I am hesitant to write about this, but I am hoping the message makes a difference in at least one person’s life.
In October of 2013, I was in a dark place. I did not have the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The law enforcement career I had loved for 20+ years was about to end. Due to “organizational stress,” I felt my only option was to retire early (at a significant reduction in pay). I felt bitterness, sadness (uncontrollable crying at times), isolated, a sense of failure, vengeful and hopeless. Hopeless in the sense that I had no other options than to end my life. In retrospect. I learned that I did not have the ability to see what the future held for me and that added my sense of hopelessness.
By the grace of god, I got through that rough patch with the assistance of my wife (Angie), Dr. Pres Keeton (psychologist), EMDR and yoga. What I would have missed:
- the continued love of my wife and son (I learned that my wife’s love for me was much greater than I ever imagined)
- my son’s (Colton) college graduation
- seeing my son evolve into a fine young man
- the continued love of my dad, mom and sisters
- the opportunity to fulfill God’s plan
- the opportunity to know what “peace of mind” is really like
- the opportunity to save the lives two young children
- promotion to Captain and Asst. Police Chief (the opportunity to positively influence a lot of officers / detectives)
- becoming a yoga teacher, specializing in training First Responders
- the opportunity to start Yoga911, which focuses on First Responder wellness / suicide prevention
What I learned and what I would like to pass onto other First Responders:
When asked how he was able to survive 8 years as a Viet Nam POW, Admiral James Stockdale stated: 1). “You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties AND at the same time…you must confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” 2). “I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”
- I was unable to retain faith that I would prevail. Please know that YOU will!
- At the time, I did not have the ability to see that “my experience” would be a defining moment in my life, but I do now! Please know that “your experience” will make you a better, stronger and more driven to make a difference in at least one other person’s life!
I pray that you will continue to see the light at the end of the tunnel!