By Willis Braggs
As I spread the word about drinking and driving, I often wonder who or how many people are truly listening. Two times and you’re out is the rule, so why do personnel seem to find themselves in trouble? We have many options available: a designated driver, Uber or a cab; you can pace yourself and limit the amount you drink; or simply not drink at all.
If you Google “What gets police officers in trouble?” the No. 1 answer is alcohol! I continue to ask, “What is your plan when you are drinking?” Can you stop after one or two drinks? Do you give in to peer pressure, or why are you taking this chance, putting your life and career in jeopardy? If you drink regularly with others, you might not know that you have a problem. It looks normal to you, because everyone around you might be doing it.
You don’t have to be an alcoholic to abuse alcohol. Binge drinking specifically refers to the consumption of five or more average size beverages (e.g., 12 ounces of beer, 1 ounce of liquor, 6 ounces of wine) at one sitting for men, or four or more for women (the difference being attributed to physiology). This pattern of consumption is frequently reported by individuals between the ages of 18 and 21. However, there are many work environments where this pattern is considered the norm, and therefore it continues well beyond the age range.
You are not in a contest to see how you compare with other drinkers. You should only be concerned with how drinking is affecting you, your job and your family. Take control of your life by knowing when and where to ask for help. Be willing to put rationalization aside and seek the truth about your choices with an open mind.
Have you ever considered going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting? It could be an eye-opener. You don’t have to be in any type of trouble to go, and they can be found online according to your zip code.
If you are sworn, the Peace Officer’s Fellowship (POF) is available. You can contact one of the members listed on this page, and they will be more than happy to assist a fellow deputy. And if you need to talk to someone, you can call Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) at (213) 738-3500. It’s confidential and it’s free.