As far as telling your side of the story, sometimes the manager wants to know, and sometimes they do not. Like when I FINALLY got a job, the manager liked me so much that it didn't matter to her what I had done. She never asked. But I can certainly see how some managers would want to know. It just depends on how the conversation goes as to how you should word it. Sometimes if you just ad lib and say what feels most comfortable, it will go well. Just have a feel for the manager/interviewer. If you feel that they are not into you, then politely end the interview. It is going nowhere, and sometimes managers are just so damn nosey they want to know what you did. Don't tell them if you feel like they're already not going to hire you.
For example, if they tell you there are no positions for you right now(but you KNOW they do have some), but they'll keep you in mind,, then they ask you what you did,, just tell them.. something like... well, ma'am, I will be glad to have that conversation with you once you have a position open for me, but right now I feel like I need to respect my own privacy. Say that after you are sure they aren't hiring you..... I had a few do this to me, and the first time I told them what I did,,, I smarted up the second time. No, you do not have to tell them if they're not hiring you,, even if you do tell them, they will probably not change their mind.
I knew for a fact that the first one would not hire me after she told me they didn't have a position for me. The ad that I responded to had RN positions open in EVERY SINGLE DEPARTMENT. And then, she tries to tell me there are none,, right. Some people are just nosy and get their rocks off on other people's misery.
It sounds like you are doing really well and you're very lucky to still be a nurse! Just think of it this way..... you are going to be the very best nurse after all of this, because, afterall, you don't HAVE TO be a nurse, but you CHOOSE TO BE when you chose sobriety. You see what I mean? If you were not so "into" being a nurse, you would have gave it up already when facing the challenges that you are.