My Name is Susan - page 7

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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    Thank you for sharing Susan. I have been in recovery from drugs since my life came crashing to a halt a few years ago. My disease led me to getting fired, having my car stolen, waking up while walking down the middle of a busy road, losing my apartment, losing all of my friends, and a cascade of different tragedies. None of these were "the bottom" for me. No one could tell me that I had to get clean because my disease tells me that I do not have a problem and am not worth trying to fix any problem I might have. I am truly blessed to have had a higher power watching out for me all of that time. Otherwise, I would not be here. There is simply no other explanation as to why I am still alive. However, I know that I was dead in every way possible, except physically for every reason. I've learned that there are a lot of kinds of death, mental, spiritual, and emotional, and I experienced all of those with only one to go.

    I currently work as a nurse and am truly grateful to do so. I hear a lot of insensitivity from co-workers towards people just like me. I know that it is just a defense mechanism that some people must use to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue. I work with those who suffer from addiction as patients and I think that sometimes it is even harder for me than for people who do not have the disease. It is hard for all of us because it is like watching a car about to crash where you keep trying to call the driver but they do not want to answer the phone.

    The way I deal with insensitive co-workers in any regard is to buck the stereotypes and, no matter what they say about whatever form addictions takes (food, cigarettes, relationships, drugs (including alcohol), shopping), I just say, "It is a disease" or something similar. I do not talk about my disease in detail with those I work with in general as it blurs a line for me.

    One of the most awful and beautiful experiences I have ever had was when one of my patients died from an overdose of one of my "drugs of choice." She was about the same build as me, same hair color, same eye color. It was like reading my own autopsy if I choose to let me disease win again. I cried and then realized how grateful I was/am to be alive.

    Here's the kicker. I am now amazingly grateful to suffer from the disease of addiction. Other diseases are treated with pills, blood tests, surgery, injections, etc. MY disease is treated with friends, and meetings (with my friends), traveling to new meetings (to meet new friends), going to conventions about recovery (all over the world), working on internal peace (through the 12 steps, which is a service that many life coaches actually charge people for), prayer, meditation, and crazy fun things like rafting, dancing, skydiving, jumping off cliffs, kayaking, riding rides at the fair, camping in Michigan in September (brrrr), and the list goes on.

    If any of you have questions or comments/criticisms on my journey, I would be more than happy to share my experience, strength, and hope to carry the message. I know there are more nurses just like me out there, but I also know how hard it is to get honest in this field because of EXACTLY what the author said.

    That is my 2 (or 4) cents. Much love and thanks for the chance to share!
    AtlantaCPR and nursel56 like this.
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    WOW so true. If we all could understand this article the world would be a better place.
    nursel56 likes this.
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    If this comment was addressed to me, the author, I didn't say anything about God. If you weren't referring directly to the article, my apologies.
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    The negativity has not been directed toward me, freesia, but toward the patients. I'm well aware that work is not a social event, and I am quite proud of my recovery. I share my struggle with people who have a negative attitude towards addicted individuals so that perhaps they can recognize a little caring and consideration can go a long way in assisting a patient on a road to recovery, rather than making them feel more worthless than they already do. My article was in no way a "pity party" for myself, it's about raising awareness in terms of the profound effect attitude and words can have on the people we're charged with taking care of.
    nursel56 likes this.
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    Glad to see you're out there and doing well. There are far more of us than people really want to know about.
    AtlantaCPR and nursel56 like this.
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    Thank you for sharing that heartfelt story. I used to be one of those nurses who looked down on people with addictions. I tried and tried to understand them but just couldn't get it through my head why they couldn't stop. I guess with age comes wisdom. Thankfully I no longer feel that way. Recently though a coworker was fired for substance abuse (dilaudid) and for months I suspected she had relapsed and it took me so long to get up the nerve to talk to her that I was too late and she was turned in by another nurse. I blame myself for not reaching out to her sooner to help.
    nursel56 likes this.
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    Don't blame yourself. We who are addicted have to own the responsibility of recovery. Perhaps your reaching out to her may have helped, but she may not have been in a place to be able to accept your concern. This may be what she needed in order to put her recovery back together. The best thing you can do for her now is to support and not judge. I promise you she'll be grateful for that.
    AtlantaCPR, MahzieLPN, and nursel56 like this.
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    My experience with addicts is that most of them have no desire to get clean. They get their disability check 1st of the month along with their scripts for klonopin and Xanax then blow all the money and pills in a few days then go to the ER saying they are suicidal so they can come to the psych hospital and get more klonopin and Xanax and sub ozone and anything else they can get their hands on. It's like a revolving door. How can you begin to help someone who doesn't want to help themselves and blames everyone else for their situation?
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    To the person who reached out to me, I'm not ignoring you, just can't post privately on this site. My advice would be to seek some professional assistance in dealing with the problem, so as to get that completely under control first. Then revamp your resume, take a good, solid inventory of what it is you really want to do in nursing, and move on from there. And remember, recovery = freedom. You can achieve whatever you want to achieve, it may be rough at times, but it's not impossible. I wish you all the best of luck with this!

    suejgee
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    Not judging is the first step toward helping. I understand the frustration, I've been in the same professional boat you describe. But kindness doesn't go unnoticed. You won't be able to help everyone, to be sure, and, you're right, many people don't want to recover. But you never know who may respond to your non-judgmental attitude in a positive way. If one person can be spared putting themselves through hell, then your kindness is well worth the time you spend.
    MickyB-RN, MahzieLPN, and nursel56 like this.


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