Roadmap to Resilience:
A Guide for Military, Trauma Victims and Their Families
Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D.
At the end of each major section of the book, there is a call for your input on ways to further bolster resilience. We urge you to share ideas that you, the reader, your family members and your friends have considered helpful in achieving post-traumatic growth and improving health in each of the fitness areas discussed in the book. Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributions will be added on this website page but kept anonymous. Together, we can share with others to help everyone build more nurturing environments and improve lives.
“I understand that it took time to train myself for a mission of being a warrior and I must allow myself time to readjust to feeling and behaving like a civilian again.”
- D.B. (soldier with two tours in Afghanistan)
"Everyday when I wake up, I can play a different CD in my head. Am I a “stubborn victim” or a “tenacious survivor”? That guy who raped me controlled three hours of my life with his knife to my throat as he raped me. I will not allow him to own the rest of my life."
–M.R.(A rape victim)
“Over time, I learned to deal with my anger by placing emotional distance between myself and the Army. The Army is still an important part of my life, but I make a conscious effort now not to let it control my life. I set firm boundaries with the military – not working past a certain hour, living off post, respecting my wife’s wish not to participate in unit functions. In the Army’s place I now focus my energy on the things that make the most sense to me in my life – my family, my friends and my travels.”
- A.D. (Major)
“The calls keep coming. After 9/11, they never found my son’s body, but I keep getting calls whenever they find a body part. We filled his empty casket with reminders of the things he loved and buried them. I am collecting all of his body parts and I will have them buried with me.”
- S.C. (mother of a firefighter)
"Being part of the group of women who were sewing the Survivors Quilt was very therapeutic. I bonded with them and drew strength knowing I was not alone."
– J.S.(An incest survivor)
“There was a time I would have called a soldier a weakling or worse for seeing a counselor or going to a chaplain. And if I didn’t say it to his face, I sure would have thought it. I don’t see it that way any more. Multiple deployments have taught me that we’re all going to need help from time to time and it’s the strong ones that are willing to ask for it.”
- A.R. (NCO)
“As I stood at the gravesite of my comrade, I remembered that his obituary said, ‘He was an ordinary man who, by his words and actions, did extraordinary things.’ I had the thought that it was my fervent hope that the rest of my days are a fitting tribute to the life he never will have the chance to live himself.”
- A.D. (Major)
“Coming from combat to home is not an easy task. It’s hard to explain how I feel to anyone… I have changed a lot – some for the better, some for the worse. Before Iraq I didn’t have any plans or goals. Now I do. I might not be as happy as I used to be, but I am getting there. Some days it’s hard.”
- S.D. (U.S. Soldier after returning from a 15—month deployment in Iraq)
“I talked to my eight-year-old son last night. He told me about an award he won at school, and usually, I’d just say something like ‘that’s nice’. But I used the skill on how to show gratitude by asking a bunch of questions about it. ‘Who was there when he got the award? How did he feel receiving it? Where’s he going to hang the award?’ And about halfway through the conversation he interrupted me and said, ‘Dad is this really you?’ I know what he meant by that. This was the longest we ever talked, and I think we were both surprised by it.”
- M.L. (NCO)
"The whole time I was trapped on the roof of my house with my granddaughter because of the rising flood waters, I told her to sing Amazing Grace with me. I explained that God would answer our prayers to be rescued because we were on the roof and closer to heaven. We sang loud for two hours and then the boat rescued us. God heard our prayers."
-G.B. (A hurricane survivor)
“The death of my friends in combat has made it hard for me to get on with my life. But I think what my buddies who died would want me to do. So I keep on going. I remember one buddy who I was close with would always tell me not to sweat the small stuff and appreciate the little things in life. I remember what he said. I guess that the best way to get back at those who hurt you is to live life well.”
- J.S. (Marine deployed to Afghanistan)
“I have developed a willingness to live with physical and emotional pain, while engaging in important daily activities. I have learned to control what I can and accept what I cannot control.”
- D.M. (a wounded amputee service member)