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The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Tale of My Drug Test

It makes sense that I should take a drug test before the agency lets me do my field practice at its out-patient and in-patient drug treatment facilities. I have no problem with it. Honestly.

My bladder, on the other hand, decided to become introverted when I went in to do the deal. For hours.

I arrived for my drug test at 2:30 p.m. Once I realized I was experiencing "shyness," I used every visualization and deep breathing technique I know of and, I have to admit, I prayed, too.

For the record, I never knew that I could drink so much water that it would make me feel sick. My jeans were tightening around my belly, too, which didn't help with the general feeling of unrest.

I walked and jogged around the building. I tried not to shame myself. I called my husband who could not believe it since the opposite of not being able to "go" is generally my issue. One of my girlfriends called while I was out walking and, after she had a good chuckle at my expense, she shared an experience of an unexpected drug test when she had similar difficulties. It made me feel a little better.

The technician, though kind, was not a big talker. She has a very important job; administering and policing drug testing for clients is serious business.

The bathroom itself is kind of intimidating. There are floor-to-mid-wall mirrors all around so I got a good look at myself -- several times. Then there's that little door above my head which opened to the technician's room.

She tried to help. She even closed the little door. Told me to run some water. Left the area.

At 3:45, I had to leave for a 4 p.m. appointment. I told the technician that I would return after 5 p.m. Lucky for me, the center was open until 7 p.m.

Once at my appointment, I explained my dilemma and we agreed that I would leave as soon as I had to "go." At five to five, I bolted, drove across town (again), and scurried into the center.

"Hosanna," I said when I had finally produced the "donation," as it is called.

Never a dull moment, this life of mine.

--Ms. T. J.


  1. Been there, done that -- but not at a drug testing centre. So I guess they wouldn't let you bring one in from home. I can understand your pain, your embarassment, your frustration, etc. And remind me never to apply for such a job!

  2. Sounds a bit more exciting than the mandatory fingerprinting! All I had to do was roll my hands around on a screen.

  3. Thanks for your comments. The drug-testing center is actually on site.

    Boy I would have given anything for the "screen test!"

    --Ms. T. J.