Carrie K.'s Story
My name is Carrie and I am a woman in long-term recovery. In less than 2 weeks, I will celebrate 8 years of recovery and my life is forever changed for the better because of my disease and the lessons I have learned in recovery. I am truly grateful to be in long term recovery and continue to be amazed at all the blessings. My use of opioids began with my own prescribed medication, but quickly engulfed my life, when I crossed my morals and boundaries to feed my addiction. I attempted recovery in 2001 and achieved several years clean through treatment, and ongoing support – including monitoring, but as a health care provider, more specifically a nurse, I had not dealt with the deep shame and guilt of my use, which festered like an abscess below the surface. I relapsed in 2009, experiencing significant consequences/losses (jobs, nursing license, insurance, etc.) which could have derailed my success, but through willingness to do everything to recover, I surrounded myself with those who loved and supported me. I did everything those in recovery and my treating professionals urged me to do, including talking about the secrets I held deep and was afraid to let anyone hear. It was the salve to soothe the wounds, begin to heal, and mostly to finally accept myself. Today, I am a licensed nurse, addiction counselor, director and proud advocate for recovery. I offer healing and hope to other health care professionals (HCP) with substance use disorders through my work at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s HCP Program. I volunteer for MN Nurses Peer Support Network to expand connections for other nurses in recovery. I proudly share my recovery story publicly, so that no other person, especially a nurse, may die without knowing recovery and that a better way of living is possible.