I'm an addict

  1. 10
    I finally admitted it, I'll never forget the day. It was Dec. 12th- the day before my graduation from RN school. I had been working as an LPN since 2002 and was finally graduating, but I almost didn't walk. It seemed like my whole life was crashing down on me that day in my director's office. There was no way I could walk in graduation after what took place in there.

    On my way home from taking my dtr. to the doc. I got a call from my director, there was a pyxis discrepency and I had to do a drug test asap. So, I swung into the hospital and gave them a list of my drugs and gave them their sample. The whole time shaking. Although I didn't do anything wrong at work and I know I didn't I was just wondering if somehow somebody at work knew about my addiction and turned me in. So, I went to my pinning that night not being exicted about it but wondering what happened at work. They wouldn't tell me until my results came in. I had finall admitted to myself a few months earlier that I had an addiction. But, I was in a catch.

    I began taking hydros after I had my son and had excruciating back pain from my SI joints, or thats all the dx they could ever give me. I took myself off of them after a few months cause I knew they just made me feel too good. Then, after my dtr was born my pain was worse, was on both sides, and I just couldn't take it any longer. I took them on and off for a few months and decided again I need to stop taking these, even if the dr. said its ok to take 2 at a time since just one wasn't helping my back. I finally went to my dr. and told him I needed a referral to a pain spec. I said I was sick of taking pain pills. I told him I had heard of people with back pain so bad they killed themselves. Although, I never considered killing myself, my pain was that bad. I didn't want narcs, I wanted relief. I had an injection in one side that worked, for a very short period of time. For once in 3 years, my right SI didn't hurt! But, then one day at work about a month later- it came back and did it ever! So, we live in a small town and several people I knew had bought hydros. So, I made a call and from then on it got worse. I was taking more and more, buying more and more. Getting some from my dr. and buying them.

    My boss called me the next day and said to come in and she'd explain everything to me. I had told myself back in the summer, just get through RN school and then you've got to stop taking these. After she called, I was just so worried about what they were going to say. I had such a guilty conscience because of my addiction. I decided right then and there if I was ever going to give a chance to come clean, this would prob be it. I walked into that meeting knowing that things would never be the same. But at the same time thinking, you know this is it. Are you sure you want to do this. Are you sure you can live with the pain. That was my dilemma, if I admitted I had a problem, I'd be in pain. I knew I couldn't get a bottle of hydros anymore and be able to take them only when needed. The issue at work was somebody said they didn't get their- Vicodin. Well, I gave it. I know in my heart I did. It didn't matter to them. I had quit back in the spring to finish RN school and had just started back about a month before I graduated. They said I was within my 90 days and they didn't feel comfortable about to put me in a charge nurse position with this already happening. I was fired. But then they said that magical thing- if you have anything to say now is the time to say it. So, I did. I cried my eyes out. I couldn't believe what I had just done, I'd just admitted to somebody I had a problem. And of all people, my bosses, my friends. I had known these people for awhile now, we'd hung out, went out to eat. They were more then just my bosses. So, I heard the news from my director and DON- you need help. You need to call your mom, you need to call your husband. My hubby works out of state and although he isn't home much- he knew I'd bought before, he just didn't know how much. He's not the type to say much, I was afraid he'd be mad at me. I cried, I told him how embarassed I was, I told him I had horrible news and I'd tell him when I drove to where he was working. No, just tell me he insisted. I said don't worry, I'm not cheating! He insisted I told him and I'm sooo glad I did. He said the best thing to me- Don't worry, we'll get through it. I'll be home in a couple of weeks. Go to your mom's. You need somebody with you. I'm working too many hours. Don't worry, though, we'll make it. And that we are.

