When we are stressed, our muscle memory takes over and we tend to do what we are trained to do. This is the reason why the range staff prefers to train those who have no experience with guns. That way, when the suspect starts shooting, officers’ muscles are trained to respond in the right way and not revert to bad habits they have learned in the past. Muscle memory is learned in the Academy, like combat breathing and mental rehearsal of tactics, but when the rubber hits the road, this is when you are grateful that your muscles know what to do when the shooting starts.
The Academy is not the only place where training takes place. Training can also reinforce negative habits, such as excessive drinking to unwind. After work, some go to the bar and practice a set of new or familiar skills over and over again. It can become automatic and routine, even though your original plan was to go home. There you are, again, playing catchup with your buddies not being mindful of the big picture. What’s the plan to get home? Possibly taking the backroads to avoid being stopped for DUI. Why are you risking so much?
Perhaps it’s time to try a different approach. Are you tired of being sick and tired? You don’t have to hit rock bottom before getting help! So before you lose your job or your home, maybe it’s time to stop drinking. You can try to go cold turkey, but precautions should be taken depending on the amount of alcohol you have been drinking. You can possibly go through alcohol withdrawals that could become life-threating for a small number of people.
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a set of symptoms that can occur following a reduction in alcohol use after a period of excessive use. Symptoms typically include anxiety, shakiness, sweating, vomiting, fast heart rate and a mild fever. You can attempt to stop drinking on your own, but you might find yourself back in the same boat. If you stop for two weeks or even two months, but find yourself drinking again, maybe you need help from others in the same boat.
For those of you who don’t know, there are a couple of safe places a deputy can go for help: Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) at (213) 738-3500, and Peace Officer’s Fellowship (POF), which is AA for first responders. If none of the above suggestions work, please call one of the people listed here.