Avoiding Temptation 26Nov18

My Mother has been diagnosed with cancer. As difficult as that is to type, there is nothing I can do to change it. As the family nurse, it falls to me to take care of the medical side of things. I certainly have had help from my sisters, aunts, husband and daughters, but I feel the weight of wading through the best options for my Mom and trying to help guide them through decisions. Not easy, but I am grateful I have some knowledge that will help.

While I deal with this emotional stress, physical stress and life changing decision making, there are multiple bottles of narcotics sitting on the counter. As an addict in recovery, that is a very dangerous thing. Stress plus easy access. I don’t suppose I am the first person in recovery to have to deal with this. I imagine this situation has played itself out over and over again. I also imagine that at times, the addict succumbs to the pressure and takes what they shouldn’t. So, what do I do?

The first day I knew I would be alone with my Mom and the pills, I talked to my sponsor about it. I let her know what the situation was and that I was worried about cravings. I told her I didn’t have any cravings yet, which was the absolute truth (haven’t had that since spending 4 months in jail 13 years ago), but I was conscious of the fact that the stress may change that. I didn’t want to ignore that elephant in the room. That first night my sponsor texted me every hour to see how it was going. Every hour I answered that it was going fine.

I am blessed that those cravings have not returned. I am grateful to my 12 step community for helping keep it that way. I have gone to my meetings, done my readings, prayed my prayers, and stayed safe. Even better, I have been there for my Mom, Dad, daughters, sisters, aunts and everyone else effected by this diagnosis. They have also been there for me. I have been present even when it is hard, even when I break down and cry for a bit.

This is so hard. I do not like to see my Mom in pain. I am advocating for her pain control and for the best course of treatment for her. Any pain medication that is prescribed for her is for her, not me. I know that and trust that my Higher Power will continue to keep cravings at bay while I continue to do what I can for my Mom, my family and for myself. We are taking care of each other because we are a family and that is what we do. Sharing love, tears, hugs and time. We will continue to love and help each other and keep the focus on my Mom…where it should be.

About the Author

Kristin Waite-Labott is a registered nurse and recovering addict who has firsthand experience with the challenges of addiction. She now works as the Head Nurse Coach at Veritus, a virtual treatment program for nurses with substance use and mental health disorders, and is dedicated to helping nurses overcome addiction and making a difference in the lives of others. Kristin is passionate about addressing the growing problem of addiction among healthcare professionals and encourages open discussions and action to prevent it from spreading further.

One Response

  1. Thanks for talking about ‘the elephant in the room’ and the concrete actions that can be taken (sponsor calling you, meetings, literature, prayers, working together with others in the family, focus on family, being of service, etc …) We have choices and do not have to go through any life event, up or down, alone. Thanks, Kris.

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