“My name is John, and I’m an alcoholic.”
The thought of uttering those words scared the hell out of me, regardless of how true they were.
I had developed a taste for alcohol while on active duty in the Army, copious amounts of beer and whiskey were my drinks of choice. Before long, they were a way of life.
I managed to be a “functional drunk.” I did well in the academy and excelled on the streets. Though I knew I was playing a dangerous game, alcohol helped me forget the things I had seen, heard, and smelled on the streets, the abyss of human misery. It helped me to sleep.
As inevitably comes to pass, I hit a bottom when I was served with divorce papers. I went to get help. That was 10 years ago next month. It would be seven years before I dared enter a room full of strangers and utter those dreadful words.
Cops are human, but aren’t viewed that way. Cops are viewed as held to a higher standard and are expected to deal with the horrors they deal with in a way… well, no one really knows or cares how, just so long as the officer is perfect.
I didn’t want to go to a group of strangers. I didn’t want to tell them I was a cop, I didn’t want to talk about the things that bothered me, because I didn’t want to “tarnish the badge,” nor be the cop in the room, and what if it got back to the Department? Those first seven years could have been a lot easier if only there was a safer way. And those same fears keep many a good cop from getting help.
WILEORC has long recognized a need for a safe spot for officers struggling with dependence on alcohol, as well as other drugs.
Mike Doud and I sat down with John Arneson, President and CEO of SALS Recovery Houses and Coaching, a registered 501(c)3 organization dedicated to assisting people with their recovery from addiction, headquartered in Waukesha.
SALS (Safe Alternative Living Spaces) Center offer inpatient, in/outpatient, and outpatient services, as well as PTSD counseling, job searching, private and group counseling, interventions, and a myriad of other services and programs to assist in recovery. SALS has been successfully assisting those with addictions since 2004. Recovery is not a one-size-fits-all process, SALS finds the right method for you.
SALS is not beholden to any Department or employing municipality, so confidentiality is guaranteed; your recovery is about YOU! With 24/7 support, someone is there to assist you in your journey.
The Wisconsin Injured Law Enforcement Officers Resource Council is excited to partner up with SALS Recovery Center!
If you are struggling with addiction, we strongly encourage you to visit SALS online at www.salsrecovery.com, and give them a call at (262)701-7257 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. All major insurance is accepted.
No one starts out to become addicted, it starts as a coping mechanism for physical, mental, or emotional pain. It turns into the disease, and never the cure. Trust me, life can only get better without addiction. Your family, your friends, and your partners need you to be healthy!