Eye of the Hurricane

Life is a roller-coaster and we all have our ups and downs. We address what happens and enjoy the good times and persevere through the bad. There is a time or two however when you cannot overcome an obstacle without significant help and this article is my story on how the NCCDP not only saved my career but my life.

For the past 15 years, I have truly enjoyed every aspect of being a dentist and all this profession brings. I was a normal drinker, not only in college but for all the years after. After my divorce 10 years ago, I feel my drinking increased gradually over time but was still relegated primarily to weekends during social activities. I cannot pinpoint when it happened but a couple of years ago, my drinking started to substantially increase in a short span of time to a point where it was very heavy on weekends and I was now starting to drink some during the week. Before I could control things, I then started to drink every single day.

This is when I reached a point I call “eye of the hurricane” where I felt totally trapped. If I tried to escape the place I was in, I felt the force of chaos throughout my body and mind. My tolerance and level of consumption had reached a point where I would have significant withdrawal symptoms if I tried to stop. I never drank at work but I was uncomfortable during the morning session and started to get the shakes and feel nauseous by late afternoon. It was sad when I would be looking at the clock waiting for it to hit 5pm so I could rush home to drink. The worst part of all this was I was not even enjoying alcohol, I was just drinking so I would not feel miserable, both physically and mentally. After one weekend of extreme excess, I had to be hospitalized and only then did I realize I should have asked for help sooner. If changes were not made, I would not only lose my career but my life.

I reached out to colleagues and contacting the NC Caring Dental Professionals was recommended. From the first phone call I had with them, I finally felt a sense of hope. They were understating and supportive in every aspect and like angels, gave me a feeling that the hurricane I am in will be gone. They helped me find a professional rehab center and constantly communicated with my counselors there. In rehab, I was surprised to see many other dentists and healthcare professionals also addressing their addictions and I finally felt I was not alone in this. With the support of NCCDP, I was able to return to work immediately after completing rehab.

I have now been sober for 3 years and words cannot express my appreciation and gratefulness. All my friends, family and co-workers constantly tell me how different I now am compared to before. I actually listen instead of talking over people and sobriety has transformed my usual self- centeredness. It’s like your eyes seeing in color when before, it was in black and white. I have a newfound joy for dentistry and time with family and friends that was significantly suppressed during my drinking days. There is no way I would have reached this place without outside help, namely the NC Caring Dental Professionals. Nancy, Susan, Bill and my support group, I thank you and my family thanks you. You have no idea how much what you have done means to me and how appreciative I am that you saved my life!

Submitted by: A Grateful Recovering Dentist