Breaking Outside Box

Image courtesy of jscreationzs,/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today  is going to be a “short one.” I am running out of energy. Taught class today, pinch hit for a sick guest lecturer and gave two tests. Now I have a brief interlude before I go to a church vestry meeting.  I just made myself a sugar-free cup of cocoa; I find that it helps calm and relax me; and if I limit it to one cup, I am not drinking excess calories.

Today in class I found myself using a lot of examples from my own history to illustrate concepts associated with addiction and alcoholism. I think my students understood what I was trying to teach them, but some of them had blank looks on their faces. I wanted them to know that addiction/alcoholism is more than a disease, that it is a state of spiritual bankruptcy that needs 12 step recovery to fill the void and put and keep the person seeking recovery on a spiritual pathway. I wanted them to understand spirituality is an essential ingredient of recovery.

That’s a hard one to explain, and were I to go back over 40 years ago when I was  sitting and hearing about substance abuse for the first time before I experienced it first hand, I probably wouldn’t have understood the concept of spiritual bankruptcy and spiritual recovery either. Reading the 12 steps didn’t help either; I thought 12 step programs were just substituting one dependency for another —-and I was certain alcoholics and addicts just needed to learn to be autonomous and to have better self esteem and they would be okay. I was naive enough as a nurse to think I could help them achieve those attributes and go merrily on their way. Boy, was I wrong!

Now I am at the end of my  nursing career, and I just got official notification I need to renew my certification in addictions’ nursing. We are required to do this every four years if we want to keep the certification. I could do it easily enough; I have the continuing education units, and I could afford the fee. But what earthly good would the credential be to a retired nurse? I know now that no amount of knowledge or expertise can make a bit of difference as far as recovery goes if spirituality doesn’t enter into it—–and being certified as an advanced practice addictions nurse would not assist me or anyone else find or stay on a spiritual pathway.  Looks like I just made my decision. I will not re-certify, and I will continue learning all I can about the spiritual aspects of recovery. May God bless and keep you.

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