Hi all, I have a question and I'm not entirely sure where to put it. It's related to my bipolar and history of ETOH abuse... I figure bipolar is a disability, so I'll try here and maybe a few other places? Here is my story, and what I need advice on... I apologize for the length in advance
I was an alcoholic for many years. In 2007, I went to rehab and got sober. I maintained my sobriety until April, 2014. I was very depressed, went out and had a total of 4 drinks. This sent me into a horrible downward spiral. I ended up hospitalized for suicidal ideation. When I came out, I learned of an agency called HAVEN, which was supposed to be support, and advocacy, for impaired health care professionals.
Walking through the door at HAVEN was the worst decision I have ever made in my entire life. I was intimidated, degraded, and overall made to feel worthless. I was basically bullied into signing a contract, and I honestly didn't realize what I was getting into.
For three years, all HAVEN did was send me for random, out of pocket, drug screenings that cost between $60-$90 each.... 36 times a year. They also charged me for their “services.” This consisted of me coming in for quarterly meetings, and being treated like absolute trash every time. Towards the end of the three years, they kept telling me, “three more months, and we will discharge you!”
And they didn't. I ran out of money, had no way to get to an open lab, and honestly just blew off 2 urine tests. So 4 in all. I was frustrated, and disgusted with this program. So it's entirely my fault that the next thing happened.
I came back from vacation in March, 2016, to a letter from the Department of Pubic Health. I needed to meet with them. Again, I signed a contract that I shouldn't have. I voluntarily surrendered my license. The woman lied to me, over and over. Told me it would be three month... after three months, I got in touch. Many times. Was bounced from person to person. Finally, three months later, I am given the opportunity to meet with a lawyer from DPH.
This woman presented me with a 4 year consent order that was worse than what HAVEN had made me do. I refused to sign it, and they brought up formal charges that I am unfit to be a nurse. That I was continually abusing drugs and alcohol. I have not been. I have been sober since April of 2014.
The day of my hearing was absolute hell. The lawyer had so many terrible things to say about me. I was pro se. I thought I would find out the results that day... but no. I found them out months later, when I appeared before the board. I was given one year of probation. Monthly drug/alcohol screens, quarterly practice and employer reports. No home care or assisted living. Okay, much better deal! I thought again, that this would take effect that day.
Nope. It's going to take effect next Wednesday, the 20th. It's finally almost here! So now, it's time to work on that resume and cover letter! Here is what I really need help with: I know I need to take accountability for some of this. But not all. It was a... well... word I can't use here of epic proportions. This all started with 4 drinks, and asking for help. Turned into an absolute nightmare, that I can't believe I'm finally waking up from! I would appreciate any and all advice on wording, content, and anything else for my cover letter. Thank you all in advance!
Sep 12, '17
Hello there, and thanks for joining allnurses!
I can sympathize with you on being dual diagnosed. I have bipolar I and am an abstinent alcoholic (sober for over 25 years). I've been on disability for two and a half years as BP ruined my career. However, it sounds like you've been able to work through all this, and I'm proud of you for hanging in there.
I wouldn't mention your past history in your cover letter, and of course not on your resume. It will, of course, come up during any interviews because of the monitoring program, but don't shoot yourself in the foot by disclosing your issues too soon. You want to get that interview first, where you can present yourself as a professional who just happens to have mental illness for which you are being monitored.
Beyond that, I really can't offer a lot of advice; I just wanted to welcome you to AN and let you know that you're not alone. I hope some other nurses will weigh in here. I haven't worked since April of 2014 and am probably not the best person to tell you how to manage your career.
I wish you the very best of luck as you search for a new job. Viva
Oct 1, '17
In all of this STOP AND GIVE GOD GLORY, for your journey. You have an awesome testimony that someone will need to hear. No matter what you did..... God forgives and loves you in spite of. Just from reading I can tell you're a fighter, so FIGHT. Don't be ashamed of your PAST as it molds and makes us into the wonderful people we are. Be sure to tell your potential employer that YES I messed up but I overcame and HERE I STAND READY TO WIN! Be blessed..... Never be shamed of what is BEHIND YOU!
Oct 2, '17
Approach job hunting as if you had been out of your career for other personal reasons, could be you just wanted a 'hiatus' from the world of work. In other words, don't mention all of this story, either in your cover letters or in your resume. You want the prospective employer to consider hiring a nurse, not a condition. There will be plenty of time to discuss the situation once you get past the first look. Good luck.