First responders by nature are driven Alphas who don’t have quit in their hearts. Fighting through the trauma becomes second nature. We run to the chaos, not away. More times than not, we begin to search for ways to cope to keep going. Running to false idols whether it be sex, money, or alcohol, to name a few.
I personally became way too comfortable with the bottle. I am not saying that libations can’t be enjoyed responsibly, but at the time, I misused them. I would run to the false idol every time without hesitation. It started out slow, but as my career continued and the trauma mounted, it became worse. Every time an emotion crept in, sadness, anger, frustration, hopelessness, bring on the liquid therapist. Can anyone relate? The time of day did not matter. During my time on midnight shift, I would get home in the morning and reach for it to drown out the noise of the previous night. It’s funny how the dead of the night can be so quiet and so loud at the same time.
All I knew was that this substance would never let me down. It would always be there to help me forget my sorrows. It would not judge me and was always there to mask the pain of my trauma.
Or so I thought.
What was really happening was that it was making my symptoms worse. I was not healing. I was not getting better or even making the attempt to. I became the guy that no family member wanted to be around, and no friend wanted to hang out with. You know, the cynical guy that is consistently negative, isolates himself, lashes out, is overly aggressive, and yells a lot. Sounds awesome right? Or how about the guy that does not care if he is breathing?
What if I told you that I truly care and understand? If you are reading this, I do. What if I told you there was freedom? I can honestly tell you there is. You see, God does not want us to worship a false idol. All he wants is for you to worship him. I promise you that if you “fill the hole” with that false idol, whatever it is, it will not end well. I am living proof (more to come on that topic).
Please, first responder family, don’t make the same mistakes I made and if you are currently, there is hope! You are worth it, God bless you.