When don't you see alcohol at a police function? I think it is safe to say that we are never near a shortage of alcohol. It is also understandable then to understand why alcoholism is at a higher rate among law enforcement officers than other jobs.
Everyone has their ups and downs. It is normal and it is natural. Then add in the pressures of law enforcement. Officers not only have to cope with the day to day stress of life in general, they now have to see some of the worst behavior that humanity has to offer, the horrible things that people inflict on one another and still acknowledge that they were sworn to serve and protect these people. Officers can be scrutinized by their peers, supervisors and the media for every move they make. We, as law enforcement live in the gray. We are to constantly choose between the letter of the Law and the spirit of the Law.
The career of a Police Officer plays a unique role in society. They willingly choose to expose themselves to danger on a daily basis and potentially be confronted with life-threatening situations. The need to balance contradictory roles such as following instruction of the job vs controlling an offender, all while maintaining a level of professionalism. This can affect an individual over time. When they say it takes a specific person to work in law enforcement they are not kidding.
Starting out fresh in the police academy the stress is already settling in and they are warned that booze is one of the reasons officers lose their jobs. Still though, we find ourselves going to after shift events and drinking sociably. Knowing the effects that drinking can bring, alcohol is widely accepted and expected in law enforcement. Unfortunately, in some cases, if you are not drinking with the team you can be viewed as an outsider.
Many turn to alcohol as a means to cope with the challenges of the job, while others choose to drink for the comradery or to fit in. However, the rate of police suicides and domestic violence has continued to rise in our law enforcement family and a lot of these cases are alcohol related.
Alcohol affects the entire body. One sip will be present in your body for about 2 hours, it enters in to your blood stream and it filters in to your organs. The hardest hit, is your liver. Here is a little breakdown just to give you a little idea of how alcohol can do to you in case you didn't know!
- Storing memories, controlling movements, thinking clearly (such as those beer goggles that always seem to magically appear)
- Alters your neurotransmitters: mood, perception, behavior (you know....that liquid courage!)
- Broken blood vessels, red eyes, and skin
- Water retention
- Hinders your ability to bounce back after a long night of drinking and build new muscle (Your physical fitness will suffer)
- It affects your hormonal and inflammatory responses making it difficult for your body to repair damage
- Two drinks daily can boost irregular heartbeats by 17%
- Having an irregular heartbeat then approx. quadruples your risk of having a stroke and triples your risk of heart failure… (add into that if you already have poor diet, lack of exercise.)
- 5+ drinks in one night will add to weight gain, goes to your gut and can cause harmful toxins and bacteria to leak from your digestive system into your bloodstream
6. Guys. Your man hood (I know this is a sensitive topic but we are going there!)
- E.D. problems
- A weakened libido
- It impairs your little swimmers, and decreases the number of swimmers. (I know that although one cup of wine might set the mood, BUT way too many drinks the mood might then flop…no pun intended!)
The above mentioned is just a little of what some of the side effects can be not to mention the typical weight gain with excessive drinking. Just one to two drinks will take at least 30 minutes to burn off, and let's be real, most are not going to stop at two during a social event and that is not including snacking, appetizers, the main course, and always my downfall, desert!
The point of this article is not to knock the once in a while casual drink but to just be aware of what is happening to your body if you do decide to indulge here and there. Be conscious of the decisions you are making and the setbacks that might occur after. If you want to make gains in your fitness journey, you cannot continue to drink heavily. The two do not go hand in hand. Although law enforcement can be wearing and tearing on you, there are other ways to cope. Such as, yes, exercise, being outdoors or finding other common interests with others outside of law enforcement or with your co-workers. It doesn't always have to be centered around overindulging in alcohol.
Are you trying to get a law enforcement job?
Every law enforcement agency that I know of requires you pass a police physical fitness qualification test, also known as a police physical ability test before you even begin processing to become a police officer, deputy sheriff, or state trooper. Law enforcement fitness is a big part of surviving not only the streets but your career.
Check out my page to learn more how I can help you prepare for the police academy physical fitness program. If you are already in the profession, I can help you lose those unwanted pounds and make you feel better about yourself, your career, and your life!