    Its soon to be 2 months sober, I day at a time. I'm so glad I'm free. I don't wake up wondering if I'll have enough pills to do me until I can find some more, I don't have to worry if I'll have enough to do this or that. I'm just glad I don't have the secret bottled up inside of me anymore. My closest friends know, thats all that need to know. They'll keep me on the right path. I don't have a problem with people know it and am not embarassed by it, but I just don't feel the need to tell everybody when they ask if I'm gonna go to work now that I passed boards why I don't want to right now. I need to focus on myself and my children. Mostly, myself. I'm not ready for work. I don't want to work. I almost got turned off by nursing b/c somebody at work didn't want me as their charge nurse and they had a friend in the hospital and that's all it took. They've admitted it, I don't care. It was a blessing in disguise. Cause I'm getting my life back on track now. I'm just glad I'm free.

    I want to educate people now. I told my boss, you know I never meant for it to be like this. I didn't! People that haven't ever been addicted don't know what its like. You've become dependent on something for whatever reason. You know you have a problem but don't quite know if you even want to deal with it let alone what you want to do about it. I look at those people termed 'drug seeking' in a whole different light. Yes, they do have a problem and I guarantee they don't really want it. I'd also like to educate doctors. You know, its amazing what a little Mobic and Cymbalta do for my pain. Do you think they ever tried that? Nope. Not until I demanded no narcotics but I need some relief. Of course, there are times I hurt so bad I could cry, its not every minute of every day now. And to be honest, the hydros didn't really help the pain. They just made it so I didn't care about it. I'm taking it one day at a time. I'll work again, just not right now. But, hopefully soon.
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  3. 10 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    ((((hugs)))) Thank you for telling us your story, Congrats on making it 2 months and I am sure many more months/years are to come.
    eneed1566 likes this.
  5. 0
    wishing you the very best.

    i was recently diagnosed with kidney stones, and the doctor offered me pain medication. i told him i'd take tylenol or advil if i had pain. i've seen so many patients who live for the next pill. i'm afraid i'd rather be dead than in that state.

    if i never take the first one, i'll never want the second .
  6. 2
    Thanks for sharing, keep on doing it , one day at a time. My I suggest finding an AA meeting , (know it sounds weird , when your addicted to a narcotic, but that's what gave me peace in my life, I could quite, but being happy was another story, AA gave me that ). Once I worked the steps by the Big Book, wow, what a change in my life. Sounds like some real honesty in your story. Good job. You will be in my prayers.
    Veteran Nurse and michigooseBSN like this.
  7. 4
    That is a great story you have there. Luckily I cleaned up well before I started RN school.

    Oh the phrase "drug seeker".... I hate that saying more than any two words used in a hospital. True, about less than 1% of our patient population is get addicted to narcs, but this label is tossed around way to loosely. As soon as someone asks for pain medication a few times during a shift many nurses will bring out this phrase. Its terrible, and as soon as someone has this label, their care goes down the toilet. Just
    NurseCurtis, katfishLPN, sissiesmama, and 1 other like this.
  8. 1
    Quote from eneed1566
    I finally admitted it, I'll never forget the day. It was Dec. 12th- the day before my graduation from RN school. I had been working as an LPN since 2002 and was finally graduating, but I almost didn't walk. It seemed like my whole life was crashing down on me that day in my director's office. There was no way I could walk in graduation after what took place in there.

    On my way home from taking my dtr. to the doc. I got a call from my director, there was a pyxis discrepency and I had to do a drug test asap. So, I swung into the hospital and gave them a list of my drugs and gave them their sample. The whole time shaking. Although I didn't do anything wrong at work and I know I didn't I was just wondering if somehow somebody at work knew about my addiction and turned me in. So, I went to my pinning that night not being exicted about it but wondering what happened at work. They wouldn't tell me until my results came in. I had finall admitted to myself a few months earlier that I had an addiction. But, I was in a catch.

