There are questions you might ask yourself after an alcohol-related incident: How can I go back to work? What will they think of me? Can I ever get promoted? Will I be able to transfer to a good assignment? It is normal to ask yourself all of these questions and more.
Some members on the Department have had to give up alcohol entirely to save their careers. Some have had to abstain to save their marriages. Some saw that excessive alcohol misuse was ruining their lives or health and decided to stop. Some were sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Whatever the reason a person may have for taking that first step toward sobriety, he or she will be faced with the question, “What about my job?” Many who have stopped drinking after joining the Peace Officer’s Fellowship, which is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for cops, have decided to do just as the name implies and remain anonymous. They go about their daily work lives without discussing their drinking habits and are assured by other Fellowship members that their anonymity is protected. If a friend or supervisor notices that they were once a heavy drinker but have now stopped drinking, they can give any explanation or none. Abstinence does not require an explanation, and it does not hinder one’s ability to be a trusted friend. Others have told friends and supervisors that they no longer drink and have offered to be of assistance to anyone who is having a problem with alcohol. They are willing to share their story and risk the disapproval of some in the hopes of helping others.
Returning to work after quitting drinking is not as difficult as one might think. Regaining trust and mending soiled reputations may be necessary, but the returning employee will find that most people want to see them succeed. If the past is any example, promotion, transfer to special assignments and outstanding evaluations are there for those who seek them.
If you are reading this and know something is wrong and needs to be taken care of, or if you’re wondering whether you have a drinking/thinking problem, call Psychological Services Bureau at (213) 738-3500 to speak with the substance abuse resource program coordinator or one of our doctors. Call the members listed in this article and attend a Peace Officer’s Fellowship or AA meeting. Do it for yourself and your family.