While at a recent class I met a friend from Operation Enduring Warrior, a great organization that assists wounded military and police. During a discussion on police profiles and PTSD he made a statement that hit me deep. Our police culture has a tendency to live in a lifestyle of risky behavior that we have to hide. Drinking, infidelity, porn usage, and all the other vices officers and veterans hurt themselves and their families with.
The nature of police work lends itself to seeing the underbelly of society and many times we slip into it. The cumulative stress officers experience can cause feelings of anger, apathy, bitterness, and sadness regarding perceived acts against them. The risky behavior engaged in provides short-term relief for a long-term problem. These behaviors are the easy way out.
Yes, our careers are tough and cause change in us. Our careers are also tough on our spouses and children. We can easily get lost in the dark and risky culture. During the worst times we suffer substance abuse, divorces, affairs, dysfunctional children, suicide and a whole host of destructive life issues.
We can change the nature of our culture. We can come out of the darkness of our careers. We can start over and live in the best of times.
Let’s now talk about achieving the best of times. To make a change you can utilize resources such as peer support, counseling, Copline, Blue Help, police family marriage retreats and the list goes on. You can communicate with your spouse, utilize the time you spent on destructive behaviors to spend time with your children. Adopt wellness by working on your health physically and mentally while building resilience. Choose to live a life in the light.
So the question is … where are you hiding?
Be safe and it’s all about Living, Loving and Caring.
Cathy Bustos is a retired police lieutenant from Central Texas. As one half of “That Peer Support Couple, LLC” she is a strong peer support advocate speaking about surviving critical incidents and marriage. She can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, their website: www.cathyandjavi.com Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.
(Feature image: U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Patrick Harrower)