    I began taking hydros after I had my son and had excruciating back pain from my SI joints, or thats all the dx they could ever give me. I took myself off of them after a few months cause I knew they just made me feel too good. Then, after my dtr was born my pain was worse, was on both sides, and I just couldn't take it any longer. I took them on and off for a few months and decided again I need to stop taking these, even if the dr. said its ok to take 2 at a time since just one wasn't helping my back. I finally went to my dr. and told him I needed a referral to a pain spec. I said I was sick of taking pain pills. I told him I had heard of people with back pain so bad they killed themselves. Although, I never considered killing myself, my pain was that bad. I didn't want narcs, I wanted relief. I had an injection in one side that worked, for a very short period of time. For once in 3 years, my right SI didn't hurt! But, then one day at work about a month later- it came back and did it ever! So, we live in a small town and several people I knew had bought hydros. So, I made a call and from then on it got worse. I was taking more and more, buying more and more. Getting some from my dr. and buying them.

    My boss called me the next day and said to come in and she'd explain everything to me. I had told myself back in the summer, just get through RN school and then you've got to stop taking these. After she called, I was just so worried about what they were going to say. I had such a guilty conscience because of my addiction. I decided right then and there if I was ever going to give a chance to come clean, this would prob be it. I walked into that meeting knowing that things would never be the same. But at the same time thinking, you know this is it. Are you sure you want to do this. Are you sure you can live with the pain. That was my dilemma, if I admitted I had a problem, I'd be in pain. I knew I couldn't get a bottle of hydros anymore and be able to take them only when needed. The issue at work was somebody said they didn't get their- Vicodin. Well, I gave it. I know in my heart I did. It didn't matter to them. I had quit back in the spring to finish RN school and had just started back about a month before I graduated. They said I was within my 90 days and they didn't feel comfortable about to put me in a charge nurse position with this already happening. I was fired. But then they said that magical thing- if you have anything to say now is the time to say it. So, I did. I cried my eyes out. I couldn't believe what I had just done, I'd just admitted to somebody I had a problem. And of all people, my bosses, my friends. I had known these people for awhile now, we'd hung out, went out to eat. They were more then just my bosses. So, I heard the news from my director and DON- you need help. You need to call your mom, you need to call your husband. My hubby works out of state and although he isn't home much- he knew I'd bought before, he just didn't know how much. He's not the type to say much, I was afraid he'd be mad at me. I cried, I told him how embarassed I was, I told him I had horrible news and I'd tell him when I drove to where he was working. No, just tell me he insisted. I said don't worry, I'm not cheating! He insisted I told him and I'm sooo glad I did. He said the best thing to me- Don't worry, we'll get through it. I'll be home in a couple of weeks. Go to your mom's. You need somebody with you. I'm working too many hours. Don't worry, though, we'll make it. And that we are.

    Its soon to be 2 months sober, I day at a time. I'm so glad I'm free. I don't wake up wondering if I'll have enough pills to do me until I can find some more, I don't have to worry if I'll have enough to do this or that. I'm just glad I don't have the secret bottled up inside of me anymore. My closest friends know, thats all that need to know. They'll keep me on the right path. I don't have a problem with people know it and am not embarassed by it, but I just don't feel the need to tell everybody when they ask if I'm gonna go to work now that I passed boards why I don't want to right now. I need to focus on myself and my children. Mostly, myself. I'm not ready for work. I don't want to work. I almost got turned off by nursing b/c somebody at work didn't want me as their charge nurse and they had a friend in the hospital and that's all it took. They've admitted it, I don't care. It was a blessing in disguise. Cause I'm getting my life back on track now. I'm just glad I'm free.

    I want to educate people now. I told my boss, you know I never meant for it to be like this. I didn't! People that haven't ever been addicted don't know what its like. You've become dependent on something for whatever reason. You know you have a problem but don't quite know if you even want to deal with it let alone what you want to do about it. I look at those people termed 'drug seeking' in a whole different light. Yes, they do have a problem and I guarantee they don't really want it. I'd also like to educate doctors. You know, its amazing what a little Mobic and Cymbalta do for my pain. Do you think they ever tried that? Nope. Not until I demanded no narcotics but I need some relief. Of course, there are times I hurt so bad I could cry, its not every minute of every day now. And to be honest, the hydros didn't really help the pain. They just made it so I didn't care about it. I'm taking it one day at a time. I'll work again, just not right now. But, hopefully soon.
    One of the gifts of sobriety:Being freed from the bondage and baggage we carried in our addiction.-The Big Book:heartbeat
    Tweety likes this.
  9. 1
    Quote from Trauma1RN
    That is a great story you have there. Luckily I cleaned up well before I started RN school.

