A Dentist's Story of Recovery

dentistI had finally arrived. After all those years of school and residency and working as an associate I bought my very own practice. I was ready to do things my way. I was eager to start earning the “big bucks” that I always knew would be coming to me.

In preparation for my “arrival” I started to spend money and live the life of a wealthy doctor. So the credit cards began to max out and with each passing month it became more difficult to pay my monthly bills. I really underestimated the stress and pressure of owning my own practice as well. I just couldn’t seem to produce enough to cover all my expenses. My business lines of credit grew and grew and my cash flow dwindled. Less than a year into “arriving” I was loosing it all.

To deal with the stress, I turned to narcotic pain medicine. Being a dentist gave me easy access and it seemed to numb the pain and anxiety. My drug use escalated and everything got much worse. I had a drawer full of unpaid bills and my staff was leaving one by one. I was in crisis mode and on the verge of a breakdown.

Then I got a letter from the Board of Dentistry letting me know that they suspected I had a problem and they would like to talk to me. That pushed me over the edge. I figured I was not only going to lose my business but would also lose my license and ability to earn a living. To make matters worse, the narcotics were no longer dulling the anguish. No matter how many I took.

I finally broke down and asked for help. I was put in touch with some very caring people who got me the help I needed. I took some time off and got treatment for my addiction. I spent three months in an in-patient treatment center and was able to begin the long and wonderful road to recovery.

After I got out and went back to work I had to file bankruptcy. I lost my home and my cars but was able to keep my practice. More importantly, I was able to keep my sobriety.

Slowly and surely I rebuilt my life and my career. Now, 11 years later, I truly have “arrived”! I have two very successful practices, have a loving spouse and wonderful friends, many of whom are in recovery themselves. I now deal with life on life’s terms and take things one day at a time.

Recovery has made me a better dentist, husband, friend and person. There really is a better life waiting for you when you get into recovery!

—A Recovering Dentist


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