Recovering opiate addict: In need of advice
- 8Dec 1, '12 by GA_RN2006Hello all,I'm so glad I fought this forum. I've replied to several posts but thought it was time I told my story.Shewwww here goes: I have been a nurse since 2006. Worked in ICU & ER for a couple years from there moved on to my dream job. I work there for about a yr & in the last few months started diverting Percocet. I couldn't believe what I was doing at times it felt like I was having an out of body experience, I was sick, both physically & mentally. Im scared now that I'll never be given a second chance to prove I'm no longer that "sick" person. Recovery has been a long lonely road & at times I've tried giving up but I know now God has other plans for me. I always wanted to be a nurse, I was good at what I did but now bc of my addiction I may never be given another chance. I can look back now & be thankful for the road I have traveled bc it's made me the person I am today, which is a strong, health woman. I just wish there were more ppl out there that understood that addiction is a disease & not everybody that suffers from this illness is not a dead beat, loser that doesn't want & need help. Well this has been my story in a nut shell. I hope I can help others out there that have walked in my worn out shoes.
- 0Dec 2, '12 by woodsyny, BSN, RNFirst off, none of us are 'perfect' and I congratulate you for admitting you have a problem and doing something about it. Sometimes the nursing profession can be very forgiving. At my place of work they have an employee assistant program to help people in your situation or with other problems. Did you get fired? is it on your record? Have you gone through rehab? Sometimes if you go through rehab they will be a little less judgemental.
Yes it can be a lonely road but go to NA and hear other peoples stories,this will help you on your road to recovery. Was your license suspended? I wish you luck and 'yes' I understand your fears. My first husband was an alcoholic. I left him because of the emotional abuse I suffered because of his drinking. The only thing that came good out of our divorce is that he has been sober now for almost 30 years and for that I am grateful. I got into alanon to learn more about the 'disease' and to focus on myself and not him. I could not 'fix' him,only he could.
Hopefully things will work out the way they should. Have faith,they will!
- 12Dec 2, '12 by Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorThe best piece of advice I can give you is that your recovery MUST come before all else. It has to be first, before work, before relationships, before friendships...before anything. Because if you don't maintain your recovery, everything else is going to fall through anyway.
If you were reported to the BON and are in an impaired nurses program, follow that program to a T. If you haven't been reported...well, that is your call as to whether you should. I know nurses who have self-reported, and nurses who haven't..and both can make very strong arguments for why they did/didn't.
You don't indicate how long your clean time is...but if you haven't yet sought medical/psychiatric help, consider doing so. You may find it to be beneficial, especially early on in your recovery.
Lots of nurses have overcome addiction to resume their nursing careers. It's not always easy or fast, and they may have had to make changes to where they work or what they do, but it's not impossible. You may have restrictions on where/when you work; if you don't, you may decide to remove yourself from temptation's way...such as that dream job of yours where you fell into trouble with diverting. Don't give up hope that you'll never work as a nurse again.
But IMO, get a solid handle on your recovery before you even think about trying to resume your work career. The best evidence you can give to show you're no longer that "sick" (your emphasis) person is clean time. Words can mean nothing, especially to someone who doesn't understand addiction or to family/friends/employers who you have burned in the past. But clean time is solid proof.
Get to meetings if you're not already going: NA, SMART, any sort of recovery support group that you are comfortable with. Find a Caduceus group--these are recovery meetings for healthcare professionals. Wherever you decide to go, you'll find that you are not at alone as you think.
Get the book "Unbecomming a Nurse." It has lots of stories about nurses who fell into addiction and what happened to them. Again, your problem is not that unique...nurses are at high-risk for becoming addicts due to stress, easy access to drugs, and the fact that many think, "Oh, I know how this med works, I won't get addicted to it." Famous last words.
And take it one day at a time. You didn't become an addict overnight; you're not going to get over it overnight. Actually, you'll never get over it: addicts are never recovered, only recovering. You'll have to work every day for the rest of your life to stay in recovery.
Will it get easier? IMO, there's going to be a lot of ups and downs to it. Just always be on guard against relapsing.
Best of luck in your recovery.Last edit by Meriwhen on Dec 2, '12
- 0Dec 2, '12 by crebsWhat made you do it the very first time? I've never had a problem with substance abuse but have always been curious as to what causes people to actually do something like that. Was it the thrill, the fact that you knew it was wrong, a desire to just feel good??? If you don't mind me asking.
- 3Dec 2, '12 by GA_RN2006Ty u all for your replies. I've been clean for 2yrs now. I was fired & reported to the board. My recovery has been #1 in my life. I contact the BON last Oct for reinstatement. I could of ask for reinstatement after 6 months of me surrendering my license but I didn't feel I was ready. Again I appreciate all your comments it makes it easier to know I'm not alone.
- 2Dec 2, '12 by CherylRNBSNI am reading a great book about addiction. It's called In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate'.
It is an extremely smart and compassionate book about addiction.
Good luck on your journey, it sounds as if you are well on your way.
- 2Dec 3, '12 by PRICHARILLAisMISSEDFirst, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you for realizing that you had a problem, and deciding to do something about it. Let me tell you up front that I have never been an addict, but I have at least some understanding about how hard it is to break addictions hold over you.
