Ugh. I miss it. Transitioning from military to civilian life and from camaraderie to isolation

by Eli Saslow

“Since returning from Afghanistan, Derric Winters had tried to replace the war by working construction, roughnecking in the oil fields and enrolling in community college. He had tried divorce and remarriage; alcohol and drugs; biker gangs and street racing; therapy appointments and trips to a shooting range for what he called “recoil therapy.” He had tried driving two hours to the hospital in Laramie, proclaiming himself in need of help and checking himself in. On this day, he was on his way to try what he considered the most unlikely solution yet: a 9-to-5 office job as a case worker helping troubled veterans — even though he hated office work and had so far failed to help himself.” Photo: Washington Post

ROCK SPRINGS, WYO. — The only light in the vast Wyoming darkness came from the lit end of another 5:30 a.m. cigarette as Derric Winters waited alone for sunrise on the porch of his trailer. He never slept well, not anymore, so he smoked and stared across the three miles of barren landscape that separated him from town. He checked his voice mail, but there were no messages. He logged on to Facebook, but no one was awake to chat. The only company now was the hum of the interstate behind his trailer, people on their way from one place to the next. He walked out to his truck and joined them.