After I retired from the United States Marine Corps I had a few years of hard times trying to get on my feet and get back into the groove of being a civilian. Like many returning veterans I had to navigate not only the lifestyle change but the VA system, medical problems and mental health issues. While at the same time trying to make ends meet and keep family life stable and buffered from my internal struggles. I believe that I got lucky with my friends, family and network in general. But luck alone did not ease my transition, hard work, clear goals and an unwillingness to quit or become a statistic were my driving forces. Most of what I have known for my adult life has been military service so I used what I learned on active duty, re-purposed those skills and applied them to my new life. Now I am happier than I have ever been and I want to show you the way that I made it home. I have no real psychological training other than being a Military SERE Instructor. Although the psychological tricks picked up during SERE training go a long way in mastering self control and understanding what motivates people to do, or not to do, what you need or ask of them. Granted there are many deep psychological issues that plague the veteran community and a few coping strategies will not relieve these issue. However, I believe that they are relatively few compared to the veteran community as a whole. The vast majority of veterans that struggle with re-integration are just faced with a set of circumstances that they do not yet have the skills to navigate. Many fall back into the combat habit of solving problems with overwhelming violence because that is how we have been conditioned to react. This leads us to listen to the accepted propaganda that we are all broken. We are not broken, we just need to run a different operating system than the one that has been programmed. Many turn to drugs and alcohol to escape this programming but that only eventually makes the problem worse. So lets switch operating systems. Anytime a person switches from Windows to Mac or Linux and back there is a period of uncertainty and confusion. But at least you have a manual to fall back on and eventually that new platform becomes normal. Stick with me for a while, although the lessons and techniques seem very far from your NORMAL. I will lay them out in small bite sized exercises that you can adopt into your daily routine and before you know it you will be so consumed with enjoying life that you will wonder why they don't teach this at the military transition classes. (not that we would have paid attention anyway)I want to reiterate that I am not a doctor or psychologist. I am one of you, a grunt, I have 4 combat tours ranging from Somalia to Iraq and Afghanistan. I have 7 overseas deployments and over 2 years of career sea time, doing everything from Combat to peacekeeping to drunken liberty in Thailand and boring ass guard duty. We are the same and if I can put these pieces together and succeed in post DD214 life than so can you. Now, Give me a school circle, sit, kneel, bend every Monday morning. Above all, I ask that you at least try the exercises and see if they work for you. We are not shooting for mastery of all these techniques, just excellence in the basics and fundamentals. 80% compliant will go a long way.