Surprised at feelings of guilt and shame with drug test results

Nurses Recovery


I start a new job on Monday and last Tuesday had to take a pre-employment urine drug screen. On Thursday, I receive a phone call from my new supervisor, who states he is concerned because he was contacted by the impairment division (it's a state job) and my drug test came back positive as it was too dilute. I've been taking monthly drug screens as part of my requirements for my monitoring agreement since July 2008 and have always drank a lot of water prior to taking my test. This is because the second month I had to go test, I didn't drink enough water and had to sit in the lab for almost 2 hours, waiting to be able to pee (they only allowed me 6 tiny cups of water over the 2 hours). I wanted to make sure I never had to do that again and since then, drink about a liter of fluid an hour or two before going to the lab.

When my supervisor told me the urine was too dilute, I immediately felt this overwhelming sense of guilt and shame. I felt almost dirty, like I was trying to cover something up. I didn't like feeling this way and in turn, I became angry at myself for having those feelings. I just celebrated a year of sobriety on June 30 and am very proud of where I am today. These feelings were a real surprise and very unexpected. I tried talking to my husband about my fears and he didn't understand. His attitude was "Are you clean? Yes? Then what are you worried about?". I know this could have resulted in the state taking back their offer of employment and only by the grace of God was I allowed to repeat the test. I was told by several different people, including my supervisor, that they normally just tell you "no" on employment with no second chance. I know God had a plan and I learned several lessons that day.

And funny how things work, because to my knowledge, drinking all this water has never been a problem for my monthly urine tests for the Board of Nursing. Fast forward to Friday; I receive a letter in the mail from the Board of Nursing. It states that 3 of my drug screens this year (January, May, July) have come back with a creatinine clearance too low and that my urine was too dilute, resulting in a "positive" result. Thank God I already talked to my sponsor, as well as another nurse in the program, about the pre-employment situation. The nurse told me that she had 4 drug screens in her first year under contract come back as too dilute and they had her see an MD to ensure there was nothing physiologically wrong. She wasn't eating and drinking too much water prior to testing. So I didn't freak out when I received the letter and will call the Board on Monday to discuss the issue.

I am just so suprised at how quickly the guilty, shameful feelings arose within me. And the anger and resentment that came to the surface when I kept saying to myself how I was doing everything right and things are still going wrong. It's that old "poor me" attitude and I'm glad I was able to stop it before it really got started. I learned how to pick up the phone to call others in recovery and discuss how I was feeling. The phone is a HUGE obstacle for me and I absolutely detest having to call people. But I told myself how on earth would I be able to call my sponsor at a time when I felt like using if I couldn't even call her with this issue? So I picked up the phone and dialed. Also, calling another nurse in the program helped tremendously. I was able to talk with her in great length about my situation and it was a relief to hear she experienced the same thing during her first year under contract.

I repeated my drug test on Thursday and made sure to only drink about 300ml of water an hour before testing. My urine was nice and yellow so hopefully, it won't be a problem. Usually my samples are very, very pale...almost clear. In any case, it's in God's hands now and I will start work on Monday with a clear head and knowing I handled the situation well because of my recovery, the program, and my Higher Power.

subee, MSN, CRNA

1 Article; 5,354 Posts

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired.

It's great that you've learned to identify a self-defeating behavior, label it, do something positive about it and move on. How could you possible NOT feel shame and guilt? Its been incorporated into who you are (or better, who you were). But you're dealing creatively with an entirely normal emotion. You go, Life is Good 73!

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