Warning Signs That Law Enforcement Officer Might be suffering from Alcoholism
Law enforcement is one of the most stressful occupations a person can choose to have for a career. Of all the jobs within the field, none is perhaps more stressful than that of police officer. Putting their lives on the line each day, these officers never know from one minute to the next what situation they will encounter. Sometimes they may go for days without encountering a dangerous situation, while other days they may face nothing but danger during their shift. As the stress begins to accumulate from these situations, many officers find themselves turning to alcohol as a stress reliever. While many officers are able to simply have a drink now and then, others begin to find themselves relying too much on alcohol to help them get through each day. If you or a loved one believes alcoholism may have become a problem, there are many signs that may indicate a problem exists.
The most glaring problem occurs when an officer feels as if they need alcohol in order to get through their day. An alcoholic officer will be one who may be drinking before they go to work, claiming they need a drink to help steady their nerves that day. Some officers will drink enough alcohol before going to work to give them a buzz, while others may have a blood alcohol content that makes them legally drunk on the job. Many officers are able to build up a tolerance for alcohol, allowing them to know just how much they can drink and still function in their job. If drinking before going to work is a regular habit, you are surely suffering from alcoholism.
Another sign a law enforcement officer may be suffering from alcoholism is when they are drinking excessively while off-duty. If an officer feels as if they need alcohol on their days off in order to relieve the stress of the workweek, there may be a problem. Most officers who believe they cannot cope with the stress of the job without having a drink or two are most likely suffering from alcoholism, and will need professional help to control their addiction.
Mood swings may also be prevalent both on and off the job for an officer suffering from alcoholism. You may notice a person will be in a good mood one day, then the next day be very depressed or angry. Many times, these mood swings can occur in the course of the same day. Co-workers, family members and friends will notice this behavior as it starts to show itself more frequently. Law enforcement officers may begin to show unusual behavior toward those they arrest, such as treating them with disrespect or using excessive physical force when making an arrest. This is also a sign that you are suffering from alcoholism.
Attempting to avoid supervisors or other co-workers as much as possible may be another sign a law enforcement officer may be suffering from alcoholism. Many officers will start trying to be by themselves as much as possible, and will often withdraw from co-workers they may have previously had strong relationships with. They will want to appear as if everything is fine, knowing deep inside themselves that it is anything but that.
If you or a loved one believes alcoholism has become a problem, it’s never too late to seek help. Most employers, particularly police departments, have excellent employee assistance programs to help those who may be suffering from substance abuse issues. If you suspect a problem, speak with a supervisor or trusted friend to begin the road to recovery. By admitting a problem exists, you can take the first step toward a healthy recovery.