Ordinary people run away from danger. First Responders are the select group who run towards it. No one understands them like they understand each other. There's an unspoken language between them that the outside world just cannot understand. That language, that bond, can be the critical factor in healing and recovery.
At First Responders First, in the kitchen, on the courtyard, a resident will start talking about a call they were on. Everyone listens. No one wants to bring this home to their spouses. For the first time, they can tell their story. More than not, they have no one to talk to. That's why Peer Support is so helpful. That Peer Support feeling comes into FRF. The feeling of safety to open up and talk and share. To let all of that rooted anger, depression, whatever, come up and out. We want to pull it up by the root. What's causing you to drink? What's causing PTSD? What's triggering you?
The setting we've developed helps that. People get relaxed, the conversations fly. People feel like "i can talk about this for the first time". If you had a friend, if you go through something tough, what happens? You get closer. When people go through the ranch, you build strong relationships. Families become friends. They've been through a vulnerable, difficult time together. When they leave, they're stronger together.
Care got a call: a graduate slipped up and had a drink. Three other graduates had his six. "Let's go for a nature walk." They got him out. It becomes part of their support system.
One of the biggest parts: it's *all* first responders. That rivalry bw cops and firefighters? That rivalry goes away. All FRs are tied together by this thread: why they do what they're doing. Listening to these guys: they don't trust anything. But that melts away as they're at the center. Trust develops. That's important: why didn't they get help when they first noticed something wrong? They didn't trust. But here, why that trust and confidentiality this program nurtures that and sets the stage for it to happen.
Residents come in at the lowest point of their life. You may feel like you've ruined everything. But you're a hero. You may have lost respect, family, members, jobs. But you're a hero. It's not because you made a bad choice. It's not because you did something wrong. It's because you'er here for us. You save society. And you pay the price. Your family pays the price. Human beings aren't built to see horrible things over and over again, but that's what society asks First Responders to do.
First Responders are fixers—they fix things that're wrong. But they usually think of themselves last. We're here to help.