Simply stated transition is change; however, for many of us change can be difficult. Making the transition from military life to civilian life is a significant life change and can be be quite difficult. Regardless of what caused the decision to be made, return to civilian life is often difficult because of:
Transition is often difficulty due to the nature of military service. Military service from the first day begins to breakdown many civilian norms and instills a military ethos or mindset. The military mindset is introduced on one's first day and continues to develop throughout one's service experience. This ethos consists of military spirit - emotion, military ethic, and military logic - language and reasoning. Unlike the civilian ethos which is flexible and transactional or evolutional; the military ethos is conditioned, regimented, and preparatory for the battlefield.
The key to successful transition from military to civilian life is to recognize returning to civilian life requires a re-learning process. During military service you never lost your civilian ethos, in fact, when on leave you demonstrated those civilian skills, manners, and actions for brief periods of time - a secondary mindset. Upon returning to service you automatically returned to your military ethos - a primary mindset. In transition you reacquaint yourself with the civilian mindset of individuality, social flexibility, and evolution. This process in no way suggests that one should forget what was learned in the military rather identifying those knowledge sets, skills, and abilities (KSA) that can be translated to civilian life, specifically in family, community, employment, and education.
Fortunately, the military has been working on just this process for decades. Transition not only impacts one's physical movement into the civilian world, but the psychological impact of this transition:
The military services has recognized the transitional difficulties service members experience returning to civilian life. As a result the DoD has developed a program called TAP - Transition Assistance Program which provides information, tools and training to help service members and their spouses get ready to successfully move from the military to civilian life. From start to finish, TAP guides users on veteran benefits, education options, federal assistance and veteran employment help. In most cases this is a program that starts as early as six months before departure from the service. If this was missed while in the service a CVSO, TVSO or SO from a VSO can recommend or direct you to this very beneficial program. TAP-Online is available online through the VA. Please note if taken as a veteran once you arrive home the program is adjusted to meet some of the benefits and service in your geographical area. Check local areas for TAP here.
Checkout some of the following sites that deal specifically with military transition:
Making the transition from military service to civilian life often requires assistance once you get home. The VA has established Vet Centers throughout the country as well as mobile centers to reach veterans where ever they may be located. In addition to Vet Centers veterans are encouraged to connect with their local or regional County or Tribal Veteran Service Officer or Service Officer through the National Directory.