Abstaining from alcohol-reluctantly admitting it might be beneficial?

  1. Ok, really one of the HARDEST PARTS for me about monitoring is abstaining from alcohol. I don't crave it so much as miss it. And it's not even the actual drinking, it's the experiences that surround alcohol in every day life. Going out with friends. Enjoying a glass of wine with dinner. Trying a new brew at a pub, it's not the brew, it's the "new" and the "pub" that make it fun. And ok, sometimes it is the actual drinking, that hilarious buzz you feel at a party. I never really got drunk, I had way too much of that it my college days, and it's just not fun for me. But I did enjoy a buzz once in awhile. As I've mentioned before, the restriction on alcohol increases my feeling that monitoring is controlling my life in so many ways that it's one of the main things I resent. I've postponed trips I want to take because of it. I've become quite a recluse because all the social gatherings I am invited to involve alcohol. It's not that I worry I'll slip up and drink when I'm around it, I don't really crave it, it's the feeling of being left out, and being controlled. And the hiding. None of my friends know I was fired, they think I just changed jobs. They don't notice I'm not drinking, at least at the very very few parties I've attended. Just goes to show people really aren't that interested in you!

    If alcohol was not restricted, I think I'd be waaaayyyy less worried about false positives. Seems like accidental exposure to alcohol from hand sanitizer, mouth wash, vanilla extract etc is a big stressor that could be avoided. I'd feel much less confined, controlled and restricted. BUT, here's the thing. Alcohol was not my DOC, I was fired for diverting narcotics. However, given the stress of being caught and fired, the IOP, the contract restrictions, the humiliation of having to admit to monitoring for all those disastrous job interviews, etc....I truly think I'd have turned to alcohol a lot more as a crutch or a consolation or something.

    As much as I hate to admit any part of their rhetoric is valid, I do think that taking away my preferred substance of addiction, I'd have turned to another. Heck, look at all the people that smoke outside the AA meetings! I even started smoking again right after I got into monitoring (have quit again though). That's just people turning to another addictive substance.

    Thoughts?
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   catsmeow1972
    Despite the fact that I do not fall under the addiction label (if there is such a thing) this is part of what tells me that these programs are a whole lot of bunk. If a person chooses recovery and finds that 12 step stuff helps them in that effort, great, more power to them. Forcing it onto a person and adding in the terror of tripping up where you would least expect to, to me has nothing to do with real recovery.
    It just seems so crazy. I stated in another post that drugs and alcohol don't have the corner on the addiction market. One can sit in an AA meeting and then go outside and light up a cigarette because nicotine is an acceptable addictive "mood altering substance."
  4. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    I agree with Recovering!!! I miss my life before monitoring to include the occasional drink with friends or a cocktail while watching the game. As far as weather I'm better off without alcohol that remains an open question. I've lost some weight and I'm certainly healthier. I'd like to say I have a couple more bucks in my pocket but the costs of this program far, far outstrip any saving I may have gained from socializing and imbibing. One benefit of this program is that I will never again under any circumstances put myself in a position of getting a DUI. I've been through the court system and what society thinks is fair punishment for this crime & what these monitoring programs think is fair bear no resemblance to each other. However, the criminal system would have worked as designed with me the embarrassment, stress and costs would have kept me from drinking and driving. What I really miss is having control over my life. Ultimately I think that's what separates these coercive programs from anything the looks like real recovery. The vast majority people I meet in these programs are just doing what they need to do to in order to keep their career which they have strove a lifetime to attain. We go through a lot to become a Nurse. Once we are one in order to progress we go through more. The idea that these programs are consensual is asinine. A guy hands over his wallet after being told "your money or your life" is not consenting to anything he is just picking the lesser of two evils. I think most of us inherently know this and resent the fact that a stranger who could care less about us have so much control over our lives and are driven to doing pointless things in the name of "treatment". The inpatient rehab I was in told us straight up that maybe 10% of us would be sober in 6 months. In my out patient experience most people got high while in treatment and the weekly "support group meeting" is pointless almost beyond belief. So far as the 12 step experience. I think it would be very helpful to anybody who was a believer and choose to be there. Many people there are wonderful (some not-so-much). In fact I attended these meetings on my own right after my DUI and found some fellowship and guidance there. However, once it became mandatory that I attend it was just something else I was sentenced to. I think in many ways my attendance at these meetings are a slap in the face to people who attend seeking help of their own volition. I think these programs exemplify the worst in nursing. The judgey, control freak, better than thou mousey nurse that will never speak her mind to the actual person she has a problem with and her cohorts have been put in charge of my life and I hate it and am in no way the better for it. Like so many I count down the days until my life is my own again. Once I have control again will I choose to drink? Who knows as its a moot point now & like they say in the 12 step meetings "you only have today". I'll assess what is best for my life and make my decision not simply comply with ineffectual nonsense.
  5. by   dirtyhippiegirl
    I don't drink because I am an alcoholic. But I still go out with friends, go to parties/sporting events/concerts/whatever, eat at pubs. I get thinking that you feel like you're going to feel left out -- but in my experience, that's *usually* not been the case. I found the anticipation of wondering whether the situation would be awkward or leave me feeling bitter that they could drink and I can't was substantially just a product of my imagination. I could still enjoy the food or the music or the conversation with my friends.

