Tough Love or Neglect? The Carnage of Drug Addicted Nurses
One thing I have learned about loving a drug addict, is that you are always expecting ‘THE CALL’.
Death, overdose or suicide?
As I wrote about in Why Bad Drugs Happen to Good Nurses, my best friend is a drug addict.
Yesterday I got THE CALL, and it was none of the three things that I thought it would be. She isn’t dead, and she didn’t overdose. (Thank you, God.)
She finally got caught. She is a nurse. Finally someone took a look at the narcotics and noticed that everything was off. Entire narcotics sheets were missing.
She immediately confessed everything. They fired her and made a police report. I’m not surprised that this facility did not offer one iota of help.
I don’t feel like I have the right to be angry at the management for not helping her in any way, after all, she did steal from them.
I am, though.
It was never a secret to anyone that she was a ‘recovering addict.’. She literally had every single sign and symptom that a drug user displays (falling asleep at work, erratic behavior, obvious physical neglect).
How can so many narcotics be taken for so long without someone noticing?
As with everything, I blame myself for some of it. For so long she would escape to my house to hang out. She was so very rarely off work, but on her day off, she used my home as an escape from cleaning her home, her car, or dealing with any of her issues. I would never be invited to her house. There was no place to sit, no cups to drink in, no dishes to eat on. Just filth everywhere. (I had thoroughly cleaned it several times and eventually gave up keeping it clean.)
I reached my breaking point with her, though. I simply COULD NOT sit back and keep being an enabler for her constant drug use and her negligence toward her entire life.
I refused to see her. I wouldn’t let her come over. I barely talked to her. She begged to come over and I wouldn’t budge, I told her that she needed to start taking responsibility for her life.
After getting caught and fired for stealing narcotics, she admitted herself into rehab. She called EVERY single detox/rehab in our state. They all wanted money. Lots of money. One detox asked her to mortgage her house to pay for her treatment. Thankfully, a kind angel found a place for her.
When I spoke to her today, she sounded groggy, exhausted, her voice was weak and broken. She was worried about losing her home, her family, her nursing license and the possibility of jail time.
You might say that she deserved all of this. “Karma is a bitch” and “you reap what you sow”.
Please remember, nurses cannot reach out. They can’t go to their bosses and tell them they are addicts, they cannot explain that they need more accountability for all of the responsibility that is given to them.
I do wonder if this is her rock bottom. Has she lost enough? Was it because I was such a hard ass friend and I wouldn’t let her vent to me, so she used more?
DID I MAKE HER ADDICTION WORSE? Is there something that I could have done to help her, before it reached this point?
For my own self preservation, I drew a line. Now I wonder if I drew it too deeply, too harshly. I honestly did not know what to do since her addiction had gotten so bad. I had just had enough, and I could no longer sit there and listen, and watch her throw her life away.
The phone call was actually a relief. I feel like I can breathe easier knowing that someone is monitoring her, and that she is getting the mental and physical help that she has needed for so very long. I also wonder how much I should help on her road to recovery. I cannot be the enabler anymore.
Perhaps it’s not actual rock bottom yet, but when she gets out and has no job, license and a felony charge, the day will arrive. I am financially not able to help at all, and I just can’t help her and her family if they become homeless. Life is so hard for everyone already It will be hard to survive as a recovering addict who has lost everything in these uncertain times full of people who just want to throw rocks and hate anyone who is weak.
When she calls from rehab, I tell her I love her. I play her favorite songs, (no music allowed in detox) and I listen to her whimper as her actions begin to really set in.
As for me, I keep a steady watch on the line between helping and being used. Her addiction is not my addiction. I will not hold on to the huge, stinky bag of guilt that keeps presenting itself. I’m simply holding too many already.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, visit https://www.crisistextline.org or Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime. Crisis Text Line is here for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds.