If you have successfully completed the three years in the VRP (Voluntary Recovery Program), congratulations. I know it is a long and difficult process.
You must remember, however, that you are required to remain in compliance with all terms and conditions of the Consent Agreement until the Board issues an order terminating your probationary status.
In the past two months, I have been hired by four nurses and doctors who, at one point in their career, have recently successfully completed the VRP and Physician Health Program (PHP) earlier in their careers.
Each of these individuals came back to me due to a relapse.
The best advice I can give to someone who has completed the VRP is to continue attending 12 Step Recovery Meetings, continue to stay in touch with your sponsor and stay involved with your own recovery. Now that you will no longer have to fill out forms, give urine screens, you will have more free time for yourself.
When I spoke with each of these four clients I asked them the same thing, what happened. With each of these clients, the answer was the same. "I stopped going to meetings". I have heard this reply on dozens of occasions over the past 27 years that I have been representing nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals.
A typical answer from a healthcare professional who has relapsed is I finished the program, I started decreasing my meetings, everything was going well in my life and eventually I stopped going to meetings and I just somehow picked up again.
What is clear to me through speaking with my clients who are active in recovery, is that you must work at it on a regular basis. If you get too far removed from attendance at 12 Step Meetings or contact with other recovering people, you tend to forget and at some point, a relapse is a real possibility.
So please, you have worked hard enough to complete this program and you certainly don't want to go through it again.
As my client said to me yesterday, if I had just continued going to meetings, I probably wouldn't be in the trouble I am today.
If you are struggling with an active addiction, contact me so we can discuss a solution for you that will help you get into treatment and also preserve your healthcare license.