Profiles in Recovery

Ben Cox

Opiate addiction robbed Cox of his career as an Emergency Room nurse. Caught stealing narcotics on the job in northern Canada, he was arrested and his nursing license was permanently revoked.

“Before I left the hospital to tell my wife what happened, I went into a bathroom and took the last dose of morphine that I had in my pocket, and injected it into myself,” Cox recalls. “That was when I realized I was truly powerless over my addiction.”

Cox stopped living a lie and came clean to authorities and his family. He pled guilty, got treatment and has been in recovery nearly four years. “The thing that hurt the worst was the trust and respect I lost because of my addiction,” Cox says. “All the good that I had done seemingly felt erased, and all people saw was this mistake that I had made. I no longer felt like the confident, trusted, respected nurse that I once was.”

Day Job:
Self-published author, “My Name is Ben and I’m a Nurse/Addict”

At my worst, I was:
Living a lie, both at work and at home. I pretended to be in complete control of my life, keeping up appearances as a Emergency Room nurse, a father, and a husband who had it all together. On the inside I was screaming . . . I was in a living hell, and I couldn’t tell anyone.

What ultimately saved me:
Being completely honest with myself and with all my family and friends. I admitted my guilt to my superiors and then immediately went home and told my wife that I just lost my nursing career, I was addicted to the narcotics at work, and I was not happy with our marriage. I waited to be arrested and then fully admitted to the Police my guilt.

I placed myself with the help of my parents into a 30-day treatment program, where I forced myself everyday to stand up and speak openly about my addiction. This made me feel proud of myself again.

Favorite words to live by:
“Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about others people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. Do your work, and then step back. The only path to serenity.” ~ Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu

On my bucket list:
Stay sober and healthy. Travel the world and help as many people as I can with my book. And one day, sit at the World Series of Poker main event.

Best advice for newbies:
Think about what makes you who you are, think of the good in you. Fight for yourself and show people your true character, show them how to get back up after a fall. Choose not to be defined by your mistakes, but rather by how you learn from them.

When cravings come:
I voice them, usually to my fiancé. If I talk about (cravings) with someone, then I can usually reason with myself why I have these feelings, what triggered them, and what I should do about these feelings. What works best for me is to keep busy with healthy activities. Taking my dog for long walks is very good at easing the cravings. Also going to the gym for a few hours is great for the mind and the body. And it helps to be surrounded by positive people doing positive things.

What I value most in recovery:
I appreciate my family, for always loving me and supporting me. I am grateful for my daughter, whom I love and am so proud of. I am grateful for my health, to be with someone whom I love and who loves me. I am grateful to be alive, when others can no longer say the same. Just for today… I am grateful for my sobriety.

Proudest moment:
When I faced the community and court during my sentencing. I spoke freely and truthfully. I yelled, cursed, cried and laughed when telling my story, as only I could tell it. The judge didn’t interrupt me once. I wanted him to see me for more than an addict . . . I wanted to be seen for who I really was, and after I finished, I think that’s exactly what everyone saw.

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