15 years into sobriety, I have taken the first step (pun intended) and applied to two separate nearby nursing schools, a nine month LPN program and a two year RN program, here in Panama City. My test scores were solid. I also have several outstanding recommendations from local healthcare professionals, and an extensive history of volunteer work with the local detox and rehabs. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be meeting academic advisers, counselors, and a selection committee.
And I have questions concerning my past and how that might affect my future.
I wanted honest opinions on how upfront and in depth about my past I should be. My bottom was extremely low - homelessness, mental illness, jail. While, I'm open about being a recovering alcoholic, I generally don't go into great detail about my past to people outside the rooms or recovery.
"Why did you drop out of college?", "Why did you get out of the military?", "Have you ever had a DUI or similar conviction?", Any single question about my past and my alcoholism is out of the bag. Any follow up question only continues to reinforce the fact that, even though, I have 15 years of sobriety, I was and still am an alcoholic.
While I consider my struggles with alcoholism and mental illness as one of the greatest assets I could possibly have as a nurse in the addiction/chemical dependency field, I understand others, not in recovery, may not view my experiences in the same light.
I was curious what experiences others in recovery in the nursing community have had and if they had advice.
Isn't it sad how a nurse who has overcome the disease of chemical dependency is looked down upon with such disdain, while a nurse who has overcome other chronic, progressive diseases is held up as a "shining example" for all to admire?
This sad state of affairs is a result of ignorance regarding the disease of addiction. When we lack understanding about almost anything, we base our decisions and actions on what I call "the 3 Ms of Addiction", Myth, Misbelief, and Misinformation.
Congratulations on your 15 years of recovery! You have much to be proud of, regardless of the outcome with these 2 programs! Answer all questions truthfully, but do your best to answer only the question asked (man is THAT difficult!). I consult with a license defense attorney and it's amazing how frequently our clients provide all sorts of information that has nothing to do with the question asked. Each time you have an interview, do your best to remember as many questions asked and then practice answering ONLY that question. Remember, providing all sorts of information to "set up" your answer (meaning to justify why you did something) isn't required. If the person needs additional information after answering the original question in a concise fashion, they'll ask additional questions. I think we all have "verbal diarrhea" when it comes to this scenario...you're not alone. Practice interviewing with a friend in recovery who has gone through similar interviews (job or school). Then have them help you narrow your answers down to the pertinent facts. As Sgt. Joe Friday used to say on "Dragnet", "Just the facts, ma'am (or sir), just the facts."
Last edit by jackstem on Jun 18, '11
: Reason: punctuation