My past and getting my License


Hey All,

Looking for some advice and wondering if anyone has had a similar experience.

So a little background. I am in my last semester of Nursing school and will graduate this fall. So excited.

But before I started nursing school I went to get my physical where the doctor told me I had a problem with alcohol. The dean ended up finding out and I was sent to another doctor who recommend me to AA. Which turned out to be what I needed and I have been sober now for 2 years and 11 months.

But now I am coming up to time to apply for my license. The application for the California License doesn't ask for past information like mine. They only seem concerned about infractions that occurred while practicing some form of health care, which I do not have. However the application for Montana, which is another state I am looking into specifically asks :

Have you ever been diagnosed with chemical dependency or another addiction, or have you participated in a chemical dependency or other addiction treatment program? If yes, please attach a detailed explanation and provide documentation regarding evaluations, diagnosis, treatment recommendations and monitoring from the source.

This really scares me. I felt as if I had been through a lot to get into and through Nursing school and I have done everything asked of me. I will have no problem getting signed off from my doctor on this now but I am afraid there will be conditions or a stigma about my license before I have even started practicing. At first I was tempted just to mark no on the application but I can't, I really need to be honest.

So I guess I am just looking for some words of encouragement or some advice if anyone has been in similar shoes before. Any help here would be GREATLY appreciated

nowim clean

296 Posts

Work in the state build your time, and keep a record of your AA attendence, stay in contact with your sponsor. Give it a couple of years, be as honest as you have to be without giving something they do not ask for. I am in a AP program in NC for alcohol abuse I self referred, and while I am much healthier and happier sober it is a pain trying to find a job with the restrictions they place on you. If you can work where you are and get some time in maybe the next place will not make you enter their program. Me personally I would stay as far away as possible from any state asking about cd if at all possible.

Specializes in PICU, ICU, Hospice, Mgmt, DON. Has 18 years experience.

I commend you on your sobriety! It's not easy especially with the stress of nursing school added into the mix!

Now, what is very important here is...did you go to treatment at a facility for alcohol detox, alcohol dependence? such as Inpatient treatment or Intensive outpatient therapy?

or did you just go to AA?

Treatment is treatment and AA is considered a support group...SO with that being said, you do not have to answer that you were diagnosed with an addiction...he only recommended you go to AA and you were not TREATED for alcohol AA is not a treatment please do not worry.

There is NO way the BON in either state would find out about this as you were not in treatment, there is no trail...and AA is anonymous...that's the whole idea....I wouldn't even mention that you are going to isn't anyone's business except you and your sponsors....unless you were Board ordered....which of course you weren't as you aren't even licensed yet...there is no reason for anyone to know...

Mark were not treated for alcoholism....this will save you a lot of future trouble with the Board of Nursing.

I am all for honesty....but I don't think you would be dishonest under these circumstances....and above all else...stay sober...



171 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Room.


What kind of doctor was this? IMO if a GP/FP or internist felt that you suffered from the disease of addiciton, then that physician should have referred you to an addiction medicine specialist. You said you went to another doctor who recommended AA. What kind of doctor was that? As diva rn said, AA is NOT a treatment program and under AA's blueprint for sobriety, no one can diagnose you with alcoholism except YOU. If I was filling out that application, I would answer NO. Being referred for specialty consult on a potential health problem does not mean that you will be found to have an actual health problem. The second doctor did not send you for inpatient or even intensive outpatient treatment, right? Did he Rx Antabuse? Other meds? If he just told you to go to AA, then I am inclined to think that he wanted you to explore for yourself if your drinking was a problem. Did he want you to follow up with him in a month? Six months? A year? Is your alcoholism being managed by anything other than AA's 12 Steps? If you can say no to these questions, then I think you can answer no to that question in good faith.

All the best to you...ODAAT....

Karl Farmer

308 Posts

Specializes in LTC, MDS, plasmapheresis. Has 25 years experience.

Since your school knows- and I'll ask you how that happened?, the BON will probably find out somehow. Other than that- if you are treated for anything using insurance, it's possible your health history is being reported and is available. The webite is the place to start to look to see what health information is out there. Allegedly, they only gather personal information from individual's applying for individual health policies, but that is not the case. Sort of like a credit reporting agency, and if you are denied a health plan, you are entitled to a free copy. But like evrything else, there really is no privaccy left.


114 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

Find an attorney. In my humble opinion, the first physician you visited had no business releasing personal health information without your approval. Yes, his lack of confidentiality may have saved your life, but it may have also **** your career. There may have been a better way to get you sober without screwing you in the... (well, you know...) For some of us, our whole identity centers around our work. Good luck anyway.

Terra RN, could you send me a pm, you seem like you have a lot of information about this situation in this post and i have a similar situation and though you may be of some help. Im new on the boards(as of today) and haven't quite figured out how to send a pm