Physicians Anonymous

alcoholic physician

Empathy in Recovery Part One: Downward spiral

In the months before my rock bottom, an alcoholic physician, it felt like there wasn’t a soul around for me to explain how I was feeling. 

I had alienated almost all people from my life. 

Seems like the only ones who would care to listen would have been my patients, but I couldn’t tell them what I was going through. If I had, I would have quickly lost them all – and my job. But I did feel that they gave me the basic human need of respect and a caring ear. 

No one knew

My business partners had no idea. 

I got the occasional ” great, you are busy” and they would walk away. They only cared about dollar signs and not getting sued, while trying to keep unprofessional business dealings and bonuses out of sight from me. 

I was overwhelmed. 

A week of vacation turned into stress week.  Despite being on holiday, I was called by the office every day to take care of someone that could be easier done by any other employee there – someone not actually on vacation!

I couldn’t manage it anymore. Who could I turn to?

Who could I turn to?

I could try my Dad, also a physician in recovery, but I had been down that road a year and a half before. 

My mom, little to no help either. She would listen, cry with me, hugs and kisses, but I needed more than that. 

My wife? I hated to bring it up, then she would know I had been lying again, which leads to yelling at me and shaming again for things in the past. Not in the mood for that. 

I had tried to tell her my feelings many times only to be cut off for something that was more important. A busy life with 2 young kids leaves no time for anything else.

I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all. - George P.

Me slowing dying and I was forgotten in triage. 

My therapist knew how unhappy I was; pretty sure he knew I was still drinking. Although he could be someone to talk to again, I didn’t feel comfortable as he had no training on taking care of an alcoholic. 

Yes, I am an alcoholic physician. 

Rock bottom

Like most addicts I hit rock bottom. I won’t go into detail but after being sent home on a Friday for you know what, I called a rehab and left on Monday. 

It was a rough weekend telling my kids I was going away. A wife saddened and mad. What would happen to my practice? My patients? My home? Everything I had built for myself while I was getting treatment might be gone forever. 

My parents went with me on the drive there. Small talk about the landscape as we drove to the neighboring state. No way I was going to the one an hour up the highway. Too close to home. Everything and everyone in that city was out to get me I thought. 

A quick goodbye hug to my parents and one last kiss from the dog before 30 days in rehab. 

At last, people to hear me and help me.

More in Part Two.

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