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Debbie's Story

Everything I Worked for Was Gone


Updated May 14, 2006

Debbie R.

Debbie R.

Debbie R.
There is a picture of me that I once thought was cute.

After all, the children on my father's side of the family, and their children, have a similar photo. It is me, at four months of age, propped up with a Coors longneck. Beer and babies, a family tradition. I did infact learn that I was a gassy baby and my doctor recommended an ounce of beer to cure it.

My first drink was at four weeks of age. Apparently I was gassy alot. Beer continued to be my parents medicine of choice. Not to mention vodka or schnapps on the gums or dipped with the pacifier. I don't blame my family. They did what they knew. And everyone on my fathers' side knew and knows addiction and mental illness. The side of the family that I worshipped as my role models, I grew to emulate.

I'll hit the milestones. My first hangover (that I can recognize as a hangover) age 7. Hot Toddys from dad, age 7. Strawberry Daiquiris from dad, age 10. My first experience of alcohol poisoning, age 12. My first black out, age 13.

Spending my tween and teen years in Europe afforded me an acceptance of drinking at an early age. The "if you can reach the bar you can drink" times in Europe. This was during the late 70's, early 80's.

What then occurred were experiences in binge drinking, more alcohol poisonings, hash, marijuana, huffing, prescription and over the counter drug use and sexual experiences far beyond the norm. My first child at 15, my second at 18 with sprinkles of bingeing throughout my late teens and twenties. Married for two years and divorced. Next alcohol poisoning at age 21 of course.

I went to nursing school during the day, bartended at night. Used speed to function and care for my 2 children. I slept 1-2 hours a day for a year. During this time, I meet my soul mate who has been by my side on this ride. We ended up with five children total.

The Cure Was a Beer or Two

In the early 90's I worked from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. I began to experience insomnia after work. The cure was a beer or two, and then sleep. I can't pinpoint it, but it soon became a six pack then sleep, then a couple of beers before work, when off beer during the days, social drinking etc. Soon I was drinking a six pack or more before work, going to my car during breaks or lunch to drink.

On off days, I began sneak drinking to disguise how much I was drinking. I stole so often from my step father who was living with us, while he didn't say anything, he installed a padlock on his fridge. I managed to take the door off on more than one occasion.

A 12 Pack Before Work

I was confronted by my supervisor at work. I felt "fine" even after almost a 12 pack before work. Submitting to a breathalyzer, I blew a 1.8. I was summarily fired, reported to the nursing board and reluctantly entered rehab to keep my license.

I played the part of recovering nurse, all the while, starting the day after I left rehab, sneaking again. Stealing and drinking in the store bathroom, drinking in the attic, in the boys' clubhouse, in the car, under stairs, in the closet, bathroom and kids room. In the woods, at the park, on the deck. At work, in the parking lot at my nurses group, during group, during AA meetings... the list is endless.

I Was Angry

I continued to drink this way. Confronted at nurses group, I again entered rehab, determined to keep my license and win this battle. I drank the day after leaving rehab. I was reported to the board who presented me with a consent order. An agreement to follow a certain mandatory plan for five years under probation to keep my license. This involved mandatory AA and weekly nurses' group and weekly impaired professional groups.

This time I was not determined, I was angry. Who the hell were they to tell me what to do? I stopped going to nurses group. I, during a hazy period, stapled my nursing license to my consent order, wrote "f*** you" across it, and sent it in. Done.

Part Two: Everything I Worked For Was Gone

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