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Deployments and being alone

A refresher course on how to stay busy

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As an Army wife who has been through my share of deployments (one of them for 15 months in 2006 to 2007), I know what it's like to be alone. In fact, I'm in the midst of the final countdown to another yearlong operation. Part of my journey toward a deployment involves refreshing what I call my "year-plan" - things to do to keep busy. Do you have one?

Laquita Booker-Moore does. She stays busy as a full-time medical student and mom to her four children ages 4 to 22. Her husband, I Corps Sgt. 1st Class Moore, deployed in June on his 7th middle-eastern tour. "I do something with other spouses every Friday," said Booker-Moore, "and once a month, we do things like go to Pacific Beach or get a massage. You have to take time for yourself."

She advises spouses to take Army Family Team Building (AFTB) classes, which offer information and services from financial readiness to Family Readiness training. Also, attend FRG meetings and activities, and seek out local and military faith-based communities to stay occupied. "Get out, drive around, and see the sights," Booker-Moore said. "You never know, you might meet your best friend."

She also highly recommends the Spouses Club on Joint Base Lewis-McChord as a way to meet other wives. "Sometimes, I even have dinner by myself and go to a movie," she said. "If you're not okay being alone, you'll be miserable."

To survive deployments, the Army Deployment Cycle Readiness: Soldier's and Family Member's Handbook suggests eating right, getting enough rest, volunteering in the community and getting involved in a new activity or hobby. Also, talking about your fears, doubts, and feelings with a close and trusted friend, and seeking out the unit's chaplain or Military Family Life Consultant (MFLC) to talk about issues can help.

Other things you can include in your year-plan: read a new book from a different genre monthly, or join a book club. During the holidays, begin a "Kris Kringle" gift exchange with family and make handmade cards; take a road trip, or invite relatives to visit for Christmas. Volunteer at local toy and food drives or serve food to the homeless. Make a gratitude journal and make lists of all the things you're thankful for during New Years (instead of resolutions you may not keep). Also, revamp your workout regimen or begin an exercise program, which helps manage stress.

Above all, stay in contact with your spouse (via Skype, emails, letters, photos, phone calls) and find things that keep you motivated and connected (my husband and I have a deployment "bucket-list"- activities we plan on doing when he returns. We add something new each time we speak or write).

Whatever you do, have something in your life to look forward to - daily, weekly, during the holidays and beyond.

A good place to find additional information and support is your FRG contact and your Soldier's rear-detachment chain of command. For more information about Army family programs and community services, visit . Also, visit the Lewis Community Spouses' Club at


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