My To-Do List

I remember my first meeting to my now required licensure nurse group (it consists of a group of nurses with addictions lead by a recovering nurse monitored by the board of nursing –whew). I should be nervous, right? But leave it to me to be ignorant and arrogant. I went in and sat down with my to-do and has-done list of things to check of. This meeting was to be the first thing I checked off. Let me add that I was quite proud of how together I presented myself. I was hoping to maybe get time off for good behavior.  I was C.L.U.E.L.E.S.S.

Remember….. addicts are good at this kind of stuff…

Anyway–At that time, I still had my job.  And my world had not yet started to unravel.

So as I sat there, I listened to nurse’s talk calmly about not having jobs like they broke a fingernail, or how they were sitting back–waiting on God’s timing. I remember thinking the other nurses just “needed a plan” like me.

All the way around the room, those other drug addicts we  shared where we were in our life. Some of the nurses had been there one, two and five years down the road from their initial meeting, so they spoke of how they found jobs they now loved, and some even changed careers. Others downsized their way of life and others found peace with God.

Then my turn came and I pulled out my “list” (I believe I heard a snicker around the room as if they had seen this scenario before) and I began discussing what all I had done. First, I attended meetings, saw my doctor, told my boss and all is well. The room became very quiet. I heard the word “Newbie” come from somewhere.  At last, my advocate (she too is a recovering nurse that liaisons to the nursing board for us) spoke up and said, “First, you will have to quit your job. The nursing board will not allow you to work around narcotics in your job.”

My world started spinning. And I remember thinking this will not happen. I am not quitting. This job was all I knew. I had done this work for so long that I didn’t know what else I was going to do. I could feel myself start to hyperventilate. The other nurses that had previously snickered now saw my pain. They knew what it was like to be new and have your world suddenly turn upside down. This group had once been new to the journey not so long ago.  In their compassion, they started to console me as best they could but the tears broke loose no matter how hard I tried to conceal them. Little by little, my to-do list chiseled away to nothing.

Why was I being punished? Was I singled out to suffer this thorn in the flesh like Paul? (2 Corinthians 12:7) Why this one? Can I choose another one God? I remember saying those very words to God.

Oh yes, I do understand the consequences of my behavior and that isn’t what I am asking. Why this struggle?

The truth is in the beginning, I wanted my life back before the drugs. But now, I don’t ever want to go to the life I had before or during my time with drugs. For God has something much bigger in my life.

I have to learn to live life on life’s terms.

Just as with any journey, it requires a certain degree of travel on bumpy and treacherous roads.

I just have to learn which path to follow.

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