Recovered alcoholic & new nurse

  1. 1
    So, I have recently obtained my LPN and on the job hunt. I have been having a hard time finding a job. And I'm pretty sure I know part of the reason. I am a recovered alcoholic and as you can imagine when I was in my drinking like a fish days I damaged alot of relationships with everyone including previous employers. No call no shows, stuff like that. Never showing up drunk or anything like that. But pretty much just not showing up for work and never going back! (all CNA positions). Now that all that is in the past and I am recovered and trying take steps forward to better my life even more....by getting an LPN position, I am stuck. I lack proffessional references due to the damage I have done in the past. So, when I am on an interview, should I be honest right fromt the start and tell them I am a recovered alcoholic but am 100% better now and thats why you shouldnt call my previous employers because they probably wouldnt have anything good to say? haha well not in those words but you get the point. Anyway, I need some advice from nurses out there please! I've been hoping and praying everyday to land something. Starting to feel discouraged
    Merlyn likes this.
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    You might also want to post this in the Recovery and Nursing Forum for more answers specific to your situation.

    Congrats on your sobriety!
  5. 1
    You did not state how long you've been sober, if you attend AA, have a home group , and a sponsor. All of these things are important, and as you are interviewed letters from your sponsor, and a member of your home group, any completion of rehab will be helpful. Yes the longer your sobriety is the better it will be for you. If you do not have these things in place then I strongly suggest to find a home group and go to AA today. You can goggle AA for the county you live in and find a list of meetings. Good luck in sobreity and with the job hunt. Also part of working the steps is cleaning damage from our past.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  6. 5
    Agree with nowimclean on establishing roots in AA or a similar sobriety group, if you haven't already. Congratulations on staying sober and getting your LPN.

    And.....just a few words of advice from a still-recovering alcoholic with just over 20 years' sobriety: Please don't make the mistake of believing that you're totally "recovered". Alcoholism, like any addiction, is a chronic disease with lifelong consequences, and even if we stay clean/sober for the rest of our days, we are never truly cured. I've seen too many people fall flat on their faces after five, ten, even 30 years of abstinence.......all it takes is ONE moment of weakness, and they're right back where they started from.

    From the tone of your post, I get the sense that your sobriety is still pretty new. I've always said that the hardest years of sobriety are the first five, plus the one you're in. There's a lot of "stinkin' thinkin'" that goes on in those early years, and sometimes after decades, it's still possible to relapse, even if you don't actually pick up a drink. Last night I had the worst screaming fight I've ever had with my youngest son, and if there'd been any ETOH in the house, I just might have gotten into it---I needed the pain to go away, and that's how I used to make ALL my pain go away.

    That is the closest I've ever come to violating abstinence, and it frightens me that after 20 years, 1 month, and 11 days, I could even THINK of going back to the old ways. But it points out the reality that full recovery from addiction is not within our grasp; the best we can hope for is to manage the symptoms successfully for the rest of our lives....one day at a time.
    poppycat, jackstem, Meriwhen, and 2 others like this.
  7. 1
    Thank you everyone this is all very helpful. Yes I am in early sobriety, almost 7 months and going strong! I have been utilizing all those resources out there. =)
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  8. 0
    Congrats, very happy for you. I stated earlier a letter from sponsor will help.
  9. 1
    References don't necessarily have to be former employers... Former co-workers and nursing school instructors can be good references too. And NO, DO NOT tell your prospective employer about your alcohol addiction! Especially if you have a clean criminal record there's absolutely NO reason to even bring that up. They're your prospective employer not your therapist. You need to make yourself look good so that they WANT to hire you. I'm a recovering addict too and all this AA stuff is great advice for your personal life but it's not going to help you find a job. That and I'm pretty sure that they have to have your permission in order to contact your previous employer. If you don't give them permission to contact your previous employers then they're probably going to want to know why, but trust me telling them it's because you were drinking too much and screwed your previous employers over by not showing up to your scheduled shifts is not a good idea.
    Last edit by MichelleIowaR.N. on Mar 20, '12
    Meriwhen likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from joeliejean
    So, I have recently obtained my LPN and on the job hunt. I have been having a hard time finding a job. And I'm pretty sure I know part of the reason. I am a recovered alcoholic and as you can imagine when I was in my drinking like a fish days I damaged alot of relationships with everyone including previous employers. No call no shows, stuff like that. Never showing up drunk or anything like that. But pretty much just not showing up for work and never going back! (all CNA positions). Now that all that is in the past and I am recovered and trying take steps forward to better my life even more....by getting an LPN position, I am stuck. I lack proffessional references due to the damage I have done in the past. So, when I am on an interview, should I be honest right fromt the start and tell them I am a recovered alcoholic but am 100% better now and thats why you shouldnt call my previous employers because they probably wouldnt have anything good to say? haha well not in those words but you get the point. Anyway, I need some advice from nurses out there please! I've been hoping and praying everyday to land something. Starting to feel discouraged
    Without going into details, I feel you my son. It will take a long time. I joined a agency way back and I would take shifts no one else would take because they were in the rough part of town. I would always show up. this place new that they could count on me. as time went on, I was offer some choice jobs. But the only rule I had was one minute at a time. Hope this helps
  11. 5
    I would like to say first of all, congratulations on 7 months of sobriety. Right now it's baby steps.
    Please read Viva's post again as she stated so eloquently what I would like to convey.

    Alcoholism is a lifelong disease....you may be in Recovery but you are NEVER totally Recovered.

    I now have 12 years, 4 months and 20 days of recovery...and I absolutely have no urge to drink...BUT I am certainly not recovered. I understand that if I am not working at this daily and fully committed to abstinence, that one major trauma or even a minor one could send me right back into full blown addiction.

    We can not ever have just "one" little drink....(a concept that non alcoholics just do not get)...the old adage of "One is too many and one thousand isn't enough" unfortunately is all too true.

    Please, get a sponsor and work a program. This really is the rest of your life.

    Good luck to you.
    poppycat, TXRN2, Meriwhen, and 2 others like this.
  12. 4
    Tough one.

    Unfortunately, saying that you are a recovering alcoholic may hurt you more than help, since a lot of places still attach a stigma to that. In addition, when they call to verify your employment at past facilities they will learn about your no-shows...even though you say you never showed up to work impaired, that may not be how it comes across to your potential employers.

    I would try to see if you can get personal references from those who you were able to mend fences with. Or even better, start volunteering somewhere and use that to build professional references. Loads of city clinics, charities, schools, and other programs would love to get their hands on free nursing help.

    You could also try to look for jobs in addictions/recovery/psych, since they seem to be more accepting of nurses in recovery. However, most will require at least a year or two of sobriety before they will even consider you--at 7 months' sober, you may be considered stlil too vulnerable to work with this population. In addition, don't think that the job is a lock or will be easy because you are "familiar with the territory" so to speak: I've seen some nurses struggle to keep their own recovery separate from their patients'...this includes nurses with decades of sober time under their belt.

    Also, if you haven't started doing 12-Step, SMART or whatever floats your boat, please do so and get a sponsor. One is only a recovered alcoholic when one is dead: while you live and breathe, you are and always will be recovering.

    Best of luck!
    Merlyn, TXRN2, catmom1, and 1 other like this.


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