My life as an alcoholic began innocently enough at the ripe old age of 26. After earning a master’s degree in business administration, I landed a job with a company catering to wealthier people needing on-demand personal jets for business and recreational purposes. One of the company’s accountants abruptly left to start his own business, and I just happened to apply at the right time when there was an opening available.
Since the CEO loved to throw company bashes every weekend, I quickly got to know some of the other guys who worked with me. Although I’m not your classic extrovert, I certainly didn’t turn down an invite to these parties. I learned by talking to several employees that moving up in the business wasn’t difficult as long as you essentially devoted your life to the company. Since I was single, ambitious, and had no desire to settle down, I put all my energy into moving up the ladder.
Initially, I began drinking one or two cocktails at these weekend parties. (Until that point, beer had been my only real form of boozing.) But when everybody else was throwing back cocktails with the boss, I quickly got used to the habit, and over some time, I was drinking more and more at these events.
“How Would You Like to Manage the Accounting Department?”
Within a year of working as an accountant for the company, my boss put me in charge of the entire department. I was stunned, elated, and anxious. I wasn’t even 30 yet and my salary was triple what my parents had earned when they worked at an auto manufacturing plant years ago.
My social drinking increased significantly once I became a supervisor. In addition to the Saturday night parties, I now met with associates every night at one of several local nightclubs to discuss business, office gossip, and… drink.
My job was more stressful and demanding than I had ever imagined. I began having performance-related anxiety attacks about whether I was living up to my boss’s expectations. Was I devoting enough time to the company? Did the accounting department employees think I was a good supervisor? What if I got demoted because I made a mistake? These sorts of anxious questions would race through my head and make me feel panicky.
But when I drank, these self-doubts and anxieties vanished. I could take a deep breath and relax. My normally racing thoughts slowed down and I no longer felt the crushing worries that plagued me over my insecurities. At this point in my life, I did not consider myself an alcoholic. I justified my drinking as simply an aspect of my job. Even when I started drinking heavily alone at home, it never occurred to me that I was an alcoholic. I was just a “social drinker.”
Rock Bottom is Never Far Away
Fast forward two years.
I am now 29, jobless, homeless, and living in a shelter with drug addicts, mentally ill people, and other alcoholics. After showing up to work intoxicated one too many times and neglecting to perform my job duties, I was fired.
I had tried to stop drinking on my own but withdrawal symptoms and cravings always defeated my attempts. Instead of going to weekend office parties, I was either spending hundreds of dollars on boozing it up at neighborhood bars or drinking alone in my apartment. My face was bloated, I had lost 20 pounds, and my eyes were constantly bloodshot. I did not realize how bad I looked because I was always drunk.
After I was fired, I couldn’t pay rent, lost my apartment, and had no money to rent another one. All I cared about was getting drunk and staying drunk. The career goals I had once accomplished were like a hazy dream now. I didn’t want to think about what I had thrown away, so I drank … and drank … and drank.
I won’t go into the details about what it was that landed me in a hospital psychiatric unit, but it involved booze, a stolen car, and terrifying, alcohol-induced hallucinations.
Fast forward five years.
Hello. Let me introduce myself. My name is Ken. I am 35 years old and I am an alcoholic.
Where I’d Be Now if I’d Gotten Help for My Alcoholism Earlier
Now that I’m in recovery, having completed rehab and managed to stay sober with the help of various supports, including AA, I’ve been able to get off the streets and back into a job that helps me pay the bills, own an apartment, and hold down an accounting job for a local contractor.
That said, if I’d gotten help earlier for my drinking problem, I would probably be in a higher-up position at my old company. Or, I would have had enough leverage to get into a better position at a different company—in a healthier workplace where the “good ol’ boy” drinking culture wasn’t so ingrained.
At least now, having quit booze, I have great credit again, can take vacations, and can think about buying a new home with the woman I love and am hoping to propose to. I’m also on course again to achieve a financially stable retirement with good health insurance and no worries about running out of money.
My advice for anyone who thinks they can party with co-workers or friends every other day of the week without becoming an alcoholic? It won’t get you anywhere in your career. Look at me: I quickly became an alcoholic because of my partying. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with an occasional glass of wine or a beer, but when you start drinking heavily around the clock, you need to get help immediately.
FHE is Here to Help You Achieve Your Career Goals by Quitting Booze
Alcoholism is a chronic medical disease impacting the way the brain perceives reality. The science behind alcoholism is quite simple: the ethanol in alcohol disrupts neurotransmitter levels that “trick” the brain into thinking it feels euphoria and pleasure. Ethanol latches on to the same brain receptors that addictive drugs like benzodiazepines and morphine target.
It does not take long for the brain to adjust to feeling this induced pleasure, and, consequently, the brain craves more of the same sensations. When you try to ignore cravings, your brain initiates a kind of “revolt” against not being drunk, forcing you to suffer unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Once you drink again because you feel so sick, you’re caught in what’s known as “the vicious cycle of addiction”.
FHE can help you or someone you know break free from that cycle and get you back on the road towards achieving your career goals. Don’t choose alcohol over your life. Get the help you need by calling us today. We’re here 24/7 to take your call.