As a recovering alcoholic who also suffers from mental illness, I can barely see this thread for all the red flags in the OP. To be honest, the first paragraph told me pretty much everything I needed to know. I've heard it before. I've said
it before. And it's all a load of bunk.
I am not saying that you're an alcoholic. I AM saying that you have a drinking problem
. NO ONE who uses alcohol in a normal fashion drinks before work for "anxiety". There are plenty of other ways to cope with the discomfort, both pharmaceutical and 'natural'. It also does not matter that you "don't drink often"; the fact of the matter is, you use alcohol irresponsibly and you are lying to yourself---and us.
I used to go as long as a year between drinking binges; I was also a high-functioning working mother and Jaycees president who sometimes conducted the 0700 breakfast meetings hung over out of my gourd. I later learned that the drinking was more than likely a form of self-medication for what was then undiagnosed manic depression.
But 22 years ago, I came to understand that I was indeed an alcoholic, even though I could go months without touching a drop and I never drank in the morning, let alone before work. And I wasn't even a nurse then. I didn't have peoples' lives in my hands, people who were depending on me to be sharp and fully capable of acting quickly in an emergency. You may not think
ETOH has an effect on your reflexes or thought processes, but anyone who uses it can be impaired long before s/he reaches a state of intoxication. As a nurse, you should know that. And I'm reasonably sure you do. How would you feel if you found out your nurse, or your child's
nurse, was drinking before she came on duty?
Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I want you to understand that your problem is not with the psychologist who 'ratted you out', so to speak. Nor can you blame everything on your PTSD, although alcohol problems are interrelated with other mental illnesses and they certainly complicate each other.
You need to self-report, not just because your hospital will do it for you (or because it's the right thing to do), but because you are going to need all the support you can get to acknowledge your alcohol problem and obtain the proper treatment. I suspect you came to us because you know deep down that something is wrong. Please consider the advice you've received, and realize that when more than one person is telling you something, it's time to listen up.
I do wish you the best. I know how tough this road is and wouldn't want anyone
to go through some of the things I have. But the good news is, recognizing that you have a problem in the first place is half the battle won.