Behind the White Coat

By Boozemusings Co... 05/10/18
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I think helping people has always been a calling. As a young girl I knew that I wanted to go into a helping profession. I chose medicine and have been a primary care provider for most of my adult life,

Eventually I realized that I have another calling as well. It saddens me to say that calling is wine.

At first this calling was a mere whisper but over time that whisper became a loud and monotonous roar. A roar that came on every single night without fail. The only way to silence this was to pour myself a nice glass of wine. That nice glass was almost always followed by 3-4 more glasses. Those ladder glasses were not what I would call "nice". I would wake up feeling foggy, work all day taking care of people and come home to do this again.

About 3 years ago, things with me really changed.That change came in the form of at least one weekly blackout and was associated with significant personality changes while drinking.That's when things started to get scary. Alcohol was now in the drivers seat. This pattern continued for 3 very long years.

Now you may be thinking boy, this is a health care provider, she should know better. Oh, logistically I did know better, I just didn't care. Such is the nature of alcohol abuse. We know better, but that doesn't matter.

Day in and day out I would deal with other peoples issues surrounding alcohol.

If a patient told me they were a "social drinker" I thought to myself "yup, so am I". That was up until the point that patient let me know that they drank maybe 1 - 2 times per month, and only when they went out. "Social drinker"...me ...Yeah right.

Then there were the patients who had real problems with alcohol. The ones who came in asking for help. The ones whose loved ones came in asking for help. Surely, in my mind I wasn't like that. Surely I wasn't "that bad". In reality, oh yes, I was that bad. That's the beauty of denial. We can twist our versions of reality however we would like to. We can twist our truths to allow us to continue on with this kind of self inflicted abuse.

One year ago I realized that this had to stop. This elevator known as alcohol abuse was only going down and I desperately needed to find a way to hop off. On a stroke of luck I found the online community Hello Sunday Morning. https://www.hellosundaymorning.org/who-we-are/#our-story
I was terrified at first to log on and ask for help as asking for help would require admitting that I was weak . To my utter surprise this leap of faith was a real life changer . By reaching out I found a community of wonderful people also striving for sobriety and with them I began to heal.

In my medical practice I have changed my approach to alcohol.

If someone is complaining about fatigue I ask them about substance abuse. If someone has anxiety or depression I ask them about substance abuse. If someone merely walks into my clinic I ask them about substance abuse. They may not want to talk about it due to the stigma and the shame that they may be feeling, but I want to let them know that if they want to open up I will listen. I will listen and not judge. I will listen and try to help if they are ready for it.

My coworkers joke with me about the large number of alcoholic patients I see. If they only knew the reason for that growth in my patient population. I never want someone to reach out for help and be denied because their health care provider has a preconceived notion about what an alcoholic looks or acts like.

An alcoholic looks and acts like me......

If you’re drinking a too much too often reach out, Talk to Us.

We are a Private, Anonymous, Community Forum open and free to anyone hoping to take a break from drinking. Alcohol is the only drug that people question you for NOT using but you don’t HAVE to drink. Don’t stay trapped because the stigma of not drinking seems worse than the cost of drinking to much.

Sobriety is Clarity, Creativity, Freedom! Community connection is the first step.

ReThink the Drink https://www.boozemusings.com/

This post was shared to the Boozemusings Community by Kelly

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