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[ Personal Narratives ]

“Nursing My Addiction”: Life As A Nurse In Recovery

I never chose this. I don’t remember as a young child ever once having a desire to be an addict. I didn’t dream of the depths to which I would sink to feed this monster. “When I grow up, I’m gonna be a nurse, so I can steal drugs from work and get high in the bathroom”. No. Quite the opposite, I had an alcoholic for a father, so I was rather determined to make something more of myself. I used to want to ask him what was so bad about his life that he had to drink every single day? Little did I know then that my question could only be answered through the recovery process from my own addiction. 

I can remember the loneliness. The isolation. Even when I wasn’t alone, there was this disconnect that was constantly present. I felt different. Less than. Apart from. Unless I was using. Then, I could numb the feelings of inadequacy enough so as not to care. I could tolerate myself. I didn’t love me, so there was no fucking way that you were going to either. I was a fraud, inept in every way. I could not bring myself to place any value on my life, and so began my love affair with opiates.

It’s funny to me how addiction works. It tricks you into believing that you’re in control until you aren’t anymore. By the time you realize this, it’s too late. It has you in its grip. Then the lies begin to evolve. It tells you to go ahead, take some pills from your mom’s medicine cabinet. She won’t miss them. Go ahead, steal those drugs from work. You’re too smart to get caught. Go ahead, show up to your husband’s funeral high. Your kids won’t notice. And just because I killed your husband, doesn’t mean that I’ll do the same to you. Go ahead. So, like every other addict, I listened to those lies. I believed them. I clung to them because I couldn’t face the reality of what I had become. 

I’d like to say that I had a moment of clarity, and that went into treatment by my own devices. That was not the case. I had been caught in the lies, and had no other choice. Looking back, getting caught was the best worst thing that ever happened to me. It needed to happen that way. I had to be forced to look at the truths about myself and my addiction. In treatment, I learned to like myself. For the first time in my life, I was making myself and my wellbeing a priority. I still struggle with this today, but I know where I’ll eventually end up if I don’t take care of myself. 

Recovery for me has been somewhat of a roller coaster. Life on life’s terms still royaly pisses me off some days. They aren’t all good days, but they aren’t supposed to be. I don’t think that I would truly be able to enjoy a great day in sobriety if they were. Being able to take life as it comes, and knowing that I’ll come out the other side of it stronger gives me hope. It’s the one thing that prevails.