    I don't put myself in situations where drinking is the main event so I'll probably never go pub crawling or tour a brewery again. But now I do so many more activities that can't or generally don't involve drinking, which is actually about 90% of life for most normal people.

    Don't be a hermit. Life is too short for that.
  6. by   Recovering_RN
    Quote from dirtyhippiegirl
    I don't drink because I am an alcoholic. But I still go out with friends, go to parties/sporting events/concerts/whatever, eat at pubs. I get thinking that you feel like you're going to feel left out -- but in my experience, that's *usually* not been the case. I found the anticipation of wondering whether the situation would be awkward or leave me feeling bitter that they could drink and I can't was substantially just a product of my imagination. I could still enjoy the food or the music or the conversation with my friends.

    I don't put myself in situations where drinking is the main event so I'll probably never go pub crawling or tour a brewery again. But now I do so many more activities that can't or generally don't involve drinking, which is actually about 90% of life for most normal people.

    Don't be a hermit. Life is too short for that.
    Yeah I've tried to remind myself of all the many vacation experiences I've had, touring the Bacardi rum factory, restaurants, cruises, exploring London,etc that included alcohol for me, did NOT include alcohol for my teenaged kids and they still had a great time. They didn't miss the alcohol because they'd never had it, of course, but their enjoyment wasn't less because of that. So I'm pretty sure it's more related to the knowledge that someone other than me is controlling my actions regarding my use of alcohol that is frustrating rather than the abstaining by itself. I was invited to a baby shower recently that had alcohol served! It's everywhere in our society.

    And I know alcoholics enjoy a full life without imbibing, it's me being resentful of these restrictions I think.

    Imagine if someone told you that you were not allowed to eat dairy products or you would be fired from your job. They came up with some excuse that said it was unhealthy and nurses need to be an example of healthy eating. That would totally tick you off! Dairy is everywhere! You love cheese and ice cream! You'd be so mad and frustrated every time you attended a dinner where dairy was included (which is probably 100% of the time). But now let's say YOU CHOSE to forgo dairy because it didn't really agree with your system, made you gain weight, feel bloated and tired. Or worse, you're lactose intolerant and have to run to the bathroom if you eat dairy! You could easily place restrictions on yourself to avoid dairy, you'd know you were doing it for your own benefit and avoiding it would be difficult but nothing you couldn't adjust to. It's all about who is placing these restrictions on you, ya know?
  7. by   StillRN
    I completely agree! Alcohol is not my drug of choice.. i don't want to sit and get drunk (my hangovers last like 6 months . But, i DO miss having an ice cold tap of ML once in a while. I like the taste and I miss being able to make that descision for myself! I am very resentful!

    I also have passed up several vacations because i am so afraid of telling others i need to borrow their car to take a drug test.. also afraid of not being able to find a place ( i only get 5 hours to test after being chosen). I can't leave the country, per my contract. My blood pressure is constantly 140's-180's/90's-120 due to CONSTANT Anxiety, CONSTANT!! I have panick attacks and often diarrhea as a result (that's fun during a drug test!! )

    I feel i have no control over my life. It's worse than being on probation after being in prison (how is that fair?)

    Yes i am more than aware i did this too myself, as i am constantly reminded of, but to be controlled, humiliated, ZERO hippaa rights to privacy of our own health care, living in constant terror " did I️ check in? I better check for the 18th time today, why hasn't my result showed up after a week and a half? What did I do wrong? Etc..". And why do I have to sit thru the same crap over and over in AODA for the past 2 years? Why am I broke? Oh yeah.. I spend thousands a year on this.

    I feel like it's a form of legal torture! They know they can get away with whatever they want and we have to gravel and give up any shred of dignity we may have left!

    How can they not think this stress could lead to relapse? For me... The stress of nursing led me into this mess and it's not doing a good job of getting me out of it!! (I'm not making excuses) i now despise nursing and want out more than anything! I want the board off my back.. and i just want my life back! As my mother tells me.. is your career making a whopping 30/hr worth your health and/or life? Because it is literally killing me!

