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11 Changes Veterans Make After Returning Home

What's it like to come home from military service? Rewarding, but not always easy. DAV can help.

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1. From need-to-know to need-to-talk.

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When a soldier is on duty, information about missions is disseminated on a need-to-know basis. So now that the mission's over, talking about the deployment may not always be easy.

2. From the bond of soldiers to the bond of family and friends.

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Relationships created during service are often very strong, and it may feel strange for a veteran to be surrounded by friends and family instead of people who wore the uniform.

3. From being serious to social.

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Part of acclimating to social situations for vets often includes bridging the gap between what their friends and family think they understand about their experiences and the veteran's actual experiences.

4. From serving to recovering.

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There are a variety of resources for vets, such as counseling and support groups. And for the families of vets, there are also military spouse programs to ease them through the return of their loved ones.

5. From a mission to no clear orders.

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Service members are often charged with many high-level missions and can struggle with a lost sense of purpose in returning to the normal tasks of everyday civilian life.

6. From earning benefits to learning how best to use them.

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Veterans have a wealth of benefits at their disposal — health care, education, job assistance, vocational training, and more — but knowing how to access them can be tough.

7. From emotional control to open feelings.

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The battlefield is not typically a place where emotions are widely shared. Coming home means finding a way to open up.

8. From guilt to acceptance and peace.

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Though it’s not their fault, a common sentiment among veterans is the guilt of surviving when their friends and fellow service members did not.

9. From a regimented schedule to lighter commitments.

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Going from a life scheduled down to the minute to an open schedule can throw nearly anyone off balance.

10. From controlling to sharing.

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Military men and women are required to maintain their possessions and equipment — which, as anyone with an office fridge can tell you, is not the same for civilians.

11. From alert to relative calm.

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Remaining alert at all times is essential for those serving in the military. Once home, it’s time to let down their guard and take in the moment, which can be difficult for anyone.

DAV provides a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations. Every year, we help more than 1 million veterans in positive ways by helping them access benefits they earned, like health care and disability, and connecting them to meaningful employment opportunities.

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