Physicians Anonymous

physician rehab

Empathy in Recovery Part Two: Rehab and beyond

During check in, I met “Nick”, a recovering alcoholic like me, who showed me empathy like I had never experienced before. He had spent some time in my hometown. He was about my age, and we bonded quickly. 

Most of what he did as we filled out the questionnaire together, was to provide reassurance to my situation. Every question about my drinking, he answered that he had done the same. The repeat of the word “ditto” had never felt so good. 

It wasn’t just me who suffered over life. Although he was not a physician, he was in the business of customer service.  We took a drive up the hill and he told me about a mountain climb you can do on the last Friday you are in treatment. 

Nature as a healer

Such a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm about being in nature sober. I was a Boy Scout when I was younger so I had forgotten the wonder of nature as I had hidden behind my phone and the bottle for years. I was dropped off and shown my room. Nick said he would check on me throughout my stay. “Don’t hesitate to ask to talk to anyone. We have all been in your shoes before. We are all in this together,” he said. “Everyone here, including the nurses, doctors, staff is in recovery. We all want to see you get better.”

Alone no more

For the first time in ages, I didn’t feel alone anymore that night. Despite the craziness that had happened in the days prior, I felt calm. 

Something was different as I introduced myself to the others from all walks of life. Some like me were there for the first time. Some there for their second time, and some were frequent fliers. 

We talked by the fireplace and all recounted what we are thankful for that Monday. I was thankful that someone listened to me and didn’t judge me; that despite the rain, traffic and other barriers, I made it there. 

They never said it, but I realized that I was  a part of something great. It was the best initiation you could imagine. I had started to remake vital human connections.

Vital human connections

The feeling of having shared in a common peril is just one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in and of itself would never have held us together as we are now joined - The Big Book of AA, page 17

I spent 30 days being treated by some of the best. I was with a bunch of regular people who just happened to be alcoholics and drug addicts. 

Everyone had their story to share. 

I saw people leave only to come back 4 days later. I heard of people who made it out clean only to die the next day. 

Addiction is such a truly tragic disease. 

I know for sure that everyone – clients and staff – was acting like a dedicated and caring physician for each other during my stay in rehab. 

A bond that can never be broken

All thanks to a close bond that we share, that can never be broken. 

To get better together, and live in the pursuit of life. 

Never underestimate the power of listening and understanding your fellow man/woman.

Thanks for reading my story. If this resonated with you, and you would like a Mentor to guide you through the tangled journey of recovery as an addicted physician, please to reach out to me here. 

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