The Guide to Coming Home

Your future is in your hands

Posted at 1:07 PM on February 3, 2010 by Andrew Haeg
Filed under: Accessing benefits, Employment, Family & relationships, Mental Health

From B Jones, Laurel, MD
E-5 (Sergeant), Army, 98G Arabic Linguist. Served from 1999 to 2005. Stationed with the 1st Infantry Division in Wuerzburg, Germany. Deployed to Kosovo in 2002 and to Iraq from February 2004 to February 2005, served in Tikrit, Baqubah and Samarrah.

Welcome back from a deployment, possibly getting out of the military. My first tip would be to tell you to take control for/of yourself!!! The military has many different programs to help you out but they won't do anything for you if you don't take matters into your own hands.

Second, while you were gone both you and your friends/family have had unique and individual experiences. Things are going to be different whether you want them to be or not. Realize this and give yourself, your spouse, and your friends and family each time to get reacquainted. It took my wife and I months to get back to normal. She wanted to hug me and hold me every single moment we were awake and together. I just wanted to be left alone. After all, I hadn't really had much physical contact for a year. It took a great deal of communication for us to make it through that. She felt I was rejecting her and I felt she wasn't respecting my space. We are still together and now have a baby boy.

Third, it is never too early to start looking for a job if you are planning to get out of the military. Most jobs will work with you on your availability. Your military service goes a long way with most employers, use it to your advantage. It doesn't matter what job you had while you were in. Your military service will help with just about any job you apply for.

You volunteered for the military. They used you as a resource during that time. Take advantage of all the resources the military is giving you access to and use their resources to your advantage. This could be counseling, medical, resume writing, GI Bill. It is your turn to use the military how you see fit.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. You may not want to talk about things right away but plan on doing it at some point. Share your feelings, experiences, doubts, whatever with someone you trust. If you have a spouse they may really appreciate you talking to them and explaining what you are feeling and thinking.

Take pride in your service, regardless of how you feel about the war. You did your country and other countries in this world a service. There are so many people who don't have the courage to do what you did.

February 2010
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