Roy, South Carolina Medical

I’m a physician, now in long-term recovery. I enrolled voluntarily with RPP in 2003 after completing residential treatment. I had diagnosed myself with depression, had been struggling with alcohol for years, and was going to AA meetings for at least 2 years before my family intervention, which got me into treatment. After my first treatment, I did not stay sober, and SCRPP guided me through recovery. They understood the complex process of returning to work in early recovery and meeting all the Medical Board’s requirements. I learned along the way that enrollment with RPP allowed me to remain anonymous to the Board. SCRPP was also there to advocate for me when needed.

Returning to work and staying sober was very difficult in early recovery. So many things in my life changed whether I wanted them to or not. I was rather intimidated and fearful of the monitoring structure that RPP uses, but in hindsight, I can recognize that the structure helped keep me on track and away from yet another relapse. I was fearful of the required weekly support group meetings for doctors, but now, that part of my fear was that if the Board learned I was an alcoholic, my license would be taken away. It turned out I was fearful of just about everything! The meetings were a source of support that I did not fully recognize for years. In hindsight, I recognize that, somewhere in my 3rd year of sobriety, things got a little easier, and it wasn’t as much of a daily struggle to stay sober. I had bumps in the road, but monitoring was like “guardrails” on the road, keeping me out of the ditch.

I’ve also come to understand over the years that we doctors are considered “ safety-sensitive workers,” to use the epidemiologic terminology, and as such, are high-value assets to our community who can do a great deal of harm if we’re not at our best.  I understand now that the Medical Board is vested in and charged with ensuring we’re doing well and safe to practice.  However, the members of the Medical Board may not know what to do to help us as individuals without suspending or restricting our licenses.  Because of their experience with the Board, RPP is entrusted with getting us into recovery and back to work with as few disciplinary consequences as possible.  My recovery friends and family helped me choose to continue monitoring past what the RPP requires because it helps me stay on track.  RPP has helped me achieve long-term recovery and opened doors for me to help others obtain treatment and experience the reality of recovery.  Please let them help you, too.