Sometimes it’s the characters that need to be watched Fire departments are full of characters; it takes different personality traits to put an effective fire force together. Engine company firefighters like to go in, be confined, feel the heat and get dirty. Your ladder company consists of firefighters who like to break things, climb ladders, break things and then break more things. And get dirty. Oh, they like going into burning buildings too, but usually with axes and poles rather than those cumbersome lines full of charged water. An EMS division is full of people people; the ones who can sell ice cubes to Eskimos. They possess the gift of gab, and use those skills to find out what is wrong with their patients, and how best to help them.
Firefighters pride themselves on the closeness of the group, but truth be told, when it comes to confronting somebody we think might be having problems with drugs and or alcohol, we are no better than anybody else.
It is uncomfortable, and easy to ignore, often until it is too late.
Our society glorifies the drug culture. It’s socially acceptable to be part of the party, and even better to be the life of the party. Most people are able to participate in the party safely. Many cannot, and many more choose to withdraw completely from the party so that they can drink and use other substances the way they want to without exposure to the group.
When I struggled with my own demons nobody knew. They may have suspected, but even those closest to me were unaware of the depth of my problem. My secret was suffocating, and keeping it was killing me just as effectively as the substances that I introduced into my system in obscene amounts were. Had somebody confronted me, I would have acted annoyed, and deflected any questions masterfully. But those questions would have stayed with me, and nagged me, and opened me to thinking that maybe my secret wasn’t so secret after all.
If you suspect that a friend, coworker or family member is in trouble, don’t hesitate to open some constructive dialogue with them.
Getting them to think that another human being actually is concerned opens them to possibility of confronting their problem, and maybe, just maybe getting rid of it.