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On “Transitioning”: An Email from an Iraq Veteran, Medium

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This transition is probably something akin to overcoming addiction. The way Alcoholics Anonymous approach it is by first admitting that you are an addict, then working your way from there. I think that once you’ve been in combat and you’ve gotten The Addiction (and trust me, it is a powerful addiction), you have to first realize that coping with The Addiction is a life-long process. It’s this dark companion you will always have. And if you’re smart and healthy about it, you’ll look for real ways to live with it. It’s different for everyone, but it almost always involves years of therapy. In my humble opinion, I think the best thing for veterans to do is to find an occupation or a hobby where they get to make something. I’m a writer (sometimes), but these days I’m a software engineer.

Being a soldier is about service. True service is something that is done for its own sake and once you’ve done it there is no record of it; nothing persists. That’s the nature of service and that’s what makes it great. You do it for the fuck-all of it; you do it for glory; you do it for duty; you do it for love; you do it because someone’s gotta do it and you feel like it might as well be you. Service is one of the greatest things you will ever be able to experience as a human: helping other humans. And when your service is complete, it is my opinion that the person who has served should turn to something creative. Something that persists. Something that exists not just for it’s own sake but the sake of something else. You’ve served. Now build.

Yes! And veterans can still serve plenty of causes after they are done being soldiers.

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