I was a highly-decorated police officer for almost 20 years. I served in all the coveted assignments; gang officer, bicycle patrol, DARE officer, interview and interrogation specialist, homicide detective , and my final assignment, “drug addict.” My journey began, as it often does, by being a hard charger and heavy drinker at choir practice with the boys.
I was very well trained on how to always win and not to trust. On the streets, trust will get you killed. So as my addiction progressed, I knew I would fix it myself because I have never lost at anything in life. Hell, I faced death, danger, and all that goes with the job; nothing scared me. I formulated a tactical plan. I would beat my addiction on my own and win again. Little did I know that my addiction also had a tactical plan that was strategically far superior to my own.
My life started to spiral out of control. I held myself together on the job, or so I thought, always receiving excellent evaluations. However, I began isolating and becoming a hypocrite in my private life. How could I help so many but not myself?
As my private life fell apart, the only thing that seemed to ease the pain was narcotic medication. This became my “beat partner” who always had my back and took care of me. My addiction grew so out of control that I did something I never ever thought I would ever do. I committed a crime. I was indicted by the U.S. Federal Government for “doctor shopping.”
For the first time in my life, I was defeated. The killer was not a felon on the street, it was addiction. I pled guilty, because I was guilty. Time to stop being a hypocrite and deal with the real demon: myself and my disease. I went to treatment, the greatest gift ever given to me in my life. Without it, I would have committed suicide. Now, after having almost seven years clean and sober, life is far greater than I ever imagined. I could have never accomplished this on my own.
My new “beat partner” is the tools, education, and awareness given to me in treatment. Today, I am a husband, a father, a son, and a friend. I am also the Executive Director of Safe Call Now, a crisis line for police, fire, correctional staff, and their family members nationwide. I still get to save lives, just in a different way.
I am blessed