Ashley, South Carolina Nurse

An acronym for hope is having optimistic perspectives every day. In the year 2000, I first began the road to recovery due to my many mistakes and wrong choices. I was a practicing Registered Nurse in an abusive marriage with a young child, and I turned to substance use as an immediate resolution to my problems, pain, and fear. This led me to many more problems and written order of suspension of my nursing license due to substance use disorder. The State Board of Nursing directed me to the Recovering Professionals Program (RPP), a five-year monitoring program for nurses with disciplinary actions brought to the Board’s attention. RPP includes certain requirements for monitoring, such as random drug screening, remediation, and education. These requirements must be followed to be allowed to return to safe practice. Initially, my denial led me to surrender my nursing license rather than face my problems and remain a nurse.

Giving up my license left me working odd jobs as a single parent. In 2008, I began working as a cashier in a local pizza restaurant. While working, I could see from the hospital’s front lobby where my nursing career began. Every day I dreamed of having my license reinstated and returning to my career. There was one especially tearful day when several people entered the restaurant and asked if they could give me a hug because I had cared for their mother when she passed away in the heart center. This led me back to RPP in 2009. It changed my life.

RPP helped me understand that addiction is a disease and there are steps one must go through to make it. Just “jumping through the hoops” will not lead you anywhere but back to the lonely road of addiction. I complied with all of the Board’s terms and conditions. With the assistance of my RPP counselor, I successfully completed the program in 2014. During the five-year period, which seemed like a long time, in the beginning, I actually took the time to work the steps of addiction with a sponsor. I honestly went through the five stages of the disease of addiction and have now been clean and sober for eight years. I was able to return to my career as a Registered Nurse in 2012, and in 2016, I began working at the hospital where my nursing career began. I will be active in recovery for the rest of my life, helping others suffering from the disease of addiction. It is important to know that you are not alone; RPP and others who have been through what you may be going through are there to help. It does work if you work it! Let us help you be successful!