I am a dental hygienist licensed to practice in the state of North Carolina thanks to the advocacy of the North Carolina Caring Dental Professionals. I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to attend the 62nd Annual Session of the School of Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
I want to be able to share my experience with you. From the moment I arrived in Salt Lake City, I was welcomed by many warm smiles. Throughout the week, I attended many sessions that demonstrated prevention, recognition and treatment of alcoholism and drug addictions. I got connected and felt my sobriety being recharged with each session. To remain teachable is very important in my recovery, the opportunity to be able to learn more about how my disease affects me, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I’m not sure who all was in recovery, but in those sessions there was a comfort and a fellowship. I never felt as if I didn’t belong, much the way I feel in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.
In the middle of the week, I was asked to “tell my story” and of course being the alcoholic/addict that I am, I felt anxious. So, I went on a run the night before which was unsuccessful since the elevation is a whole lot higher in Utah than it is in North Carolina.
Before I spoke, I gave away all that anxiety to God and asked Him to speak through me, to share His message. The relief came after, the healthy relief from doing the right thing; not like the fleeting relief I used to seek through a bottle.
What I discovered is that a lot of healing came. I’ve told my story before in Alcoholics Anonymous but that particular day I was able to share things outside the singleness of purpose. I was able to share my whole story about my intervention and the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners, the process, willingness and action that took place to be able to have my dental hygiene license reinstated as well as the structure and support of the NCCDP. I had never been able to do that before and I am grateful.
Afterwards, I was able to recognize the people in recovery from the smiles and hugs, and sharing of their experiences. They too could relate.
One part of the conference that I’ll hold dear to my heart is getting an inside look at all of the directors from the Well Being Programs from different states, working together to help the suffering dentists and hygienists. They really do want to help us in restoring our lives. Since I’m still a Participant in the NCCDP Program, this was important for me to be able to see. As a result, I want to help and be more involved in service work within my profession and with the Well Being Program, NCCDP.
This week will always be a time to remember. I was able to make many friendships, was educated on my addictions, and saw the many highlights the beautiful Salt Lake City has to offer. I had the most amazing time. It really is true that sobriety is a journey of joyful discovery and I hope more dentists and hygienists get to have the opportunity that I was given. I hope that I will be able to attend this conference for many years to come.
Grateful Recovering Hygienist