Introduction post!!!

Published

I've been a member of AN for a while, haven't posted for most of that time, and never thought I would be posting to the recovery section, but here I am!

So, hi everyone. I'm in NJ's Recovery & Monitoring Program, which I know has gotten some heat, but for me it has honestly been a life saver. I was losing my grip on life because of my addiction to alcohol, and if I hadn't entered RAMP I don't know where I would be today. For all the complaining and hatred that I felt when I started the program, I can see today that it really did save my life.

I think I kind of got lucky with RAMP. I entered about five months ago, had to inactivate my license. By the time I started with RAMP I had already entered a treatment program, so I kind of got the ball rolling a little bit early I guess. I am involved with AA, volunteer on committees and help out with events, finished my 90/90, and now I'm leading a couple meetings and go on speaking commitments because AA is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I want others to hear that.

In the last five months, I've been compliant with everything, not missed a check-in, no positive screens, and by the grace of God, this past week I got both my license and my old job back. It's been a hell of a ride, and I owe it to nothing other than God and hard work. I'm not happy for the road that I took to get here, and I'm not happy for everything that I have to fix from this point forward--as a lot of you are familiar with, I really dug myself into a terrible financial hole over the last few years, and I really don't know if I see a way out even with returning to work. But I'm grateful, and I'm not afraid anymore.

So, with that out of the way, I am absolutely terrified of getting a false-positive EtG. One of the nurses in my peer support group actually works in the same facility that I do, and said that she hasn't had a false positive and constantly uses the same hand sanitizer that is stocked on my units, but I just can't shake the fear. I really try to avoid using hand sanitizer at all, but you know there are just moments where there's not enough time to sing happy birthday with your hands in the sink. Of course I try not to let the fear of false-positives run my life, but I haven't been around products that could put me at risk for a false-positive until I returned to work so I guess it's a new experience, and with that a new fear.

Long post, so I guess I'll cut off there. I'm really glad I found this forum, I think it's exceptionally hard to be a nurse in recovery, especially considering how our enrollment in "voluntary" monitoring programs considerably reorganizes all of our priorities. But really it's one day at a time, and I pray every day that things will get better. Thanks for taking the time to read my story.

LibertyTX

74 Posts

I have heard that you would have to bathe in or drink hand sanitizer in order to come up positive for EtG. I had to use it once or twice in desperate situations while I was being monitored, and it scared the heck out of me. I never came up positive, but I don't think you should risk it if at all possible. Oh, also there are alcohol free hand sanitizers out there. You could buy some and bring it to work.

SororAKS, ADN, RN

1 Article; 720 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU/CCU, Open Heart OR Recovery, Etc. Has 12 years experience.

I did as much as I could to eliminate sources of alcohol like hand sanitizer, even deodorant and toothpaste have alcohol so I had to change brands of those. I did go through a brief period where I was worried about it, but figured if I honestly tried to eliminate every source there had to be a point where I let it go. Thus far I haven't been informed of a positive EtG.

That said, I get where you are coming from.

There are a lot of things that one hears from different sources that can really stress one out. I think that is one of the lessons of doing something like this, to learn when to let go if you have done everything you can to comply.

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

4 Articles; 4,689 Posts

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 21 years experience.
I have heard that you would have to bathe in or drink hand sanitizer in order to come up positive for EtG. I had to use it once or twice in desperate situations while I was being monitored, and it scared the heck out of me. I never came up positive, but I don't think you should risk it if at all possible. Oh, also there are alcohol free hand sanitizers out there. You could buy some and bring it to work.

1st if you must use hand sanitizer hold your hands away from your face and do not breath in the fumes. Research done by Dr. Skipper of ETG fame has shown that inhalation of the fumes causes the alcohol to get into the lung beds and excrete through the Kidney's thus causing positive ETg in some people. I rarely if ever use it and have become quite adept as washing my hands quickly and efficiently. I have done some reading on Hand sanitizers and their long term effect on immune function (which is not good) in fact "Aggressive Hygiene" has been identified as a contributing factor in the development of MDRO's. Plus patients really love it when you wash your hands.

Hppy

LibertyTX

74 Posts

I've read that, too, about breathing the fumes. When I had to use hand sanitizer the couple of times when in monitoring, I held my hands far from my face until they were dry. I really worried in the beginning about what other nurses would say about me not using hand sanitizer. No one ever said anything, but I had decided that if it were to come up, I'd just tell them that I'm highly allergic.

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

4 Articles; 4,689 Posts

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 21 years experience.
I've read that, too, about breathing the fumes. When I had to use hand sanitizer the couple of times when in monitoring, I held my hands far from my face until they were dry. I really worried in the beginning about what other nurses would say about me not using hand sanitizer. No one ever said anything, but I had decided that if it were to come up, I'd just tell them that I'm highly allergic.

Well I was working at a facility that hired a lot of Diversion nurses - so infection control was aware. The standard answer if asked by co-workers was Allergies.

hppy

thisismyname

9 Posts

Thanks for the feedback. I think going forward I'm really just not going to use hand sanitizer at all to save the headache.

Specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage. Has 8 years experience.
Thanks for the feedback. I think going forward I'm really just not going to use hand sanitizer at all to save the headache.

You can buy non-alcoholic hand sanitizer at the pharmacy. It wouldn't be approved by your hospital so you can't use it in place of traditional sanitizer but you could probably use it in addition to, or if you sanitize in your free time lol. ;)

CryssyD

222 Posts

I can relate to the hand sanitizer paranoia--I felt the same way; me, I just didn't use it, washed my hands constantly instead. I just wasn't willing to risk a false positive, as it was made very clear to us in the program that no excuses would be accepted for positive screens.

The program itself I hated, but I totally agree about the group--NA is a lifesaver, and I am so, so happy that the program made me go. It has taught me so much, and I have met the most amazing people--it's been awesomely wonderful! The whole recovery process has been one of the best things that ever happened to me, too. Isn't it amazing, it was there the whole time, but I never knew--we try to reach out, but people just don't hear until they're ready, I guess. So glad you are doing well--keep it up!

dec2007

1 Article; 508 Posts

To thisismyname: good for you for all you have done to make your life better!!! God bless!!!!