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A registered nurse story of coming clean.

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A registered nurse story of coming clean.

I am a RN that finally admitted to myself and my family that I had a drug problem. I had been to rehab four times before I wanted to admit I had a problem. It all started 25 years ago, I was hit and almost killed by a drunk driver. I was in the hospital for two yrs and had 48 surgeries to put my face and skull back together. The docs thought I would never walk or talk again. But I did after all the great medical help that I recieved. At the same time I became addicted to pain medication. Which I used after everything I had been through. Even though my body had been fixed my mind was not. Therefore I used the pain meds to help me with everyday life. I told myself I needed the pain meds for my headaches. Which I really did not need, I really had become addicted to the pain meds. And I used my docs to get pain meds by telling them I was having severe headaches from the accident and all the surgeries that I had to have. I really knew what to say to get pain meds.

But there was a turning point in my addiction and that was my family. My husband and daughter finally told me to get help and stick with it or they were going to leave me. So I went into my fourth rehab and finally admitted I had a problem. Which for me was was the hardest thing I had ever done. I think why it was so hard for me to get clean was because I am a registerd nurse and did not want to admit I had a problem. Because for twenty years I helped people who were using drugs and didn't think I had a problem with drugs. Because I also told myself I needed the drugs to make it through the day because of the pain I had because of the accident. But that was just a lie I told myself to keep using the pain meds. And because I was a professional in medical care that I didn't really have a problem. I helped others with addiction, I could not have a problem. But when I finally admitted I had a problem with drugs is when I started to get better. For the first time I started to listen to what my addiction docs and others had to say. After starting to listen and realize I was an active user, I started to get better.

I fianally realized I was much better off without the drugs. And my life is so much better now. I describe my addiction and getting better as coming out of a deep dark hole. And life is so much better now, I can really help those addicted now and always will because I have been there and made it out alive.

This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

Guest Book


1. Julie
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Kathleen. Congratulations to you on your recovery.
2. Kathleen Sullivan Rn
I would like to thank those who have taken the time to read my story. If I can help anyone to understand that life is much better off drugs than on that would mean the world to me. But remember the first step is admitting you have a problem. Once you can say that to yourself you are on your way to getting better. All my love, Kathy
3. Jane
So brave of you to admit your problem, get treatment and share to help others!