Most of my family were addicted to some kind of drug or another. On the one extreme my father was addicted to heroin before I was born. One day (and it took a WHILE for this to happen) he just realized how badly he ****ed his life up and quit, cold turkey. Well, not 100% cold turkey-He did get on a methadone program. But he skipped as many doses as he could until it became too much to bear before taking his next one. He said it was the worst time in his life as he felt "like he was dying for six months." But he wanted to move on with his life. Then he just stopped showing up at the methadone clinic completely and rode it out. Again he said he "Felt like ****," but it eventually stopped. Now, you would never guess he was ever addicted to anything, least of all heroin. He's a retired Diesel mechanic now. He's been drug free for my entire life and has never thought about going back. In fact, when myself or one of my siblings bring his past up he says it makes him sick. He actually gets nauseous thinking about it now.
On the other hand, My mother and my step dad were on a methadone program for as long as I've known them (again, heroin) . But unlike my dad, they showed up like clockwork at the meth clinics. In fact they sometimes bought some from others on the program (as they were not required to take their doses in front of a counselor, many of the clinics pt's sold their methadone on the streets). Also they were doing whatever pills they could get their hands on as well (xanax, placydils, valiums...) and were pretty open about it. Long story short, my step dad died when I was 11 due to his lifestyle. My mom several years later tried to quit. She did in fact stop the pills while I was in the military. I understand that this WAS NOT PRETTY for her... I was always deployed so I really couldn't be there for her. As far as the Methadone went, She quit the program, but still bought it on the street as needed. She passed in 2002 due to her lifestyle.
So again, while I personally never been an addict I have some experience with addiction. Enough so that I understand how hard it must have been for you to decide to stop. So again, congratulations. That was the most important step in fixing your life. I also congratulate you for being clean for the last two years. Like "Meriwhen" posted above, these two clean years are the real proof that you have put the blood and sweat into atoning for your past. Please, PLEASE keep it up.
Also, I want to tell you that I believe you made an excellent choice in not applying for reinstatement of your license as soon as you were able. It shows that you know your limits, and that your addiction has cleaned up at least to the point of making good judgements. I believe that this will also be considered by the BON. I hope it will be, anyway.
Addiction is a horrible thing. It's horrible because unlike most other ailments, a team of Physicians and Nurses can do little more than guide you along the necessary path to healing, and it is up to the addict to follow that path. It is ENTIRELY up to the addict to "Cure himself"
However, compared to most other serious ailments anyway, addiction is a good thing. Because again, it is ENTIRELY up to the addict to "Cure" themselves. And if the addict truly wants to escape the addiction, and is willing to put in the necessary time and effort (and I'm sorry, but it is A LOT of time and effort...no way around this), they WILL get their lives back. I know this for a fact. I've seen it.
Good luck in all your future endeavors, OP. I wish you the best. and please, keep it up.
JaimeLast edit by PRICHARILLAisMISSED on Dec 3, '12
- 1Dec 3, '12 by wish_me_luckJaime, I know this going to sound mean, but I will say exactly how I feel. While I respect your experience dealing with addiction in your family, you are not in recovery. I have also read your personal opinions of addicts and people who are in recovery and I don't think you belong in this forum. When I saw your screen name on here, I thought "Oh, Prich... has finally made it to "our" forum to degrade us and tell us how we deserve what we got (which I guess in owning up to it is true)". I don't really care about your opinions and how you were a victim of your parents' poor choices. I am sorry that you had to experience that, but with all due respect, this is forum for nurses in recovery. You said you were not, so please don't come here with your degrading stories. It is a forum to support each other in recovery and to share our frustrations with recovery (monitoring programs and personal struggles).
I have spoke my peace.
- 3Dec 3, '12 by PRICHARILLAisMISSEDQuote from wish_me_luckI didn't realize this topic was restricted to nurses in recovery. I was just navigating the site and ran across it and figured I'd support the OP. BTW I am not being sarcastic. I thought all of the topics were open to anyone.Jaime, I know this going to sound mean, but I will say exactly how I feel. While I respect your experience dealing with addiction in your family, you are not in recovery. I have also read your personal opinions of addicts and people who are in recovery and I don't think you belong in this forum. When I saw your screen name on here, I thought "Oh, Prich... has finally made it to "our" forum to degrade us and tell us how we deserve what we got (which I guess in owning up to it is true)". I don't really care about your opinions and how you were a victim of your parents' poor choices. I am sorry that you had to experience that, but with all due respect, this is forum for nurses in recovery. You said you were not, so please don't come here with your degrading stories. It is a forum to support each other in recovery and to share our frustrations with recovery (monitoring programs and personal struggles). I have spoke my peace.
I apologize for the intrusion, though I'm not sure how my post was anything less than encouraging...
- 6Dec 3, '12 by nursel56 GuideQuote from PRICHARILLAisMISSEDI think your input was encouraging! My own dad was only able to stay sober for a year after his portacaval shunt surgery and died of acute and chronic alcoholism when he was only 59. You were so blessed to have a clean and sober dad!I didn't realize this topic was restricted to nurses in recovery. I was just navigating the site and ran across it and figured I'd support the OP. BTW I am not being sarcastic. I thought all of the topics were open to anyone.
I apologize for the intrusion, though I'm not sure how my post was anything less than encouraging...
There are no entrance requirements to post in any of our forums except those very few that utilize comment moderation like the CRNA forum. If a member finds input offensive they can use the report button, otherwise the only rules are established in the Terms of Service. Thanks for sharing your experience!Last edit by nursel56 on Dec 3, '12 : Reason: add a bit