By Steven Smith – Retired Assistant Chief
So what do you do when it happens? When the worst happens, what do you do? Have you ever wondered or asked that question? I wondered, but never allowed myself to delve too deep into it. That is until the worst happened.
Now I have had a lot of bad days and bad calls that have stayed with me and they probably always will. You know the ones, the ones that never quite go away, then become a part of you, even change the way you do things, but what do you do when you are the bad call? When the call goes bad and you become the call.
My worst happened on Dec 13, 2011. I became the call for help after my partner and I were ambushed. I was down and it was bad. Multiple bullet holes, broken bones, severe blood loss. The worst happened. You might think that would be the worst day, I used to think the same thing.
Dec. 13th was terrible, but the day after marked the worst day of my life. While that night was bad, the day after was worse. It took this long to realize that. The day after is when you come to realize everything has changed. The next day you see that nothing will ever be the same. The next day you realize you will never be like you were or what you were. The next day is when the real pain begins the pain that comes from working to get better. The next day is when the struggle begins, the struggle to find yourself, because the old you is no longer there. The next day is when you learn, you have to learn new ways to do everything. The next day is when the real battle begins. While you battled to survive that night, the war to live starts the next day. The next day you realize you will do all of these things for rest of your next days.
So the question is no longer what do you do when the worst happens, it’s how do you handle these next days, because there will still be a lot. Almost 8 years later I’m still having next day moments.
Next day moments can range from something as simple as avoiding grocery store because the parking lot is crowded and you really don’t feel like dealing or managing your way through that many people, to totally avoiding something because you know it will just trigger you and ruin your day. Next day moments can be a million different things.
You just have realize that those next days do not always have to remain bad days. You have a choice. Next days can be what you make them. Next days are just that, next days. Its up to you what you do with them.
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
Published by armorupnow
Sean Riley is the Founder and President of Safe Call Now, a confidential, comprehensive, 24-hour crisis referral service for public safety employees, all emergency services personnel and their family members nationwide. Safe Call Now was started in 2009 after legislation was passed guaranteeing confidentiality nationwide for all who call the Safe Call Now crisis line that is staffed by current and former first responders.
Sean played baseball for San Diego State University and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration. He started his law enforcement career as a San Diego County Deputy Sheriff in 1987 and later relocated to Washington State in 1990. Sean spent over 16 years with the Kirkland Police Department. His many accomplishments include being a member of the International Homicide Investigator's Association, Homicide and Sexual Assault Detective, Interview and Interrogation Specialist, D.A.R.E. Officer, Gang Officer and Certified Training Officer. Riley is also credited with solving one of the first ever elder abuse homicide cases in the nation.
Sean's prominent career in law enforcement ended in 2005 when he could no longer hide his "secret" behind the badge. Sean threw away his almost 20-year stellar police career due to alcohol and drug addiction and was headed towards suicide to become just another unknown statistic. In addition to attending college for substance abuse counseling, Sean worked as a supervisor at a local treatment center where he witnessed many public safety employees coming in and out of treatment. Riley decided to do something about it. From his own experience, he knew that first responders wanted to come forward to help, but due to the stigma attached, they would not. Admitting to a substance abuse or mental health problem is perceived as a sign of weakness and could result in the termination from a noble career. By creating a safe and confidential place to reach out for help, first responders are now coming forward in droves from around the nation to better their lives, better their families and better their careers.
Recognized as a dynamic national keynote speaker, Sean travels throughout the country to share his inspirational story. Coupled with cutting edge, interactive training, Riley hits those once thought of as "taboo" or "controversial" topics head-on.
"Safe Call Now provides education, healthy alternatives, resources and a complete continuum of care to save lives and put families back together. Through a collaborative effort, Safe Call Now has discovered when you provide an opportunity for an individual to get their life and their family back, you get one great employee back out serving the public."
- Sean Riley, Founder/President
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