    Oh the phrase "drug seeker".... I hate that saying more than any two words used in a hospital. True, about less than 1% of our patient population is get addicted to narcs, but this label is tossed around way to loosely. As soon as someone asks for pain medication a few times during a shift many nurses will bring out this phrase. Its terrible, and as soon as someone has this label, their care goes down the toilet. Just
    unfortunately, i don't see that as the case. i've had an untold number of people who are in fact drug seekers.

    the most telling sign? they get their narcs, then immediately they must go downstairs to smoke a cigarette. they think they're in disneyland at a free hotel, repeatedly giving detailed orders for snacks, etc.. just as thought they're in a high class hotel. do these people care one iota that you're overloaded with patients who have legitimate care needs you're struggling to meet? nope. it is.. me, me me!
    NurseCurtis likes this.
  10. 1
    Quote from traumahawk99
    unfortunately, i don't see that as the case. i've had an untold number of people who are in fact drug seekers.

    the most telling sign? they get their narcs, then immediately they must go downstairs to smoke a cigarette. they think they're in disneyland at a free hotel, repeatedly giving detailed orders for snacks, etc.. just as thought they're in a high class hotel. do these people care one iota that you're overloaded with patients who have legitimate care needs you're struggling to meet? nope. it is.. me, me me!
    Really, I think it is the nurse's point of view. Personally for me, I see them as the people that are in so much pain that they are able to hobble up to the nurse station to ask for medication instead of using their call light. I've seen people that are truely in pain. Yes, everyone deals with pain differently. But if they are able to walk up to me to request medication with a smile on their face and state that the pain they're having is severe, then I will seriously put their pain control issues lower on my cerebral priority list for the rest of my shift. Would I "label" them as a drug seeker? No. But I will state the facts to the oncoming nurse and let them form their own opinion.

    Something that I have seen time and time again is people that admit to narcotic abuse will end up in more pain when they seriously injure themselves. They get angry. they don't understand why their pain can't be controlled - they demand more. Seemingly innocent requests are misconstrued. It may seem like seeking if they are on the call light every 2 hours. Tie that with a documented history of drug abuse and it is easy to label them a seeker. Personally I feel like they just aren't getting pain relief (not 100% of the time, but the vast majority). The situation is not my fault, it is not the physician's fault, it is the patient's own fault. I empathize with them...it is so hard to explain that their chronic drug/alcohol abuse is the reason their pain meds don't work very well. I do my best. I've seen coworkers near or in tears over their patients due to situations like this. Not tears of pity, but tears of frustration. Of course the patient doesn't see the tears, because we lock ourselves in the bathrooms to cry about it. The nurse is doing the best they can do, and the best isn't ever good enough for patients like that unless we are literally putting them out of the misery by overdosing them. A nurse can bend over backwards for pain control with an alcoholic client. Then have the client turn around and write a written accusation against the nurse, speaking with a nurse manager, or complaining to the physician when they round. Calling the RN heartless for withholding medication or undermedicating them when in fact it is the physicians, policy, standard practice, ethics, or the patient's physiological status that limits us in what we can do and how far we can go in pain control.
    NurseCurtis likes this.
  11. 1
    don't pick up the first one
    go to meetings
    get a sponsor
    pray
    read the literature

    repeat.....

    thats the only set of instructions that works for me
    Bless you redpinkhe
    Veteran Nurse likes this.
  12. 0
    Thanks so much for sharing.


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