Many of the people I meet who are in recovery thank their lucky stars every day that they gained their sobriety when they did. Most of them wished they had sobered up sooner, although they almost unanimously subscribe to the idea that everyone quits drinking when they are ready. Not every alcoholic has to hit bottom to successfully quit drinking.
Each individual alcoholic has their own low point, their own bottom. For some, being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol may be the low point. The experience of being booked, being relieved of duty and enduring the humiliation that inevitably follows such an experience may be the incident that makes them bottom out. Others, however, may appear destined to continue down the path toward destruction. For them, a single arrest for DUI can be explained as “bad luck.” Poor evaluations can be written off as “beefs with the brass.” Failed relationships can be blamed on “the other person.” Alcohol, for these individuals in denial, is always the last factor to be noticed.
For the untreated alcoholic, or the alcoholic who thinks they are “functional” enough to keep drinking, the bottom may be a very harsh place. It may be realized only after they have lost their job, their home, their money or their family. Some alcoholics, including law enforcement officers, find their bottom point inside jail cells as a result of a drunken traffic collision or domestic fights.
Again, most of the alcoholics I have met wish sobriety would have come sooner in their lives. They look back with amazement at how they ignored the destruction that alcohol brought into their homes, their careers and their families: they were stopped and sometimes arrested for DUI; they were coming to work late or using sick time to stay home altogether and their personal lives were unraveling. Financial problems were common denominators in their stories, but it was often overlooked as one of the causes of their problem. Many alcoholics viewed alcohol as their only relief from the stress, not its cause. Some had to hit rock bottom, others came close enough to get a good look at it. That is when they decided to get sober. In the end, many alcoholics realized alcohol was making their lives unmanageable.
If you find yourself unable to control your drinking, multiple resources are available to help you. The Peace Officer’s Fellowship (POF) is one of those resources. It is a group of peace officers committed to living sober lives and helping others achieve and maintain sobriety. It offers support with confidentiality, and each month a few of its members’ names and phone numbers are printed here in the Star News.
In addition to POF, help is available through the Psychological Services Bureau’s Substance Abuse Resource Program (SARP), along with the Peer Support Program (including Vets4Vets), the Chaplain Program and private or local resources (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous). We are here to help you take the first step to identify that substances are a problem and to support your path to sobriety through services at PSB and in the community.