Peace Officers Fellowship


Many of the recovering alcoholics I know thank their lucky stars daily that they gained their sobriety when they did. Even still, most of them wish they had sobered up sooner. They also almost unanimously subscribe to the belief that everyone quits drinking only when they are ready. Thankfully, not every alcoholic has to hit rock bottom before they can successfully quit drinking. Some people can see the bottom rushing up at them, and make a change before they experience the harsh reality of what making impact feels like.

Each person struggling with alcoholism has their low point, their own bottom. For some, it looks like getting arrested for driving under the influence. The experience of getting booked, being relieved of duty and enduring the humiliation that inevitably follows such an experience makes the person bottom out. For others, however, a single arrest for DUI is explained away as bad luck. For some, the low point is their relationship or marriage ending and no longer living with their kids full-time. For others, however, failed relationships are blamed on the significant other. There are definitely circumstances when alcohol, unfortunately, is always the last factor to be considered as the problem.
For the untreated alcoholic or the alcoholic who thinks they’re “functional” enough to keep drinking, the bottom may have to be a very harsh place. Perhaps it may be realized after losing their job, their home, a lot of money and their family. Some alcoholics, including cops, find their rock bottom inside a prison cell due to drunken traffic collisions or domestic violence issues.

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 clearly brought to their homes, careers and families. They were getting stopped (and sometimes arrested) for DUI. They were getting to work late (and hungover) or using sick time to stay home altogether. Their personal lives were unraveling due to financial problems and relationship issues. Even though alcohol was the common denominator, it was often overlooked as one of the causes of their problems. Many of the recovering alcoholics I speak to saw alcohol as their only relief from the stress in their lives. In the end, however, there was often a realization that alcohol was making their lives unmanageable. While some had to hit rock bottom to see it, others came close enough to get a good look at it before they decided to get sober.

If you are sworn and want to stop the descent or have hit rock bottom, and you are ready to stop drinking, there is a place you can go for help. The Peace Officer’s Fellowship (POF) is a group of law enforcement officers who have had a drinking problem. Membership is open to any law enforcement officer who wants to do something about their drinking habits. The POF operates under the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, which means that members share their experiences with each other, and confidentiality and anonymity are absolutes. POF also offers person-to-person service or “sponsorship” to new members. The Peace Officer’s Fellowship offers a way to develop a satisfying life without alcohol. If you are interested in finding out more information about the POF, feel free to call one of the members listed here. Your phone call can be anonymous and will always be confidential.

Whether you are sworn or civilian, you are always welcome to reach out to Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) and the Substance Abuse Resource Program (SARP) at (213) 738-3500. You can ask to speak with me, the SARP coordinator, if you’d like peer support or are interested in talking about other resources. You can also ask to set up an appointment with a licensed clinical psychologist to talk about whatever is going on and develop a plan to move forward. Both options are free and confidential. There is no better time than now!