I don't know if I had been taught then what I know now if it would have caused me to make different decisions, or make me more aware of the problem I had. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that it probably would not have. But maybe someone else would have noticed. Maybe someone else would have thought "I can help him" and would have said something.

I learned that not using was the easy part. The difficult part was figuring out all the rewiring in my head from the years of taking mood and mind altering drugs. The difficult part was I had to now feel my emotions. I had to not lean on my own understanding, but trust in God that His plan was better than my plan.  I had become fully accountable of the choices I have made, I worked daily on not letting resentments build up, especially towards myself, but I could not help but feel embarrassed and ashamed more often than I would like to admit.  I had to humble myself.

         Ken Rodenbaugh  RN, CARN, CEN

How Can They Hear Unless Someone Tells Them
I was angry. Why was this such a secret? How come the alternative to discipline program is not common knowledge among nurses? Why is this not taught in nursing schools and universities? Why is there virtually no education given on substance abuse in nursing? Why do nurses enable addict behavior believing they are helping, but yet are in fear of reporting a nurse because they do not actually realize the help that is available? I remember it so clearly, the exact moment. I was in a middle of a stretch during a workout, and felt like it was deposited into my brain in the same way an envelope is deposited into a mailslot. It came out of nowhere, "Teach them about substance abuse in nursing". Nurses, and healthcare workers need to know. Everyone needs to know. How can they hear unless someone tells them? Well, I guess I will just have to be the one.

A Better Place
It was not easy climbing back up. My wife stuck by my side, I cherished the time with my children more than ever. I remained compliant with the requirements of RAMP and, after a six month layoff, was ready to go back to work. However, door after door was slammed in my face.  I filled out dozens of applications, had many interviews- only to be told that the position had been filled, or I was not what they were looking for. It was difficult to explain my reason for termination during these interviews, and not many employers were aware of RAMP. I was denied unemployment, and we were down literally to our last couple dollars- but never out of Faith. I was finally given a chance on a sub-acute floor of an extended care facility. I was brutally honest for the first time during the interview and practically begged to just be given a chance. Kris, the educator, never heard of RAMP and I remember being asked "I don't get it. How are you going to be able to work around pills if you are addicted?".  I spent six months around great people, but realized this kind of nursing was not for me. Through a series of events that were nothing short of miraculous I found myself somewhere I thought I would never be again. On 4/14/14, I was back in the Emergency Department.

The Story Continues