My Name is Susan - page 5

My name is Susan, and I'm an alcoholic. I'm also a registered nurse, hold a bachelor's degree in Human Services, and a Masters in Human Service Administration. I have diabetes, a cirrhotic liver, and... Read More

  1. by   nellydelly
    I have not been addicted to anything major(in the conventional sense of the word) nor have I had to deal with a close person who has. However, I think I can understand and completely agree with what you say in this article. Human beings can be cruel through conscious or unconscious effort. My experience in the past was that I was such an over zealous Christian that I missed out on what is at the very essence of Christianity - love thy neighbor . Short and simple. The bible did not go further to explain what kind of person we should love, just everybody with their good, their bad and their addictions. Luckily for me, I became a believer in a church that helped me to mature enough to realize the pettiness of judgement . Now when I look back, I realize how stupid I must have looked, presenting myself as a Christian . yet in the same breath being so judgmental. Luckily for me and all those who could have been my patients God did not place me in a situation where I could excercise judgement on a patient. I know how much more sensitive patients are to the body language of healthcare workers. I pray that if one day I become a nurse, that I be one that makes a conscious effort not to judge others.
  2. by   calicomist
    Congrats on your sobriety! What is in the healthcare biz are tons of earth people. I hate to say it, but some positions in the healthcare field don't require much education, so there is gossip and judgment. I would think that would be changed. Just requiring a six week class to earn a certification does not provide an adequate healthcare education. Even very educated people pick up habits of uneducated people when they are around them for hours at a time. I know people in a program that do not discuss their sobriety because of this. Also, there is so much fear over litigation, you could be seen as a liability, which is silly. I would just stop talking about it. There are things I keep to myself when working that mean the world to me, but things are twisted so much and turned into gossip that it takes less effort to keep it to myself than the energy required for damage control. The world isn't perfect, and sounds like you have a unique perspective that makes you a wonderful nurse, and hospitals do need social workers who care and are good at their job, so I wouldn't let it boiher me. We can't change the world. If the world was perfect, there wouldn't be a need for nurses. Hang in there-don't give up!
  3. by   freesia98
    Congrats on your milestones in sobriety. I hope for "forever sobriety" for you. With that said I have to wonder why so many of your co-workers, etc know so much about your personal life. One of the first rules of work is to not bring information into the workplace that could potentially harm/undermine your relationships. Just as we have boundries with patients, we must have boundries with co-workers. No it does not need to be a secret, but it is work not a social event. If you are finding that much negative feedback, you are sharing too much information. You have been sober for a very long time, there is no need to dwell on the type of negativity that your admissions have produced. That is fodder for gossip amongst them and from your letter, leaves you feeling untrusting of them. They are getting too much information from you. Be proud in a group (other AA, family and personal friends) that knows your struggles. Best wishes and good luck to you.
    Last edit by freesia98 on Apr 10, '13 : Reason: misspell
  4. by   Preeps
    I do agree that most of us have varying degrees of addiction. Some much worse and destructive than others. Mine is caffiene and maybe chocoloate. That said I do take issue with your reference to people having an addiction to, as you put it, "god."
    Maybe you are not a believer but to put down others in this manner is pretty classless IMO.
  5. by   lgail
    Being a recovering addict with 7 yrs sober myself, I have run into this mindset also. I educate people the best I can, but it goes in one ear and out the other. It almost seems that people don't want to know how devastating this disease can be-that as long as they don't understand it, they can continue to cast stones.
    Thank you for sharing, and continue to be happy, joyous and free.
  6. by   jtmarcy12
  7. by   jtmarcy12
    Bravo Bravo!! My heart goes out to you Susan!! Again it is so sad that we as nurses can't be compassionate to each other. But for those same people who are judging I always say 'IF WALLS COULD TALK"!!.
    You have written a beautiful letter I wish all of the nursing instructors could share with their students and each nurse will examine herself when she/he read this. It may not be alcohol, drugs, but what about food, gambling, promiscuity, indecent behavior,physical abuse, verbal abuse on family members, hatred, murder, stealing the list can go on some of us will find ourselves with one or more of some label that we may not want others to know about, but God Knows. So I hope that we can learn to began to be truly compassionate to all!
  8. by   MahzieLPN
    I will add my "congratulations, Susan" to those you've already accumulated. The judgment you have faced at work is unconscionable; how dare any other put herself/himself on a pedestal when they, too, are human? "Judge not lest though be judged. . ." I try to remember that when faced with unknown or uncomfortable situations. Undoubtedly, I have inadvertently judged as well, but the effort NOT TO is definitely in my thought process.

