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Tips for Adjusting to Civilian Life After the Military

Tips for Adjusting to Civilian Life After the Military

Adjusting to civilian life after the military is often difficult for servicemembers, especially after years of service. According to a Pew Research Center survey of 1,853 veterans, more than 7 in 10 veterans (72%) reported they had an easy time adjusting to civilian life after military service, while another 27% say that re-entry was difficult for them. The 27% make up a proportion that reaches 44% of veterans who served in the team years following 9/11.1 Considering this, it’s safe to say that transitioning to everyday life outside of the military can be a tough adjustment, but planning can help. Banyan Treatment Centers is sharing how to transition from military to civilian life that can help you or a loved one be successful. 

Tips for a Smooth Military Transition to Civilian Life 

It’s beneficial to begin laying out your transition from military life to civilian life as early as two years before you retire from the military. Below are some tips for adjusting to civilian life after the military that can make this process successful:  

  • Determine what career you want to pursue: Research shows that one in four veterans had a civilian job lined up after they left the military, and about half (48%) didn’t but looked for one right away.2 With this in mind, we encourage you to have a job lined up or at least have an idea of where you can seek employment following retirement from the military. Many military personnel become accustomed to always having something to do in their line of work, so adjusting to civilian life after the military without a job lined up can leave them without a sense of purpose. 
  • Prepare your professional paperwork: This means freshening up your resume and fine-tuning your cover letters so you can apply for work after retirement. If you don’t have a resume or cover letter and aren’t sure how to write them, there are plenty of free templates available online. You should also be sure to set up any paperwork for retirement.  
  • Find a mentor who went through a similar transition: There are plenty of mentors for veterans out there who have also transitioned from military to civilian life who can guide you in this process.  
  • Try to leave the military with education or certification: Thanks to services like Tuition Assistance, many military servicemembers leave the military with an education. If you’re almost done with a certification or degree, try not to leave before you finish. This could make it easier for you to start a career in something you studied and enjoy after military retirement. 
  • Speak to your family: Retiring from the military and going back home is a transition for everyone in your life, so it’s important to make this decision with your loved ones. Preparing with them can ensure that you have a strong support system at home. 
  • Make sure your finances are in order: An important aspect of retirement is financial stability, so make sure a military to civilian transition is financially smart and feasible. You might have to wait longer to make the transition, but it’ll be worth it as long as you and your family are covered.  
  • Try to connect with people in your desired career field: Start meeting people in your desired career field or college (commonly referred to as “networking”). It’s much easier to get into that dream school or job when the school or business already knows you. 

As a military rehab center that offers a Military and Veterans in Recovery program to aid in addiction and mental health recovery, we understand the stressors that are unique to this demographic. For this reason, we try to aid military service members and veterans in any way we can, whether it’s through tips on adjusting to civilian life after the military or by offering drug addiction treatment for veterans, we’re here for you.  

For more information about our mentoring, counseling, and active-duty military rehab program, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 



  1. Pew Research Center - The Difficult Transition from Military to Civilian Life 
  2. Pew Research Center - The transition to post-military employment 


Related Reading: 

Military Spouse Depression 

What Are Go Pills in the Military? 

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Tips for Adjusting to Civilian Life After the Military
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