Overcoming The Shame Of Addiction Among Medical Professionals
Jeffrey Juergens ❘
Doctors and nurses have some of the highest rates of addiction among professionals, and getting help is shamed and stigmatized.
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Emotions can be a scary thing to experience. Feelings are not always enjoyable or easy. More often than not, being able to speak about your emotions is a difficult task. Typically, what makes it easier is having a group of people (friends or family) that you can confide in. At that point, you are comfortable around your person and enjoy spending time with them, maybe even opening up to them about your feelings. When you don’t have that option, it’s easy to be mean and nasty to other people. It’s easy to sulk in your emotions and continue to bury them so deep inside that you don’t even remember that they are there. All people are a big, giant mess of emotions. We all talk too much or not enough. We all feel too much or not at all.
When those who have been redeemed tend to feel too much and don’t express themselves, they end up back in the bottle or hooked up again with a needle. It’s too simple to create obstacles in your life to avoid managing what you’re experiencing. It’s harder to let it go than it is to deal with it. Things happen when you don’t let your emotions go and keep them in check. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to be emotional. Self-expression saves lives.
There’s a song called “How to Save a Life” by The Fray. It states, “Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend somewhere along in the bitterness, and I would have stayed up with you all night, had I known how to save a life.” Without walking in their shoes, you never know what a person is experiencing. Most people choose to be rude, judgmental, and nasty to others. It is many people’s first instinct. The wrong word or comment can be the tipping point for someone to go use again, or even worse, kill themselves.
Imagine a world where people choose to love one another. A pure act of grace, love, kindness, or selflessness is all a person needs. Show people the same grace that has been extended to you, and be slow to anger and judgment. It is this type of emotions and kindness that will save someone’s life. As school is starting, encourage your teenager, your friend, or a peer to consistently say one kind thing to a stranger. Be the ripple effect. Throw a small pebble in a large pond, and the entire pond is affected. Remember that each person you encounter may be a son, a daughter, a brother, or a sister. What would you do knowing that, if you would have just asked a stranger how they are doing, you could have saved their life? Speak truth instead of lies. Be bold, instead of a coward. Be humble, and offer hope to the hopeless.
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Let your spirit go. Let it guide you to make decisions about your life. Even when you are a broken teenager trying to figure out life, your experience and desires matter. You matter. Remember that your goal in life is not to make your parents or friends happy. Rather, it is to find your purpose in life. If you do drugs because of the euphoria it causes, or the joy that it brings, find other things that bring that same feeling.
Does sitting in the back of a car, listening to your favorite song with your friends bring you joy? Does preparing to hike the Pacific Coast Trail make your soul sing and keep it away from the drugs? It might not be the life your parents wanted for you, but it’s the life you have chosen. Let your soul sing and follow your instincts. They tend to lead you in a good direction.
Make a list of your goals and find out what steps you need to get there. Who do you need alongside of you? What will make you succeed? Guess what? You can do this without drugs or other substances to alter your mind. Find the euphoria you’re seeking in other aspects of life. Let kindness and grace bring euphoria and joy. Let your mind wander.
Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.