Heightening anxiety with ISNAP

Nurses Recovery


a little background first..

i am a new nurse as of july, and i have been working on the same floor at a hospital for 2 years (started as a cna). when i first started nursing school i was in a car accident one night, that resulted in a dui. i am very lucky that i lived, and more importantly, very grateful that i didn't kill or hurt anyone else. i jumped right back into school and work within 2 weeks. i completed the 6 months of probation, alcohol classes and probationary drivers license with no problems. when i applied for my rn license i was fully aware that i would have to disclose this dui, and possibly have some sort of monitoring put in place. i have never had any problems at work..i've never been late, i get along with all of my coworkers and director...i love what i do. i have never been in trouble with the law before this incident.

the day i met with the board i was completely honest about everything, and now part of me wishes i wouldn't have been. i told them about my accident, and when she asked me if i still drink i said once in awhile...in more detail 2-3 beers about twice a month. right away i knew i was screwed. the reply she gave me was "you blew your car up?....and you still drink?" i can still picture her face as she said this. my heart fell as i tried to explain that i do not drink and drive at all, or even get into a car with someone that drinks. there was no explaining, she already had her mind made up...

fast forward to now. i just finished 1 month of a year of monitoring, doing the urine tests and meetings, and i am a complete mess. i've had to change my wedding date for next year, i couldn't imagine having to take a urine test on my wedding day, and putting a vacation request in for a honeymoon. i have had to change my medication. i have a panic disorder and have been on a very low dose of xanax..which i am no longer able to take after signing this agreement. i have tried a couple other non-benzo drugs...they just give me nasty side effects. i gave up on experimenting. the meetings aren't so bad, very nice people....but some days i feel like i am being treated like a drug addict. it is very depressing to me that i have to do this for another 11 months.

i can see where this can help a person with an actual substance-addiction problem, but i don't feel like i fall into this category. i made a bad decision one night, that i normally wouldn't do. it was an accident, on my own time. i regret it more than anything in my life and would take it back in a heartbeat if i could. i feel like i am being punished for becoming a nurse.

i am just very discouraged, embarrassed, overwhelmed...this whole thing has made my anxiety go through the roof. i just want control over my own life again, i feel like i'm losing a year of my life to isnap.


Specializes in ICU,CCU,Med/Surg,LTC.


I am currently in month 7 of a 3 year contract with ISNAP. I self-reported to ISNAP for a secret drinking problem I had and wanted help for. From what I have seen and heard, gone are the days of having a DUI and sliding past the board without some kind of monitoring agreement through ISNAP. I say this because I know nurses who had previous DUI's and were allowed to go on to be licensed without ramification.

I know you probably don't want to hear this, but you did the right thing by being honest. I can see the BON's point. They're asking themselves "Why would a person who had a DUI that involved being in an accident(and being injured? Blowing up their car?) continue to drink at all?"

As far as getting time off for your wedding/honeymoon....if you are in compliance with them they should grant you the time off. They allowed me to take several days off in a row this past summer for an out of state vacation.

It sounds like you are still working. Is your license on probation? Since you are still working you can count that as a huge blessing since so many nurses end up losing their jobs over these things. I know that I am grateful to have never had to stop working as a nurse.

As far as the no-Xanax...well, I don't know. Maybe at the six month point you can get your counselor, work-site monitor, sponsor, etc. to petition for early release from your contract providing you are in compliance.

You will get through this. When I first got my 3 year contract...I briefly thought my life was over. It's not. You have a one year contract...once you get past the initial shock and feeling of injustice it will get better and the year will be over with before you know it.

I wish you the best!

okay, take a deep breath & be grateful for the blessings in your life. one year will fly by. my first year is almost over. most of us have 2 years- & many have 5. & i, like you, are very fortunate to still have a job. many nurses in recovery cannot find jobs as nurses. i don't fret about the things i have to do to stay in compliance- i just fit them into my life & get on with it, & am very grateful to be able to do so & still have an unemcumbered nursing license. i don't have a problem with anxiety (anymore!!)- but i think if i did i would explore all nonmedical means of managing it. be grateful for the blessings in your life, one year will be gone before you know it! you can do this!!

My license is on indefinite probation, so does that mean I will have to petition out of that also? I am very lucky that I have a understanding unit director, she was more than willing to be able to send in my quarterly reports, and my job was never in jeopardy.

Thank you for the responses. I might be over-reacting, but it is all so new to me, and just feels unfair. I don't feel like this every day, I mainly have good days where I can tell myself I will be fine and I will get through it. There are just some days where I just break down and feel very overwhelmed.

I did not know that you could try to petition out early, i never thought of that being an option. I only have a work-site monitor (my unit director) which I know she would be willing to petition, I hope that maybe after 6 months or so I can try to get out. I know that there is only good from this program, I just don't feel that it is for me. I don't mind not drinking, it does not bother me. I am just naturally a busy person...so when they throw random drug screens and mandatory meetings into my agenda I start to freak out a little.

Im a strong person, Ive been through a lot so I know I will be fine. I just needed to vent and it was nice to hear some responses, thank again

Atenolol has done wonders for my anxiety. I was on low dose clonazepam for over 15 years. It was a difficult transition but not impossible.

As far as job availability, I believe that once the economy bounces back, so will the demand for nurses. Even those of us with blemished records will work again. In the interim, get work wherever you can.

Don't lose hope. Stay sober and you will succeed. I am from southern Indiana and I know how lousy our job prospects are. Look at random drops as opportunities to show that you have conquered your drug of choice... You can beat addiction and so can your peers.

Lots of love, All Over Again

Specializes in LTC, Psych, Med/Surg.

Thank you all over again :yeah:

Catmom :paw:

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