    Keep up the good work with your sobriety - it is SO worth it, as you already know.
  9. by   astanton10
    Thank you for sharing Susan. I have been in recovery from drugs since my life came crashing to a halt a few years ago. My disease led me to getting fired, having my car stolen, waking up while walking down the middle of a busy road, losing my apartment, losing all of my friends, and a cascade of different tragedies. None of these were "the bottom" for me. No one could tell me that I had to get clean because my disease tells me that I do not have a problem and am not worth trying to fix any problem I might have. I am truly blessed to have had a higher power watching out for me all of that time. Otherwise, I would not be here. There is simply no other explanation as to why I am still alive. However, I know that I was dead in every way possible, except physically for every reason. I've learned that there are a lot of kinds of death, mental, spiritual, and emotional, and I experienced all of those with only one to go.

    I currently work as a nurse and am truly grateful to do so. I hear a lot of insensitivity from co-workers towards people just like me. I know that it is just a defense mechanism that some people must use to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue. I work with those who suffer from addiction as patients and I think that sometimes it is even harder for me than for people who do not have the disease. It is hard for all of us because it is like watching a car about to crash where you keep trying to call the driver but they do not want to answer the phone.

    The way I deal with insensitive co-workers in any regard is to buck the stereotypes and, no matter what they say about whatever form addictions takes (food, cigarettes, relationships, drugs (including alcohol), shopping), I just say, "It is a disease" or something similar. I do not talk about my disease in detail with those I work with in general as it blurs a line for me.

    One of the most awful and beautiful experiences I have ever had was when one of my patients died from an overdose of one of my "drugs of choice." She was about the same build as me, same hair color, same eye color. It was like reading my own autopsy if I choose to let me disease win again. I cried and then realized how grateful I was/am to be alive.

    Here's the kicker. I am now amazingly grateful to suffer from the disease of addiction. Other diseases are treated with pills, blood tests, surgery, injections, etc. MY disease is treated with friends, and meetings (with my friends), traveling to new meetings (to meet new friends), going to conventions about recovery (all over the world), working on internal peace (through the 12 steps, which is a service that many life coaches actually charge people for), prayer, meditation, and crazy fun things like rafting, dancing, skydiving, jumping off cliffs, kayaking, riding rides at the fair, camping in Michigan in September (brrrr), and the list goes on.

    If any of you have questions or comments/criticisms on my journey, I would be more than happy to share my experience, strength, and hope to carry the message. I know there are more nurses just like me out there, but I also know how hard it is to get honest in this field because of EXACTLY what the author said.

    That is my 2 (or 4) cents. Much love and thanks for the chance to share!
  10. by   croundtree2
    WOW so true. If we all could understand this article the world would be a better place.
  11. by   suejgee
    If this comment was addressed to me, the author, I didn't say anything about God. If you weren't referring directly to the article, my apologies.
  12. by   suejgee
    The negativity has not been directed toward me, freesia, but toward the patients. I'm well aware that work is not a social event, and I am quite proud of my recovery. I share my struggle with people who have a negative attitude towards addicted individuals so that perhaps they can recognize a little caring and consideration can go a long way in assisting a patient on a road to recovery, rather than making them feel more worthless than they already do. My article was in no way a "pity party" for myself, it's about raising awareness in terms of the profound effect attitude and words can have on the people we're charged with taking care of.
  13. by   suejgee
    Glad to see you're out there and doing well. There are far more of us than people really want to know about.