HI! Just wanted to say hello and say what a great idea I think this forum is for this place. I'm a recovering drug addict (it's neat to be able to say that), two weeks clean tomorrow, and I'm also a nurse. I've struggled with my addiction for over twenty years on/off and I've been in treatment four times now. The last time, I relapsed the same day I walked out of the treatment facility. I used for another year after that, then decided I was going to get straight. I quit completely and stayed sober for three months. I have PTSD and all it took was one trigger and I was over the edge again. This time, I woke up one morning and realized that I couldn't live a double life anymore. After having only been using again for a month, I had just spend over $600 for a weekends' worth of my drug of choice. It wasn't going to end well and it was going downhill fast.
I called my nurse-manager and came clean to her. Scariest thing I've ever done in my life. I spilled my guts. Then, she surprised me. I'd been expecting the "you're fired" speech right there. Instead, she was incredibly supportive. We talked for quite a while and she encouraged me to go ahead and self-report to the Board. She also put me on sick leave immediately, of course. Honestly, she gave me the courage to report it because I probably wouldn't have done so otherwise. I would have probably quit my job and ran from it. I sent a letter to the peer assistance program the next day and self-reported everything.
I went for an evaluation about three days later and started IOP the next day. It hasn't been easy. It's been hard at times, most of the time. However, this time, it feels "right". I'm actually making a real effort, instead just doing my time like I did all those other times. I'm going to IOP six days a week and I try to make an NA meeting every day. I've found one healthcare providers group so far, but there are several in this city.
I get out of IOP around the 17th and I have to meet with the peer assistance manager on the 23rd. At the moment, I can't work as a nurse or in a patient care setting of any kind. Hopefully, that restriction will be lifted at this meeting and I'm lucky enough to be able to go back to the same unit I was in before. If I can't be back by the 28th, they will repost my position and I won't be able to work in there anymore.
I'm nervous about going back and really debated just giving up my license. I almost made up my mind to do that. Then, I decided to just do what I had to do to keep it, but that I wasn't going back to nursing right now. Now, I've come back around to wanting to go back to the unit. I hope I get that opportunity. If not, I probably WILL just sit out nursing for now. That specialty is the only kind of nursing I ever wanted to do. I have no desire to go anywhere else.
I'm stressing about having to walk back in there though and know that people know why I'm out. I realize that only a few people know, but still, it's scary.
Part of the whole thing is guilt. I tell myself that I'm a nurse and I should have known better. I tell myself that, even though I may have never used at work, I certainly had my shifts where I wasn't all together. I keep thinking that I could have killed a patient with some stupid mistake. I didn't divert drugs from work (I was buying hard stuff on the street), but I could have and probably would have easily ended up there soon. The fact is, I've been an addict for 25 years and I've only been a nurse for nine years. I hid it well, really well. My boss had no clue it was coming. I was using up every bit of energy I had trying to be two different people though. I was fixing to crash hard.
Anyway, I ramble and that's about all I had to say.
Great place! I've loved these boards for a long time. I used to post under a different name. However, I do know of at least one coworker that posts under here and I've talked to on here, so for now, I'll just choose to use this new name.
Thanks for reading my ramble.
Apr 5, '08
Nice to hear from you!!! Best luck one day at a time. Remember you only have today, so don't spend too much time worrying about what will happen and getting into a lot of projection. Take it as it comes. You can handle it....if you stay clean.....and you will. Hang in there!
Thanks for sharing your story as a nurse. Many nurses are going through exactly what you're going through now.
Apr 5, '08
Thank you so very much for sharing your story. Although you might not realize it, you are courageous and should be commended for your honesty and strength regarding the uphill battle that I refer to as addiction. Good luck to you! With 2 weeks being clean and sober, you are already off to a marvelous start. Keep up the amazing work!
Apr 14, '08
Hey blueskies! Glad to see your post. My name is Anne and I am an addict. It does feel good to say it. Thank God or your higher power you are still around to get in with IOP instead of not living to see it.
I know it is very difficult going through the rehab process, and anytime you need to vent or discuss anything on your mind, feel free to post or pm me. I'll be glad to lend an ear! My husband and I are both RNs and in recovery. Thank God, we both have 7 years.
Good luck! I'll keep you in my prayers. Anne