Safe Call Now

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Alcoholic #1stresponder

By Safe Call Now President & Founder Sean Riley

A dear friend of mine always says and he’s right, “We treat our cars better than we treat our first responders in addiction who are going to die”.   When the red light comes on in our vehicles we immediately take the vehicle into the mechanic and have it assessed, evaluated and fixed.  When we’re dealing with the alcoholic or addicted first responder, the red lights come on and as a profession we will enable them to protect our partners (blind loyalty), try to fix the problems ourselves (which only a professional can do) or cast them aside and throw them away as if it is someone else’s problem (the easy way out).  The diseases of addiction and mental health when combined are two of the deadliest diseases known to mankind, yet they are the only two diseases that we allow the first responder who’s brain is incapable of making logical decisions dictate the terms of treatment.  Maybe for fear of not offending them, ending their career, who knows there are many other reasons usually associated with “The Thin Blue, Red, Green Line”.   

Ultimately I have determined that the main cause is that “It’s always been done this way in the past”.  This is why Safe Call Now exists, an organization that is willing to change the culture and thinking of an entire profession that experiences these diseases at twice the rate of the general population according to some studies and some say even higher.  Who knows?  I just know first responders are dying from it.

I want to educate you about the alcoholic and addict mind and what the first responder may be thinking and doing when they are in this situation.  I am familiar with this because I was “That guy”.  The guy who would lie to your face, smile, tell you everything is alright, convince you that everyone else is crazy, function within the work environment, control the situations, create drama within others to direct the attention away from me and convince you that I was right.  Fortunately or unfortunately I do not think like you.  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

#1stresponders... You're only worth .59 cents!!!

By Safe Call Now President & Founder Sean Riley
I've been struggling with this for a few days. #1stresponders... I found out you're worth only .59 cents, a price was finally put on your value as a human being. Let me explain. I recently was keynoting in a state that I knew had very poor access for behavioral health and substance abuse treatment benefits for their #1stresponders. I've struggled with this state for 4 years. What I didn't realize is the people who control those benefits finally put a price on your health and wellness... and it's .59 cents!!! I knew it was bad but I underestimated how bad it was!!!

The #1stresponders in this state also know that they have very poor benefits for their own health and wellness with those issues that impact their lives such as PTSD. In the other 49 states the #1stresponders for the most part have pretty good coverage. As I was listening to those in charge of the insurance premiums and people responsible for providing quality benefit services, it was brought to their attention that their level of benefits provided was beyond substandard for the #1stresponders in regards to behavioral health and substance abuse.

The response (wait for it)... "Yeah, but we saved .59 cents last year per employee on our insurance premiums, our premiums actually went down" Are you f%*king kidding me??? Did I forget to mention the number of #1stresponders that committed suicide in this state last year???  I have never been more appalled in my life.

I challenged those in charge and asked them if they hold #1stresponders to a higher standard.  They all responded in the affirmative rather quickly.  I then asked them why their healthcare benefits shouldn't also be held to a higher standard?  There was no reply, just a look of bewilderment. 

We will continue to go into this state and advocate for better benefits for those #1stresponders. What they don't realize is that the other 49 states are coming in with us because you're all worth more than .59 cents!!! 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Rounding Third In One Shoe...

"Hi, my name is Julie and I'm an Alcoholic"

All I could hear was “swing for the fence Wimmer” and “knock it out of the park”, over and over and over. So I did. This was my mantra in life. Go hard. Go fast. Keep a strong work ethic, stay physically fit and always help others before you help yourself. Do good. Be good. Always. I had no boundaries in life and alcohol was no exception. Drink hard. Drink fast. And for God’s sake, don’t let anyone catch on. After all, I had a solid reputation to uphold. I can’t tell you how many times I have been referred to as strong and fearless. To me, this is called Guilt, Shame, Anxiety and Fear. 

Guilt and too many other emotions to list for not being there when my six-week old daughter died from SIDS. Shame when my Dad died at the age of 54 from alcoholism and so much shame and guilt turned inward and pushed to the bottom of my soul when my brother Jeff, passed away in August of 2013. He was instrumental in saving my life back in 2008, why couldn’t I have done the same?! We were literally hours away from intervening when my Mom called and delivered the shocking news. Jeff was gone. I have packed these emotions around on my shoulders for years just waiting for that next traumatic shoe to drop. 

Anxiety and Fear can manifest itself in many different ways. I get anxiety and fear when I don’t feel smart enough, pretty enough, young enough. I get it when I’ve agreed to do too much at work or if I don’t push myself to exercise every day. If I am judged, whether negatively or positively. If I have to meet new colleagues or friends of friends. This big dog creeps in and takes over my entire psyche with the blink of an eye. 

Like many of you, I suffer with chronic depression and have done so most of my adult life. It’s a cruel punishment. It’s the slow erosion of self. It is essentially a solitary experience; a room in hell with only your name on the door. Somehow, I’ve managed to “cope” or “mask” my chronic depression through exercise and sports despite multiple relapses over the past nine years, but for scores of us, it can be debilitating.