    I just don't know what else to do.... I feel stuck, trapped, and tortured!!
  8. by   Nathan08T
    Same... I'm a single male in my late 20s with a decent social life. My problem was never with alcohol. I hate this program so much because it really has limited me with certain experiences. Oh my friends are going out? I'll pass. Oh a cute girl invited me out to drinks? Nope, not worth trying to explain it. Even when I say "oh I don't drink" they still look at me differently. This program is hell but thankfully I only have roughly 9 months left. I'm not anywhere close to this but what if I decided to get married? I can't even have a drink at my wedding. I feel like I'm in the best years of my life and I can't truly enjoy it. You really do only live once and it's such a shame that this program is hell bent on monitoring and almost restricting your every move. I had a week off and some friends made a spontaneous trip to Mexico but obviously I had to sit that out.
  9. by   dirtyhippiegirl
    Quote from Recovering_RN
    Yeah I've tried to remind myself of all the many vacation experiences I've had, touring the Bacardi rum factory, restaurants, cruises, exploring London,etc that included alcohol for me, did NOT include alcohol for my teenaged kids and they still had a great time. They didn't miss the alcohol because they'd never had it, of course, but their enjoyment wasn't less because of that. So I'm pretty sure it's more related to the knowledge that someone other than me is controlling my actions regarding my use of alcohol that is frustrating rather than the abstaining by itself. I was invited to a baby shower recently that had alcohol served! It's everywhere in our society.

    And I know alcoholics enjoy a full life without imbibing, it's me being resentful of these restrictions I think.

    Imagine if someone told you that you were not allowed to eat dairy products or you would be fired from your job. They came up with some excuse that said it was unhealthy and nurses need to be an example of healthy eating. That would totally tick you off! Dairy is everywhere! You love cheese and ice cream! You'd be so mad and frustrated every time you attended a dinner where dairy was included (which is probably 100% of the time). But now let's say YOU CHOSE to forgo dairy because it didn't really agree with your system, made you gain weight, feel bloated and tired. Or worse, you're lactose intolerant and have to run to the bathroom if you eat dairy! You could easily place restrictions on yourself to avoid dairy, you'd know you were doing it for your own benefit and avoiding it would be difficult but nothing you couldn't adjust to. It's all about who is placing these restrictions on you, ya know?
    Well, I was in my state's monitoring program for three years. My early sobriety was not voluntary. :P (I also didn't choose to be an alcoholic -- that's a restriction imposed on me by a bunch of genetic, environmental, and psychosocial factors that I had no part in.) Ultimately, I think it's just a waste of energy to be so resentful that you're making yourself miserable. Life is short. The monitoring program doesn't care that you're making yourself miserable by restricting your social activities and it doesn't accomplish anything other than...make you more miserable. What's the point? Who cares who is putting restrictions on whom as long as it has to be done and you can even agree that there might be a little bit of merit to it. When you're on your death bed, which could be in sixty years and it could be tomorrow, are you going to reflect back on your life and think "yeah, I really put it to those monitoring board ******* by making myself miss out on parties and trips, go me."

    I'm not trying to dismiss or downplay your anger or frustration. I've been there. It's just that the way you are expressing it isn't doing anything but making YOUR life worse. I believe the saying about cutting your nose off to spite your face fits perfectly here.
  10. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    True, being resentful and carrying grudges usually hurts the person harboring such feelings more that the target. There is nothing we can do to cause any harm or un-comfort to the people administering these programs. We are in a position through our actions where we are forced to choose between complying with the terms and conditions of the deal we signed and losing our careers. However, compliance is not acceptance much less embracement. What if the nurse actually has feelings of resentment and by attending such festive activities that involve alcohol would make her more uncomfortable and resentful of the fact that she cannot join in? Is she supposed to fake (another word for lying) her embracement of a reality that she really doesn't want to be part of? Is she supposed to keep quiet about her feelings so as not to offend the people who have embraced this way of life. I won't. The hatred of this program keeps me warm at night and happiness comes from the fact that it won't last forever. I'm meeting friends for "drinks" after work today. Do I wish I could have one? You betcha!!! I won't only because I don't wish to extend my stay in purgatory (hell lasts forever) not due to any benefit I've gained from compulsory treatment and attendance of voluntary meetings. Basically the only thing keeping me sober are the Pee tests & the rest is just expensive, time consuming mumbling of a bunch of garbage I don't want to hear
  11. by   catsmeow1972
    I'm in kind of the strange position in that I don't drink to begin with, however it is and always has been by my choice. I also, by choice take meds that strongly advise that one should not drink, so there is that. My resentment comes from the fact that that choice is taken from me. I've made that choice for more than 25 years. I think I've got this one.

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