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Freelance writer, nurse, and grateful recovering addict.

And the role that stripping played in my addiction

Image via Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

I’ve had a handful of different job titles over the years- including pharmacy technician, bartender, and office temp, to name a few. I ended up settling into a nursing career, and that’s what I’ve done for the last 12 years.

Most of the people who know me today, either professionally or socially, know very little about my past, including my struggles with substance abuse and my mental health. Many would also be surprised to know about one particular job title that I held for eighteen months immediately before nursing school: exotic dancer.

How I Got The Job

I didn’t wake up one day and decide…

These non-alcoholic drinks are also stylish and easy to make

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During my first year in recovery, I noticed that many holiday parties and social functions have a serious lack of non-alcoholic drink options. It’s not uncommon for the beverage menu at your typical adult get-together to consist of at least half a dozen different kinds of beer, wine, and liquor… with soda and bottled water as the only alternatives.

I would be sipping my slightly warm can of Cherry Coke while looking around at all of the brightly colored cocktails and fruity frozen drinks that everyone else was sipping on, and get a bad case of cocktail envy. …

What does it mean for the future of drug policy and treatment in America?

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For five days, the nation anxiously waited on standby while a handful of key battleground states finished counting their ballots. We finally received confirmation on November 8th that former Vice President Joe Biden was the projected winner of the election. Despite Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of mass voter fraud and a “rigged” election, Joe Biden will inevitably be sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States come January.

The fact that this election was as dramatic as it was isn’t surprising. The year 2020 has been full of turmoil and adversity for America — especially for the millions of…

Dealing with the wounds of our childhood is the only way to make progress in recovery

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Over the last ten years, I’ve learned a lot about my unhealthy coping mechanisms and self-defeating behavior patterns. Substance use at a young age affects the brain’s neurological development during a crucial time and has lasting results. Using drugs significantly contributed to a dysfunctional perception of myself, poor regulation of emotions, difficulties with relationships, etc.

But recently, a therapist brought to my attention that there is a crucial page of my psychological blueprint that has not gotten enough attention. My dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors began long before I ever picked up a drug — and even the quickest summary of…

Bullet journals are useful for recovering addicts in several ways

Image via Thom Homles on Unsplash

If you are in recovery from a substance abuse disorder, it’s important to find engaging hobbies that interest you to avoid having too much idle time on your hands. This is especially true during the first year in recovery, as excessive boredom and a lack of structure can trigger relapses. If you’re at a loss for ideas or just looking to try something new, one activity you should consider is bullet journaling.

If you’re not familiar with the bullet journal, it’s basically just a written system that you can use to keep track of everything essential in your life. If…

His comments about Hunter Biden’s past substance use are exactly what this country doesn’t need

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There were many reasons why watching the first presidential debate was infuriating. Donald Trump’s childish tantrums and displays of disrespect were worse than usual. I’ve seen grade-schoolers with better impulse control and guests on the Jerry Springer show behave better than he did during his first live debate with the former Vice President.

Joe Biden’s performance wasn’t exceptionally remarkable, but at the very least, he gave articulate answers to the questions asked and showed respect to the moderator. …

Treating opioid addiction has never been more imperative

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The opioid crisis — the staggering number of individuals battling Opioid Use Disorder and dying from opioid-related overdoses — has persisted through two decades. Until recently, it was considered the worst public health tragedy to affect Americans since the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. That was, of course, before Covid-19, which has already claimed over 200,000 lives in the US alone.

Although current events may have decreased the public’s focus on opioid addiction, it nonetheless continues to take lives and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. According to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…

From the standpoint of a nurse who’s actually battling addiction in the real world

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It was the spring of 2009 when I first read a review for a new television series premiering called Nurse Jackie. I was intrigued by the title alone; Shows about the complexities of life as an MD are quite common, but few focus on nurses’ professional experiences. Mere curiosity became fervent interest upon reading the plotline: An ER nurse who works in a busy NYC hospital and is juggling the roles of wife, mother, and career professional, all while secretly battling an addiction to prescription painkillers.

I remember saying to myself, “Oh my God, they’ve made a show about your…

Four Years Later And The Pain Is Still Just As Fresh

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I remember hearing the words through the phone very clearly, but not processing everything that was said.

“We found George in his bedroom about an hour ago.”

George and I had been a couple for ten years. Together we had two little girls, who were ages 8 and 6 at the time. We had been living separately for about five months, a requirement of our then open case with Child Protective Services, which was opened a year prior specifically in relation to George’s substance abuse. He had begun using opiate painkillers about eight years before as a way to numb…

Why Advocating Your Own Recovery Is Key

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It wasn’t until hitting what I considered to be rock bottom in 2005 that I finally accepted a very hard truth — I needed professional help dealing with my drug addiction and unmanaged bipolar disorder.

It was a very hard pill for me to swallow. I had been successful at living a double life and hiding the extent of my problems for a long time. But behind closed doors, I was a train-wreck. I was a college drop-out with $70,000 in debt — caused by mania-fueled shopping sprees and my expensive addiction to opiates.

I honestly believed, however, that if…

Alyssa Sprague

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