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Every month More Voices invites readers to contribute short nonfiction prose pieces of 40 to 400 words on a healthcare theme.



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I am the only adult child of an alcoholic nurse. Well, he was a nurse, until alcohol took everything. He stopped going to work because they kept sending him home due to alcohol withdrawals. He didn't renew his nursing license, and that was how he ultimately lost his career. He also lost his house, his car, his relationships, and his health.  
For a time, Dad frequented hospitals, because he would black out in the yard and the neighbors would find him. I would have to track him down. I had a system -- first call the sheriff to do a wellness check, then start calling the hospitals until I located him. I tried to talk to his medical professionals about his alcoholism. He was an ER and psychiatric nurse; he had his master's in social work. When he got his MSW, he'd done his final project on addiction in nursing professionals. He knew what to say -- he just never went for treatment or counseling.
He doesn't drink anymore because he's in liver failure. He will die due to alcoholism. Somehow, he managed to teeter-totter between his disease and his professional training, but he still lost it all.