By Sean Riley – President & Founder Safe Call Now
Overall, first responders are a profession of enablers. Always have been, always will be. It is something that is learned and reinforced at the basic academies in all the professions. Our relationship with the general public is dysfunctional, codependent and enabling. That we can’t change right now but we can change how we interact and treat those within the profession when they need help.
Let me explain… I had the opportunity to place an officer into treatment recently, his family contacted me and he was in real trouble in regards to PTSD and substance abuse. Here’s a rule of thumb to remember, if I show up at your front door with your family, things probably aren’t going very well for you in life. I knocked on the door, the officer answered and saw me (I had met him before), his head went down and he asked me how much time he had to pack before he had to leave (it was an easy one and I didn’t have to say a word). I told him that his flight left in 5 hours.
I had the opportunity to sit with him and his entire family and it soon became very apparent that his significant other needed treatment for both substance abuse and mental health issues too. I will not describe the residence but it also became apparent that just about everything we supply services for at Safe Call Now was going to be taxed. Nothing was off the table… food, clothing, finances, marriage counseling, transportation, child care, you name it and it was present in this situation. Treatment was also set up and offered to the significant other which was not received very well at all.
One thing I do know is that when I show up at your house unannounced and turn your world upside down and remove a cog from a dysfunctional, codependent enabling situation, people are going to be mad and mad at me. I get it, it’s the way it works. When Safe Call Now holds a strong boundary with a comprehensive plan to provide assistance for the entire family, we will not waiver from our plan and will not allow those in crisis to negotiate the terms of their treatment.
Needless to say, this didn’t go over very well either. In this situation we were immediately able to stabilize the food, transportation, finances, child care, etc… The officer was removed and transported out of state for treatment and hopefully things would settle down. Again this did not happen, you “gotta” love addiction, and it’s amazing how it works. The other half of this equation and their issues roared its ugly head. We continued to hold our boundaries and stick to our plan for long term health and wellness for the entire family and the significant other was not happy about this, I get it. When the addict/mental health individual is in crisis and don’t get the answers that they want to hear or get their way, they are going to search out those that will provide them the answers they want to hear they then will search out the weakest link in the chain to get what they want or their way.
What’s surprising in this case is that around 30 different people and entities (I counted them) were brought in to contact us and we were the only entity to hold its boundaries and stick with the plan (other than the department). The labor representatives contacted me and interjected themselves into the situation with only information from one party without verification of any facts (and of course we weren’t supplying any information for anyone in this situation). Labor (and I was a Union President) thought they were stepping in to protect their own and help out a family but in reality they enabled the situation to quickly grow out of hand to the point where restraining orders were wanting to be served against Safe Call Now and other entities to avoid any treatment, intervention or appropriate services.
Our attorneys were consulted and Safe Call Now was taking the appropriate measures guided by the best medical and clinical practices available in America. Even though the family cogs are in total dysfunction the biggest enabler ended up being the officers themselves to allow the addict behavior to continue. In their defense they really thought they were doing the right thing. I had the opportunity to sit down with the officers and explain Safe Call Now and the processes we use and why we use them. They really understood and now they are heading in the right direction and taking a support role only waiting for direction from us.
The officer is now doing great, back on the job, family is back together and long term care for all is in place to set them up for success. What is really important here is there will always be questions as to why we do things the way we do. We have plans for a reason, they are proven, they have the highest success rates in the world and they follow the model which supplies the highest level of care. In reality, remember in the middle of chaos people aren’t going to understand our methods, they’re not supposed to, if they did they wouldn’t need us and they could figure it out for themselves. I learned from a wise old man and I stick to this and I don’t always like it… Trust the Process!!! Stay safe out there and hold your boundaries, it’s going to save a life!!!
If you, someone you love or someone you know needs help, call:
Safe Call Now: 24 Hour Confidential Hotline: 206-459-3020
For more information on the First Responders program: Click here
Or call Shannon Clairemont at 661-466-6352 or Vanessa Stapleton at 304-651-3008