Courage After Fire is divided in to 7 chapters and a “Resources" section. Chapter 1 “Reactions to War," reviews positive effects of serving in a war followed by common problems associated with it, including anxiety, anger, alcohol and drug use, and depression. This chapter helps veterans and their family members understand why and how these problems develop.
In Chapters 2 and 3, tips and exercises are described to help manage these difficulties so that veterans and their families can “get on" with their lives. In Chapter 2, “Strengthening Your Mind and Body," veterans identify and build upon skills they already possess and are provided with a series of relaxation exercises aimed at reducing war-related stress. Techniques for improving self-care, including tips for sleep, exercise, and healthy eating, are offered. Then in Chapter 3, “Coping Strategies," the authors share proven strategies to directly combat and take control of the veteran's unwanted war reactions.
Chapter 4, “Coping with Grief and Loss," addresses the many losses that veterans may have experienced during war—the loss of innocence, a close friend, or a physical ability. This chapter describes thoughts and feelings that veterans typically have after a wartime loss and discusses strategies for coping with these emotional after effects.
Chapter 5, “Changed Views of Self, Others, and the World," looks at how views of safety, trust, control, power, relationships and other ideas may have been altered by wartime experiences. Courage After Fire asks veterans whether they see themselves, others, and the world differently since being at war. If so, how are these changes affecting them today? If they feel that their changed views are getting in the way of readjustment home, this chapter offers strategies that can help.
In Chapter 6, “Returning to Civilian Life," there are suggestions for veterans who are readjusting to work, school, and the community, including practical advice about how to respond to difficult questions about war experiences. This chapter also provides employers with tips on how to help returning veterans reenter the workforce.
Chapter 7, “Restoring Family Roles and Relationships," discusses the changes that may have occurred at home during a veteran's absence and presents strategies to adjust to these changes. In this chapter, there are tips such as how to talk to friends and family members about war experience and ways to reconnect with loved ones, including advice about reuniting with children and recommendations for parents of returning veterans.
Finally, the “Resources," section provides a practical list of books and websites where veterans, families, friends and those in the helping profession can obtain further information on specific issues related to readjustment. These resources include veterans' organizations, employment links, and support groups.
Throughout the book, examples and anecdotes based on the authors' clinical work illustrate problems that veterans may be experiencing as well as healthy and concrete ways to cope with them. Each coping strategy or exercise includes step-by-step procedures to assist veterans in adopting these skills and monitoring their progress.
Each chapter also has specific suggestions on what partners, family members, and close friends can do to help veterans readjust stateside.
We've written Courage After Fire to acknowledge the many challenges faced by Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, and to support our troops and military families in their transition home. This self-help guide provides information on combat stress, war related grief, anger, and sleep problems, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), as well as the effects of PTSD on couples and children. In addition, we offer specific strategies and assistance for the post-war adjustment and combat stress treatment of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, Active Duty service members, National Guard, and Reservists.