To clarify my earlier statement. The Board of nursing is considering ending the alternative to discipline program. This means if a nurse is struggling with substance abuse and/or chemical dependence...a disease, not a character flaw or a lack of willpower...the only way in which the board would deal with this issue would then be disciplinary in nature. their concerns are there appears to be a high relapse rate. As I said to the CRNA and newest board member, there is a high relapse rate because recognition and intervention is delayed until the disease has progressed to the point where it can't be ignored anymore. As we know with other chronic, progressive diseases, waiting only makes treatment more difficult and long term remission (recovery) less likely. Yet this is the way addiction is approached. Ignore it until it can't be ignored, fire the individual so they have no income and no health benefits, only cover outpatient treatment when long term (90 days or more) inpatient/residential treatment is significantly more effective, and then have little or no follow up.
As for no money for an attorney. I hear what you're saying. Consider this...if you were facing criminal charges and possible prison time, would you still not hire an attorney? Would you represent yourself in court? Saying or signing the wrong thing when facing the board can lead to permanent loss of your license. Now you have no career and your screwed forever as far as the nursing profession goes. I tell clients I deal with who say they can't really afford an attorney to seriously reconsider their position. The board of nursing is not your friend and they certainly aren't going to look out for your best interests whether it's legally, professionally, or your health. Facing a board of nursing inquiry is frightening, intimidating, and can have permanent consequences.
The same thing goes for treatment. Choosing the cheapest treatment program instead of the one that will provide you with the best chance for long term recovery and possibly saving your ability to practice nursing again is inpatient treatment. If you were diagnosed with cancer would you say I can't really afford all of my chemo. Give me the cheapest chemo treatment you have and I'll hope for the best? The disease of addiction is no less fatal than cancer. A majority of the population...including nurses, seem to think addiction isn't as serious as cancer or heart disease or fill-in-the-blank disease. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Addiction is a chronic, progressive, unnecessarily fatal disease. People die from it because we wait too long to intervene, we treat them with short term methods, and health care insurance provides limited coverage, one time only coverage, or no coverage. We don't manage any other disease in this fashion. In fact, if we treated cancer this way, there would be senate investigations, law suits against the doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies, and all sorts of editorials talking about how unethical and unprofessional the undertreatment of the cancer is, and it's unacceptable. That doesn't happen with addiction because it's not accepted as a "real" disease.
Right now you are in the verge of making decisions that could end your nursing career. I strongly encourage you to seek additional input from trusted people in the profession and in your recovering community.
You have my thoughts and prayers.