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Sober Living and The Job

January 21st 2021
Blog Post
To be sober…who wants to be sober? And being sober as a Police Officer? Pah, unheard of. Well, that was my old way of thinking back between 2015–2018. It was a type of thinking that used to control me as an Officer, a friend, and as an individual. When I first started drinking it was on the weekends…you know, “normal”, social drinking. Out with the boys after a shift for a few cold ones that sometimes went to 3, 4 in the morning. It’s what young people do in their twenties, and it’s especially what young Cops do. Drinking culture is practically threaded into the career of a law enforcement officer. I thought my drinking was just what guys like me did. I didn’t see anything wrong with it for a long time.
I felt invincible and totally in control. Until my drinking started interfering with my life, my relationships, my personal happiness. What I failed to realize was that I was not in control at all. My ego was at the wheel, and right beside it was fear. I was fearful of being judged by my coworkers,by others in the weight room, and even by friends and family. And I masked it with alcohol.
What I eventually came to realize shortly after my “drinking career” came to an end was the fact that I was the one who was judging me. Really, I was the only one. No one else gave a shit how much I drank, or lifted in the gym, or arrests I made.Hell, I was the Judge, Jury and the Executioner. We as humans, especially cops, are so damn hard on ourselves. We are the ones who are supposed to make the “perfect decisions” every second, of every minute of every day. I learned that having compassion for myself as an Officer was the way to become a better one. I truly believe that once we accept that we are not ‘perfect’ and that it’s okay to be human and make mistakes, we are one step closer to being a better Officer. If we accept our decisions as a learning experience, it will only serve us on and off the job.
I fully surrendered on September 22, 2019, that’s the last time I had a drink. My Sober date is September 23, 2019. Sober living, especially while on The Job has been a blessing. I am no longer the Judge, Jury, and Executioner each day. I can think, act, react, listen and be aware like I’ve never been able to before. The myth that a Cop can’t have a career and live sober is now a relic of the past. I give people so much credit for being sober and facing their problems head on, rather than masking them with drinking. Head strong can take on anyone, and it shows. For myself, living sober has taught me that I don’t need to impress anyone, I only need to be better than the Frank from yesterday. As Cops, if we are not focusing on ourselves and our health and wellbeing, channeling that focus into discipline based on what we eat, the way we think, the way we workout, the way we sleep, the way we accept what is, the way we sit and let ourselves feel emotions, even cry, we are doing our selves a disservice. I think if we focus on ourselves, then things around us will change. Our thoughts will serve us better and will lead to better decision making skills which will lead to better habits, and to increased self-confidence and then we can really SHOW UP for ourselves and for those around whom we care about.
Just for today I will control what I can control and I will not pick up a drink. We as Officers can’t change the world but we can change ourselves. Don’t be another statistic. I refuse to be a statistic or suffer in silence. Sober living gives me the opportunity to break the cycle, because I know I am powerless to alcohol. I have surrendered, but I have not quit. If you can relate, you are not alone. reach out, it’s why we are here.
Stay Safe, Frank