I, too, am a recovering alcoholic with 14 years and 10 months' sobriety under my belt. I can't count the number of 'dry drunks' I've had over the years, during which I did everything wrong EXCEPT take a drink, so believe me, I can understand what makes people fall off the wagon after years of staying sober. The trick is analyzing what caused the fall, and learning how to avoid similar circumstances in the future.
As you stated yourself, rigorous honesty is the only way to make things right, and it starts with being honest with ourselves
first of all. We understand that the poor choices we made in the past may have some bearing on our future, and knowing that we may have to pay a price for those choices, we still choose to tell the truth.
Years ago, when I was in pre-nursing classes, I attended a weekend seminar on my college's nursing program that was headed by the program director; at that time I'd been sober for only a couple of years, and I was terrified that my problem would prevent me from pursuing my dream of a nursing career. But I had to know........there was no sense in spending thousands of dollars and wasting four years of my life if I was going to be denied licensure because of my alcoholism. So I went right up to the program director, looked her in the eye, and asked her if my history would be a factor in my pursuit of a nursing career.
"How long since you stopped drinking?" she asked with great interest.
"A little over two years", I said.
"And do you think it will be a problem for you in the future?"
"No.......but if it even looks like it might be, I know to get help."
"Then if it's not a problem for you, it won't be a problem for us---OR the Board of Nursing," said the director, shaking my hand and smiling.
That lady turned out to be my biggest supporter during not only my years in the program, but throughout my career thus far, and even today she is one of my best friends. I knew I was taking a calculated risk by opening up to her---after all, she was the one who decided who did and who did NOT get into the nursing program---but honesty was, indeed, the best policy, and I have never had a single problem with my BON or any place I've ever been employed in regards to my past.
I wish you all the best in your return to sobriety as well as your pursuit of a career in nursing. Work your program, be honest, and do what you know needs to be done.........remember, you succeeded
in remaining sober for many years, and you can do it again.