Good Morning Everybody:
Last night was a rare departure from what is usually my worst night of the week. My weekly "nurses support" meeting which is usually 1 & 1/2 hours of tedious "check in" where people talk about the complete minutia in their lives in amazingly boring detail as to make that short period of time seem like it lasts a week. Last night we actually had a pointed discussion whereas we were given a topic to think about during the week to discuss.
As you may guess that topic was "are you an alcoholic or addict". It amazed me the criteria that people applied to this definition & I can see why. If you look at the internet, have been to rehab or any 12 step meeting you will get a dizzying array of definitions that honestly look more like opinions than anything else. Last night we only had a few people there and the polarization of opinions were kind of broke down on drug of choice lines. The people who diverted (2 of them) immediately admitted they were addicted to opiates. I don't doubt this is true as admittedly and objectively their addiction took them to a place where they were diverting meds from patients who needed them and simply stealing to feed their addiction. Three more nurses admitted to opiate addiction years ago (10, 7 and 5 years) that they sought treatment for before they went to nursing school
who had many years of clean time (none went to 12 step meetings anymore on their own). They all had the misfortune of admitting these past problems to the board going through the licensing process and were sent to monitoring land despite multiple years of clean time. One was sent to the program because she failed a drug test in a job application process when she took and old Vicodin from a prior prescription to deal with some chronic pain issues who flatly said she wasn't an addict and this whole process was ridiculous in her case (I agree).
This brings us to the DUI crowd of which I'm a part. All stated that they were not alcoholics but merely made a bad choice and were now stuck in a program they had no use for. Interestingly (to me anyway) this brought a spirited response from both the therapist and the folks accused of abusing opioids. Essentially they all said you must be an alcoholic because you got a DUI. It seems that the folks who were accused of diverting were much more invested in this process and 12 step recovery than us DUI offenders. This back and forth went on for a little while arguing the definition of addict / alcoholic and was varied and interesting. Finally, I brought out the DSM 5's definition of alcohol use disorder and all the DUI folks were found to have a "mild" alcohol use disorder and that seems to quell the debate somewhat.
What I really found interesting was the divide between the people who were admitted addicts and invested in their recovery and the people who were just doing this because they have to. I have respect for those folks. They are fighting for their lives and having a tough time whereas the attitude of the people drug into this program and who only subject ourselves to this process to save our careers could honestly care less about the stuff that is spewed at us by therapists and 12 step devotees. The people who are fighting for their lives talk about how recovery has made their lives better on every level. We talk about how this process has made our lives worse on every level. There are clearly people who need this program or something akin to it. They should not be subjected to what those of us who got caught into the "big net's" collection truthful opinions and experiences. Now in my group those poor people in recovery are in the vast minority and the rest of us are not going to be mute to our outrage. Perhaps these groups should be divided between the folks who need / want help and the rest of us or better yet maybe the whole process needs a through review using things like the DSM and medical research instead of the Big Book and the opinions of people's whose only qualification for giving advice is that they were high / drunk most of their lives. Have a great day all!!!