My Name is Susan - page 3

by suejgee | 17,658 Views | 70 Comments

My name is Susan, and Iím an alcoholic. Iím also a registered nurse, hold a bachelorís degree in Human Services, and a Masters in Human Service Administration. I have diabetes, a cirrhotic liver, and havenít had a drink in... Read More


  1. 5
    Thanks for your truth and your practice both. When a beloved family member of mine did exactly what another sneering post in this thread recommends--"attempt to get help"--he got almost none. He went to his doctor who admitted him, with exactly zero orders, to the local hospital for detox. (CIWA has since been implemented at this hospital.)

    He had several nurses of varying helpfulness. Most did not speak to him about his alcoholism at all. One aggressively recommended an expensive in-patient treatment center for which my friend had no insurance, no financial resources to cover. She assured him that he would fail otherwise.

    And one night nurse, whose memory I treasure, treated him with respect, and called the doctor to advocate for medication orders, finally allowing my loved one a few hours tormented sleep. The single discharge intervention from social work? A woman who sailed into the room, gave my family member a mimeographed list of phone numbers, and sailed right back out again. Did not sit down for a moment. Later, I helped my family member dial the numbers to find post-detox help. Half the numbers were no longer correct or connected.

    This is the kind of "help" available to many people who, in the depths of their disease and despair, seek a cure. And to those of you judging them and others: let's be a little less glib about assuming that effective treatment is a phone call away. Alcoholism is deadly, destructive, and resistant to treatment. There ought to be a wealth of treatment options. There are almost none.

    My family member, a lifelong high achiever, managed to succeed, as Susan, the OP, did. My thanks and respect to both of you, and my gratitude for this very welcome article.

    Dina
  2. 4
    My daughter is now 9 months sober. She is one of the smartest people I know, so there has to be more to addiction than being dumb. You are right. No one has the right to judge. I get really peeved at nurses and MD's who label people and base treatment on that label (frequent flyer, user, etc). Keep preaching sister!
    nursel56, anotherone, tewdles, and 1 other like this.
  3. 1
    @salvadordolly,

    Interestingly, I am the oldest child of an alcoholic dad. I know that I haven't resolved my feelings and how it actively impacts me even today. I've dabbled in al-anon and believe that it- or something like it- is key for those like me. Finding the "right fit" as each meeting has it's own personalities/strengths & weaknesses/range of health and dysfunction, is so difficult.

    I applaud Susan for her sobriety. I see how hard it has been for my family members who have gotten sober. It isn't for the faint of heart.
    FMF Corpsman likes this.
  4. 0
    Thank you for sharing your story, and I TOTALLY agree with everything you said!
    I have seen something similar recently where I work---staff not caring or saying
    they have NO sympathy for a patient who is suffering *medical* issues terribly
    as a RESULT of her psychiatric issues.......!

    I want to say "reallllly?? You have
    absolutely NO empathy or compassion for her because of her self-harm? Really?
    I always want to tell those co-workers they need to get OUT of this field if that's how
    they feel .....ugh!!!
  5. 4
    Quote from missej2002
    Love the article, but I have encountered numerous addicts. I do not feel sorry for them, and at times I do judge them, the addicts that won't buy their seizure medication, or Tylenol for their child's fever because they can't afford it, but they smoke two packs of cigarette a day, just bought junk food from the vending machine, brought their pain medication, or they drink daily. They are on dialysis, have DM, do not control their glucose still smoking and does not know why their wound will not heal or why they are losing another toe. I am not sorry for feeling this way, we can not enable addicts, I am not here to baby them, addicts need to stop feeling sorry for themselves, attempt to get help, and stop blaming others. We all have choices, that we make, we are not perfect, but when we make the worry choices, we have to face it, fix it and move on. I have many addicts in my family, drunks, smokes, drugs, comfort eaters, etc. The ones I feel sorry for is their family-their parents their children the spouse, and etc.
    And just as you feel sorry for the family of addicts because the addict cannot see past their own problems in order to be there for their family, I in turn feel sorry for your patients who are addicts, because you cannot see past your own feelings in order to be there for your patients.

