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9 days left and I’m terrified

Recovery   (900 Views 5 Comments)
by polRN polRN, ADN (New Member) New Member

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I’m been an ER nurse since 2011. I worked as a tech in my ED from 09’ up until I graduated the RN program in 2011, so I was a shew into a nursing slot. Plus the the people I worked with loved me and I always made them laugh. Working as a nurse was a world changer for me because it was the first time I actually had any kind of real money and as a 22 year old, it was the first open door to grown up life. I loved to have a good time, to be the life of the party, and I loved it even more when the people around me were having a good time. It was almost like some sort of validation to myself, that I was a cool person that everyone loved to be around and was attracted to. I loved the life that is typical for a lot of young 20 somethings where I would go to work and then go out and live it up on my off nights with a huge variety of companions that loved living life just like me. This 100% of the time included drinking copious amounts of alcohol and other substances (very rarely at first). Somewhere down the line, I ended up with 2mg of dilaudid that we had “wasted” from the Pyxis machine in my pocket that a patient (who was a recovering drug addict) had ended up refusing. I actually didn’t thing much of this at the time and had actually forgot I even had it. By the time I got home, I took my scrubs off and the syringe fell onto my bathroom floor and without a second thought, I injected the dilaudid into my butt cheek. I had taken Hydrocodone before and like the care-free, “everything’s gonna be alright” feeling that I got from that so I knew that this would be similar..

The next 2 years, I went on a roller coaster in my life. First very gradual where I would hang on to my narcotic waste from time to time giving myself IM shots every now and then. Then to pocketing waste every single time (which eventually led to outright diverting) and injecting at work as well as when I was off, sometimes several times a night. I was so great at keeping it hidden (I thought), but after a while people around me knew something was different with me. I was good a deflecting suspicion and I worked for a while. I actually stopped using drugs completely for about 6months for fear that I would eventually get caught and told myself, “just drink beer like everyone else”. I did that. But after I while I just felt like everything was so dull and boring. Plus I missed that opioid feeling of euphoria and knowing all the right things to say (folks that have had issues with opiates will understand what I mean). So one night at work, I picked back up. Only this time I decided that IV was the route I needed to go. This was not a wise choice. For the next year I used a ridiculous amount of dilaudid and any other IV opiate pain medication I could get access to. When I didn’t have access or nights that I wasn’t at work, I self medicated with liquor, marijuana, and basically any other prescription that could change the way I feel. 

I’m gonna spare you much more of the long and drawn of details other than I was absolutely miserable and the sadness that I carried on a daily basis I literally can’t put into words. I didn’t know why, but all I did know was that I just wanted people to like me. I found out a time later, that I actually hated myself so much that reason was why it was so important for others to love me. 

Eventually after several instances of creating little disasters and train wrecks in my life, I woke up one morning tired of being sad and lonely. I went to my boss and told her a watered down version of what was going on (relax, I eventually told her the whole truth later when she came to visit in treatment) and she walked me to HR where I self reported and was given the option to go to rehab, which I did. I also self-reported to the BON and entered the recovering nurse program. 

I’m a little over 5 years sober at the time of writing this. In these past five years my entire world is completely different. I’m back in the ED as a charge nurse. I’m married to a woman that loves me and that I love (even thought we had knock down drag outs from time to time as everyone married does). I speak regularly at AA and meetings at treatment facilities. Not a one of my friends from my using days are in my life anymore. And the entire crew I work with in the ED is the same as when I started. Literally I am the only one left. Life is pretty good I suppose despite.

However, I’ve noticed that as I round the ending of the monitoring program, more and more thoughts of using enter my mind once again. Each time I pull a narcotic from the Pyxis or see a beer commercial on TV, I get that same butterfly feeling in my stomach that was once familiar. I have only mentioned this to a couple of people that I’m involved with through AA. I’m afraid that this will scare my wife. I know that these are merely feelings without action and that gives me some comfort. I just pray that all the hard work and self discovery from the last 5 years I don’t destroy when I am left with only myself to hold accountability once the check-ins stop in 9 days.. is this a normal part of completion?? Can anybody give me some insight?

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dirtyhippiegirl has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage.

1 Follower; 1,552 Posts; 29,220 Profile Views

I think it vaguely crossed my mind that I could drink again when I was in the process of completing monitoring but it wasn't terribly persistent, tbh. I've had a few stressful instances in the 2+ years I've been off paper where I wanted to drink but I just play that tape forward - it's not gonna end well - and move on, don't let the thoughts or feelings linger because I am good at being sneaky with my drinking and justifying unjustifiable behaviors to myself.

It's good that you're telling people in real life that you know about these thoughts. Do you feel like you have enough accountability in AA to not slide back into old habits? 

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Hi  polRN

You basically wrote my story here word for word.  I have six months left in the program and I'm also nervous about what will happen.  The only thing I've had is giving it up to my higher power.  Giving up control helped me so far, and I'm hoping it will continue.  It's a miracle that both of us got our careers back.  I know I thought I was finished.  I wish you all the best.

 

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I think this type of post is what makes these forums so important. Hearing that you arent alone in those thoughts is critical to not blaming yourself or thinking you're broken. Addiction has no cure, it is life long, but we can return as normal functioning humans as we stick with our recovery. The structure and looming random test of the program keeps us accountable, but what happens once that's over? When you no longer have someone else telling you no. You can ignore that "just try it once, itll be fine" voice in your head. As you have done with this post, you have to acknowledge it and let it be known so that you can move past it. We go to meetings and find support in others because we cannot always do that alone. I kept my issues hidden from my significant other until I was completely broken by them. Once I opened up and told them everything, I felt such relief. Hiding those fears from your wife can fester and lead into hiding actions fro. her as well. It might be helpful to share what you're worrying about and work on it together. 

Also, no job is worth your sobriety. If you feel as though those thoughts are getting close to action, finding a position that removes narcotics from the everyday workplace might be the best decision you could do for yourself. I wish I would've taken my own advice on that years ago.

You are so strong for having gone through your program and regained your life. Don't let those dark thoughts take away from that. Thoughts and feelings only have the power that you give them.

Best wishes to you.

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335 Posts; 4,735 Profile Views

I am 14 years clean and sober and yes, I sometimes get those thoughts in my head.  But, I talk to someone, hit an extra meeting, etc.  I try to remember the reason I have those thoughts is because of my disease. It is a disease that can have devastating consequences if I do not work every day to tell myself that I do not want to ever go back to that spot in my life.  It helps me to see the entire process through, once that "I can do just a bit" feeling hits.  

For example:

So I have one drink, that leads to another, then another until I am blackout drunk.  I get into my car, drive somewhere, pulled over, go to jail, lose family trust, lose license, lose home, lose car, and I am back at the bottom...

That usually knocks out any thought that I can drink like a normal person.  Do whatever it is that keeps you sober.  Remember that just because the board is no longer looking over your shoulder, you could easily invite them right back into your life!

Congratulations on your sobriety!

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