The Problems with Cops Kids

We have all heard the stories about other cops kids getting into trouble but it’s NEVER our kids is it?  Those of us from law enforcement families know that sometimes it’s the kids of police officers that suffer because of our careers too.

Well this time it was my kid, an adult child, who I thought was past all that until he checked himself into a drug and alcohol treatment center for 30 days and my eyes were opened up.

What is it about some cops?  Are we too lenient in not wanting to play cop at home and police our own kids?  Or is it that we are too strict at home and… we spend too much time acting like we do at work with our own kids?

If there was a mistake to be made I think I made them all.  However, the best thing about my son getting treatment for his problem was that I got exposed to some treatment that would help me.  I had always heard about AA and the twelve steps and in fact I had lectured many a DUI driver about the need to get help and the success rate of AA but now I had to hear it for myself and had to live it too.

The treatment center recommended Al-Anon for family members and the said that them important piece was for us to take care of ourselves first BEFORE we tried to help our loved one get sober.  Wow, I have always joked about the old airline speech about “put on your oxygen mask first before you help someone else” and now that lesson was starring me in the face.  The Al-Anon motto is “To help them you have to help yourself first”.  That could be a good lesson for most cops trying to help other cops too!

I’m just beginning my journey into Al-Anon but I’ve already found at least one other cop family and I’m sure there are more of us.  I’m writing this not so much for myself but for you.  Whether or not it’s alcohol or drugs maybe there’s some problem in your life that you are not addressing.  Maybe you could use a good dose of reality.  Believe it or not we are not superhuman, maybe that’s the point, maybe we are just super “human”!

Just know that whatever is going on with you, there are lot’s of other cops out there with the same or similar problems and all you have to do is ask and you’ll find them.  We have to look out for each other and we have to take care of our own no matter what the problem.  Cops helping other cops is what founded CopsAlive and it took a lesson at home to remind me of that.

In case you or someone in your family could use some help here are Twelve Steps that might help you.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Here are a couple of resources that you can use to find out more.

Visit Al-Anon at

Learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous at

Good luck and Stay Safe from!

About Editor

John Marx was a Police Officer for twenty-three years and served as a Hostage Negotiator for nineteen of those years. He worked as a patrol officer, media liaison officer, crime prevention officer and burglary detective. Also during his career he served as administrator of his city's Community Oriented Governance initiative through the police department's Community Policing project. Today John combines his skills to consult with businesses about improving both their security and their customer service programs. John retired from law enforcement in 2002. When one of his friends, also a former police officer, committed suicide at age 38, John was devastated and began researching the problems that stress creates for police officers. He decided he needed to do something to help change those problems and he wanted to give something back to the profession that gave him so much. He started a project that has evolved into Put simply, the mission of CopsAlive is to save the lives of those who save lives! gathers information, strategies and tools to help law enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
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