Peace Officers Fellowship


Over the years, we have all seen hardworking, dedicated deputies lose their enthusiasm for the job. They find that the job has lost some of its spark, and it’s just not as much fun as it once was and is instead experienced as boring. Sometimes, this can be attributed to burnout or stress. Some people deal with the experience of burnout and stress by drinking. Getting home for a drink can become very important, as drinking may be the only known way to have fun and escape their dull, boring reality.

But what if this perspective is actually backward? What if, instead of work being blah being the reason to drink, it’s actually that drinking has led to work being experienced as blah? What if drinking has led to poorer sleep, dehydration, depressed mood, lower energy, health issues and hangovers, and all of that has led to your experience of the job losing its spark?

I’m sure most if not all of the people reading this have experienced or know someone who has experienced an evening of too much drinking leading to an unproductive day of feeling awful (and maybe even not remembering everything that happened the night before).

Do you know how your drinking is impacting you (physically, mentally and emotionally)? Have you thought about slowing down, taking a break or even quitting? Do you think you might be better off if you did? What would it take for you to cut back? How would you even start a new relationship with alcohol? Here are some options to consider if you’re considering a change:

• Make a plan — before you start drinking, set a limit for yourself and only take a fixed amount of money, so you’re not tempted to buy more than         you planned for.
• Let your friends and family know about your interest in cutting down (or quitting), so they can support your efforts.
• Drink something with lower alcohol content (alcohol by volume or ABV).
• Opt-out of rounds, as they can make you drink a lot faster than you realize. If that’s not an option, at least go out with a smaller group.
• Space out your alcoholic drinks with a glass (or two) of water. (This will also help you stay hydrated.)

Some immediate effects of cutting down that you could experience include feeling better in the mornings, having more energy throughout the day, feeling more fit and looking physically healthier. Over time, other benefits you could enjoy include significantly improved physical and mental health. For example, quitting alcohol may reverse some of the alcohol’s damage to your body. When you stop drinking, you gradually restore elasticity to the skin, and the redness and yellowing of the skin and around the eyes slowly disappears. Since alcohol interferes with your sleep-wake cycles, making it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night, less alcohol intake means better sleep. Alcohol is linked to seven different types of cancer, including bowel cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer and mouth cancer, so decreasing the likelihood of these diagnoses is always good. Giving up drinking could also have a big, positive impact on your liver and reduce the chances of developing liver disease (as long as it hasn’t already been irreversibly damaged).

These benefits are just the beginning. The longer you go without alcohol, the more health improvements you will experience. This includes for-the-better changes in your overall health, relationships, job, finances and more. Try your best to have patience as your mind and body heals and you relearn a life without alcohol — and take pride in how far you’ve already come.