Following any personal trauma incident or series of events, particularly military trauma, we often face serious doubts and denial of the existence of a God or any such entity and the value of the world outside ourselves.
After that last well deserved “Welcome Home,” some veterans continue to “live in two worlds” while trying to re-enter the one they left 12-15 months before and trying to juggle the combined life stressors coming from both. We doubt all of our prior beliefs particularly those of any "higher power," and we are often numb to our own spirituality and connectiveness to the world at large and to those around us.
Compiled by some concerned veterans and their families, this is a bare bones version of a 12-Step program for those still doubting any relationship outside themselves:
Step 1 We admitted that our trauma experiences are troubling to us, our combat is over yet we continue to struggle within.
Step 2 Came to believe that others are struggling with these consequences of combat-related experiences and together we could influence each other positively.
Step 3 Made a decision to connect with others and reconnect with the person each of us was before the trauma.
Step 4 Made a searching self-inventory looking at patterns of behaviors and attitudes that limit ourselves and affect those around us.
Step 5 Shared our searching with at least one trusted other, gaining feedback and new perspectives.
Step 6 Made ourselves ready and willing to let go of old patterns that no longer serve our best interests.
Step 7 Learned to ask for help and support
Step 8 Made a list of harms done to us or by us and found ways to restore our personal balance and integrity.
Step 9 Made amends where possible and practiced forgiveness of self and others.
Step 10 Continued to reflect upon our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in the present and committed to the recovery process.
Step 11 Strengthened our connection to others building relationships and meaning into to all our activities.
Step 12 Having gained peace and a balanced perspective, we share our experience, strength, and hope with other trauma survivors and practice these principles in all our affairs.