Many of the recovering alcoholics I know are thankful daily that they gained their sobriety when they did. Most drinkers wish they could have sobered up earlier, although they almost unanimously subscribe to the idea that everyone quits drinking only when ready. Happily, not every alcoholic has to hit bottom before they can successfully quit drinking. Some are able to see the bottom rushing up at them and make contact.
Each alcoholic has their own low point, their own “rock bottom.” For some, getting arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol may be the low point. The experience of getting booked, doing days-off and enduring the embarrassment that inevitably follows such an experience may be the incident that makes this their bottom. Others, however, choose 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 conflicts with the brass. Failed relationships can be blamed on the other person. Alcohol, for these individuals, is always the last factor to be noticed. Denial can get in the way of moderating or abstaining from alcohol misuse.
For the alcoholic who thinks he or she is functional enough to keep drinking, the bottom may have to be a very harsh place. It may be realized after they have lost their job, their home, their money or their family. Some alcoholics, including cops, find their bottom point inside prison cells as a result of drunken traffic collisions or domestic fights.
Again, most of the alcoholics I know wish sobriety would have come earlier in their lives. They look back with astonishment at how they could have ignored the destruction alcohol brought to their homes, careers and families. They were getting stopped and sometimes arrested for DUI. They were coming to work late (and hungover) or using sick time to stay home altogether. Their personal lives were unraveling. Financial problems were common, and relationships were suffering.
Even though alcohol was a common denominator, it was often overlooked as one of the causes of their problems. In fact, many alcoholics saw booze as their only relief from the stress in their lives.
In the end, though, many of the alcoholics I know realized alcohol was making their lives unmanageable. Some had to hit bottom, others came close enough to get a good look at it. They decided to get sober. If you are sworn, on the way to hitting bottom and you want to stop the descent and stop drinking, there is a place where you can start your life in sobriety!
If you find yourself unable to control your drinking or use of pain medication, there are multiple resources 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 assisting others in achieving and maintaining sobriety. It offers support with confidentiality, and each month a few of its members’ names and phone numbers are printed in Star News.
In addition to POF, help is available through Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) at (213) 738-3500, the Substance Abuse Resource Program (SARP), the Peer Support Program, the Chaplain Program and outside private entities (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous). We are here to help you take that first step to overcome addiction to a substance.