    Those who have experience with addicts, such as family members like yourself, are usually the least open to understanding the disease of addiction. I too have had family members with many levels of addiction problems, and have suffered with issues myself. As time has gone by I have experienced some of the same issues my family members have and a light comes on in my head and I think to myself "well no wonder they responded the way they did". That is not making excuses, that is understanding the causes, and we can't move forward if we don't understand the causes of our problems. No one can move on without support, no one. Yes, in the end, it is up to the individual to change, but everyone needs to feel understood, accepted for who they are in despite of their weaknesses. Supporting someone is not babying them, that is just what people who cannot open themselves up to understanding and supporting someone call it.
    FMF Corpsman, tewdles, jadelpn, and 1 other like this.
  6. 3
    If I was a drug addict I would hesitate to tell medical providers. So many times ai have seen serious conditions be blown off as someone being a "drug seeker." That seems to be the go to diagnosis for a few drs and nurses no matter what.
    FMF Corpsman, tewdles, and SuzieVN like this.
  7. 1
    Dear Susan,

    I am a recovering from anorexia and bulimia....I haven't "acted on" my addiction to food in a good while now, but the personality traits and thoughts i need to consciously push out of my mind that come with addiction are still present.

    I have a lot of thoughts regarding addiction, some widely accepted and some say a bit harsh. nonetheless, you are right in the fact that we don't call someone who comes to the hospital for a hypertensive crisis 'a crazy b****" when for all we know. they are coming in for all the same lazy, stupid, poor, needy, noncompliant reasons a person with addiction is in for.

    a big moment in my recovery was being able to distinguish my eating disorder from ME, snb1014. there is a person underneath the addiction, however broken....much like a dislocated and fractured arm, needs support and professional help.

    ps, i find it helpful to not say "bulimic" /"anorexic', "alcoholic", because it sounds more like a personality trait and makes the disease WHO they are identified with/as, opposed to something this person is dealing WITH. :-)

    best luck on continued addiction advocacy and sobriety :-)
    tewdles likes this.
  8. 2
    I work in mental health and I'm disgusted by some of the things I hear my fellow nurses say. "Pill seeker" is a common phrase they'll use towards ANYBODY on narcotics, even people who have a very legit reason like a fresh post-op if they have a history of abuse. I know that people have really strong feelings about addicts, but really....get a different job if you feel that strongly because you're in the wrong place!!!! I thought I would work in mental health forever, but I'm already feeling the burn out coming on, and sadly...it isn't because of the patients. It's because of the staff and their horrible attitudes.
    anotherone and FMF Corpsman like this.
  9. 0
    Quote from Ntheboat2
    I work in mental health and I'm disgusted by some of the things I hear my fellow nurses say. "Pill seeker" is a common phrase they'll use towards ANYBODY on narcotics, even people who have a very legit reason like a fresh post-op if they have a history of abuse. I know that people have really strong feelings about addicts, but really....get a different job if you feel that strongly because you're in the wrong place!!!! I thought I would work in mental health forever, but I'm already feeling the burn out coming on, and sadly...it isn't because of the patients. It's because of the staff and their horrible attitudes.

    Often times because the staff, themselves are seeking the pills the patients seek, and are peeved that the patient can get them, and they cannot.
  10. 0
    Quote from classicdame
    My daughter is now 9 months sober. She is one of the smartest people I know, so there has to be more to addiction than being dumb. You are right. No one has the right to judge. I get really peeved at nurses and MD's who label people and base treatment on that label (frequent flyer, user, etc). Keep preaching sister!

    Over the years I've heard various, but similar stats: Up to 50% of all doctors and dentists are impaired at any given time by alcohol or other drugs.


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