My Name is Susan - page 6

by suejgee

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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


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    I forgot to mention I went into recovery in 1990. It was the best thing I ever did and my bosses were very supportive of me. While I'm not sure I'd recommend going through treatment at the hospital where you work (we had an Addiction Recovery Unit on the 5th floor, I worked in ICU on the 4th floor), I survived it all. While it is a confidential program, my co-workers found out where I was. I don't think the ARU staff said anything. The Urology Unit shared the 5th floor and I'd already worked at the hospital for several years. Probably someone saw me on the unit and said something to other people. It doesn't matter how they found out and I was upset for awhile, but I came to realize that if nobody had found out, I would have had to answer questions about where I was while I was absent from work. For the most part, my co-workers were supportive. While a few derogatory comments got back to me, no one said anything like that to my face. There were a few "nosy" questions asked, but that was okay.
    I've heard some nurses say that addiction isn't a disease "because they have a choice". The Big Book of AA states, "..an alcoholic has lost all power of choice..." when it comes to drinking. Many people don't understand that.
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    Congratulations & thanks for sharing. I am an RN whose family of origin is totally formed of addicts (like so many caregivers). Both of my parents & all siblings are alcoholics. In addition, my brothers grappled w/drug addictions @ one time. I am addicted to food & it is just as severe. I am morbidly obese, diabetic, have hypertension & carotid stenosis. I've never been successful @ my many tries toward recovery. Two of my children are overeaters & one is an alcoholic. My ex (their father) is a gambler. Both of my grandfathers were alcoholics. So, I truly believe that there is a gene for addiction & we pass it on. It is obvious & still the health professions view addicts as weaklings w/no self control. You are very courageous. Keep it up & don't lose your compassion for your addicted patients. You may be the only one who understands them during their hospital stay.
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    I have not been addicted to anything major(in the conventional sense of the word) nor have I had to deal with a close person who has. However, I think I can understand and completely agree with what you say in this article. Human beings can be cruel through conscious or unconscious effort. My experience in the past was that I was such an over zealous Christian that I missed out on what is at the very essence of Christianity - love thy neighbor . Short and simple. The bible did not go further to explain what kind of person we should love, just everybody with their good, their bad and their addictions. Luckily for me, I became a believer in a church that helped me to mature enough to realize the pettiness of judgement . Now when I look back, I realize how stupid I must have looked, presenting myself as a Christian . yet in the same breath being so judgmental. Luckily for me and all those who could have been my patients God did not place me in a situation where I could excercise judgement on a patient. I know how much more sensitive patients are to the body language of healthcare workers. I pray that if one day I become a nurse, that I be one that makes a conscious effort not to judge others.
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    Congrats on your sobriety! What is in the healthcare biz are tons of earth people. I hate to say it, but some positions in the healthcare field don't require much education, so there is gossip and judgment. I would think that would be changed. Just requiring a six week class to earn a certification does not provide an adequate healthcare education. Even very educated people pick up habits of uneducated people when they are around them for hours at a time. I know people in a program that do not discuss their sobriety because of this. Also, there is so much fear over litigation, you could be seen as a liability, which is silly. I would just stop talking about it. There are things I keep to myself when working that mean the world to me, but things are twisted so much and turned into gossip that it takes less effort to keep it to myself than the energy required for damage control. The world isn't perfect, and sounds like you have a unique perspective that makes you a wonderful nurse, and hospitals do need social workers who care and are good at their job, so I wouldn't let it boiher me. We can't change the world. If the world was perfect, there wouldn't be a need for nurses. Hang in there-don't give up!
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    Congrats on your milestones in sobriety. I hope for "forever sobriety" for you. With that said I have to wonder why so many of your co-workers, etc know so much about your personal life. One of the first rules of work is to not bring information into the workplace that could potentially harm/undermine your relationships. Just as we have boundries with patients, we must have boundries with co-workers. No it does not need to be a secret, but it is work not a social event. If you are finding that much negative feedback, you are sharing too much information. You have been sober for a very long time, there is no need to dwell on the type of negativity that your admissions have produced. That is fodder for gossip amongst them and from your letter, leaves you feeling untrusting of them. They are getting too much information from you. Be proud in a group (other AA, family and personal friends) that knows your struggles. Best wishes and good luck to you.
    Last edit by freesia98 on Apr 10, '13 : Reason: misspell
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    I do agree that most of us have varying degrees of addiction. Some much worse and destructive than others. Mine is caffiene and maybe chocoloate. That said I do take issue with your reference to people having an addiction to, as you put it, "god."
    Maybe you are not a believer but to put down others in this manner is pretty classless IMO.
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    Being a recovering addict with 7 yrs sober myself, I have run into this mindset also. I educate people the best I can, but it goes in one ear and out the other. It almost seems that people don't want to know how devastating this disease can be-that as long as they don't understand it, they can continue to cast stones.
    Thank you for sharing, and continue to be happy, joyous and free.
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    BRAVO BRAVO!!!
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    Bravo Bravo!! My heart goes out to you Susan!! Again it is so sad that we as nurses can't be compassionate to each other. But for those same people who are judging I always say 'IF WALLS COULD TALK"!!.
    You have written a beautiful letter I wish all of the nursing instructors could share with their students and each nurse will examine herself when she/he read this. It may not be alcohol, drugs, but what about food, gambling, promiscuity, indecent behavior,physical abuse, verbal abuse on family members, hatred, murder, stealing the list can go on some of us will find ourselves with one or more of some label that we may not want others to know about, but God Knows. So I hope that we can learn to began to be truly compassionate to all!
    MahzieLPN likes this.
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    I will add my "congratulations, Susan" to those you've already accumulated. The judgment you have faced at work is unconscionable; how dare any other put herself/himself on a pedestal when they, too, are human? "Judge not lest though be judged. . ." I try to remember that when faced with unknown or uncomfortable situations. Undoubtedly, I have inadvertently judged as well, but the effort NOT TO is definitely in my thought process.

    Keep up the good work with your sobriety - it is SO worth it, as you already know.


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