes taken off from your income sources so there are no big surprises.

5. That I would actively have to find new health care providers (doctor, dentist etc) and deal with the fact that I would have to go into all of my physical and mental health history with new people. I found myself going to walk in clinics and it became very difficult getting the help I needed while becoming very frustrated. Take the time to research and find the resources before you get out.

6. After I left, the regimental family, including friends, co-workers and their families, continued with their work. This sometimes meant that I lost touch with individuals and felt a loss of association with my former unit. You lose a sense of purpose and belonging. Find things and hobbies to fill the void, promoting you to get out and exercise your body and mind within your new normal.

7. There are few “fully transferable” trades that equate to good paying jobs on civie street. Despite years of training and experience, expect a pay cut if you’re staying in your field. As good as our pay seemed at the time, there are expenses that occur that you may not be used to, thereby making your new civilian pay seem even less. Plan for this and look to upgrade your education and skill sets. Use the resources to their full advantage.

8. There are many resources available to assist in transition, but you must self-advocate and request those services. Education and/or an experienced 3rd party advocate is key in this area.

9. Adjusting my personal and household spending habits to align with being paid once a month. It was a huge adjustment and can really put things back if not prepared. Be proactive.

10. Include your family in the transition. I tried going it alone and with so much involved it became overwhelming quickly. Having an extra set of eyes and ears is best.

It takes time to find your new normal. Do not be in a rush to get busy. Take the time to find out what you can and can not do and work within that. If you set too lofty expectations for your self it will prove to be difficult and potentially set you back if you cannot meet them. Always try and stay positive and think of positive solutions and, most importantly, remember; you served your country and you deserve the best you… don’t sell yourself short and take the time to heal and find wellness and life balance. A healthy you allows you to help others achieve health as well! 🙂

If you are transitioning out of the Canadian Military and need help accessing your VAC entitlements or require guidance, please email Spartan Wellness at info@spartanwellness.ca, call us at 1-877-219-1255 or fill out the Registration Form found here

Spartan Wellness Sponsors The Veterans Dinner as Clinic Partner

Spartan Wellness is proud to be the clinic sponsor for the 2nd annual Veterans Dinner hosted by Canadian Veteran, chef, and author of The Wellness Soldier’s Cannabis Cookbook, Cody Lindsay on Monday, Oct. 30th, 2017. The Veterans Dinner will be held at the Artisan Bistro in Victoria, BC and features a mouthwatering, nutritious 3-course meal prepared by renowned chef Daryl Pope whose aim is to show attendees that eating healthy can be delicious.

The Veterans Dinner is free for Veterans and their dates (spouse and/or battle buddy). The event was created to help further Veteran quality of life through a fun night out that provides an opportunity for Veterans who may be going through the same struggles to get together and share their experiences. During the evening there will also be a series of educational talks on the areas of Healthy Eating/Drinking, Medical Cannabis, Fitness, & Meditation.

On hand to represent Spartan Wellness at The Veterans Dinner is World Arm Wrestling Champion, Canadian Veteran and Spartan Wellness volunteer, Devon Larratt, as well as Veterans and Spartan Wellness volunteers, Matt Landry, Ian Bailey and David Wilson. Spartan Wellness CEO, Riad Byne, will give a speech at the dinner in which he will discuss the vision of Spartan Wellness as well as the many exciting directions in which the organization is growing.

The Spartan Wellness crew looks forward to meeting fellow Veterans and discussing the ways in which PTSD and other health issues that Canadian Veterans face can be treated through adherence to a healthy diet and lifestyle that includes cannabis therapy.

For more information on attending The Veterans Dinner or getting involved as a sponsor, click here

Cannabis May Aid in Combating Alcohol Abuse

It’s no secret that among the veteran community, there is an extremely high rate of alcohol dependency. In the search for relief from symptoms associated with PTSD, too many veterans turn to alcohol as a way to numb or escape their pain.

But what many don’t know is that cannabis may help curb the addictive impulses that lead us to drink and even replace the effects of alcohol.

A 2009 study entitled “Cannabis as a Substitute for Alcohol and Other Drugs”, conducted by Dr. Amanda Reiman at the University of California in Berkely and published in “Harm Reduction Journal” followed 350 medical cannabis patients who were asked, “Are you choosing to use cannabis instead of something else?” to which 50 percent said they were using it as a replacement for alcohol.

Further research based on a survey of 404 medical cannabis patients in Canada was published in a 2013 edition of the Addiction Research and Theory Journal and found that 41% of participants were using cannabis as a substitute for alcohol while 75.5% were using cannabis as a substitute for at least one other substance.

Since cannabis is not considered physically addictive, a growing number of rehabilitation specialists are exploring cannabis as an effective tool in aiding with alcohol and drug abuse recovery.

Under Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) program, medical cannabis users can choose cannabis strains with the right blend of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, and cannabidiol (CBD) the main non psycho active cannabinoid found in cannabis. Depending on the cannabinoid content of a given strain, patients can reduce the anxiety brought on by alcohol craving as well as replicate the effects that alcohol induces. These effects are also determined by terpenes, the essential oils naturally produced in cannabis that determines a strain’s medicinal properties, smell and flavour profile.

Several terpene families correspond to calming effects while other terpenes can provide a ‘happier’ experience (e.g., drinking to have a laugh) or a more sedative experience (e.g. drinking to get ready for sleep, to de-stress and contemplate). Many of these terpene families also correspond with creativity and inspiration.

For more information on how you can access medical cannabis strains may aid in alcohol cessation, email info@spartanwellness.ca or fill out the Registration Form found here