You were referred to the Missouri Physicians Health Program (MPHP), emerged from your initial evaluation, and were instructed to follow a particular pathway to sobriety. The reason you are in this position is that you have been identified as a physician who needs help. Your life and career have taken a sudden and unplanned diversion. That may mean a loss of your current position as a medical professional. Also, it may mean a loss of an important personal relationship. What do you do?
If you are like me, you first worry about restoring your family and your occupation. You wonder if your family members and employer (or business partners) will understand. Unfortunately, many don’t understand the true medical/psychological aspects of alcoholism/addiction. Some of my business partners didn’t, yet I was fortunate to ultimately earn their understanding. Over time, all recognized the benefits of my sobriety! Even if you are not as fortunate as I was, you should embrace the MPHP as the organization that will stand by you when you need it most.
Early in recovery, it is natural to want to quickly restore the trust of others, but one must be patient in that endeavor. It doesn’t happen right away, as you will have to earn that trust. Others will likely have resentments toward you that will take time to go away. Importantly, you will likely have resentments toward them that you will have to address as part of your twelve-step program. Resentments take time to dissipate.
Before you can expect the forgiveness of others, you must first forgive yourself, to love yourself again. Why would you expect others to trust and forgive you if you are still wallowing in self-pity? That goal is much easier if you follow the principles of Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous. Please reread the Promises of AA on pages 83-84 of the Big Book and think about the phrase, “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” Working the steps will allow you the serenity and acceptance that has eluded you in the past and will give you the confidence you need to take on relationship issues that still trouble you.
What happened in the past is done. You can’t change it, so why dwell on it? The fact is that many of your regrettable past transgressions were not of the true you; they were the typical, impulsive, selfcentered actions of an addict. It’s part of the disease! Stay sober by working the steps, and those mistakes won’t happen again. Over time, the true you will shine through, much to the delight of your family, friends, and coworkers. Your future actions will, over time, allow those you harmed to put the past behind them, too. Keep in mind that your actions from now on, if you do the next right thing, will not only benefit you, but will inspire others, even those who are not family, friends, or coworkers!
Your future is bright, if you make it so.