Just Another Perfectionist Executive in Recovery

Young businesswoman leading a corporate meeting.

Being a young MBA graduate entrepreneur is what landed me in an executive alcohol rehab. More specifically, my perfectionism that was a direct contributor to my credentials as a young, successful grad is what landed in me in an executive alcohol rehab. On the surface, those proclamations are entirely counter-intuitive. You may ask, if I was really successful, wouldn’t I have had awareness that I was headed down a dangerous road? If I was the perfectionist that I claim to be, wouldn’t I have wanted to keep my body free of such a toxic disease like alcoholism? If I was really as knowledgeable as I claim to be, credentialed with nearly nineteen years of schooling, wouldn’t I have recognized that I was a functioning alcoholic?

Denial is a powerful drug, my colleagues. Sure there were the critical comments tossed toward me, some made in jest and some made with sincerity. Routinely, they would rhetorically ask me if that much vodka was really necessary. Or perhaps it wasn’t rhetorical. I was just so appalled and affronted by the question; I never dignified it with an answer. I kept telling myself: I’m young; I’m in school; I’m running my own business; I can’t be an alcoholic. My affinity for alcohol flourished mostly in grad school. That old “work hard, party harder” adage was one that the students in my MBA program took to heart. I don’t know if it was just because we were trying to chase down the memory of our younger, more carefree days of undergrad. I don’t know if it was because we were under infinitely more pressure than we were as undergrad students.

My recovery has helped me make the connection between my perfectionism and my alcoholism. As a younger student, I don’t remember being so obsessed with being right, with learning and recalling everything with one hundred percent accuracy. Maybe there was simply less at stake back then and I could afford to accept the imperfections in stride. I knew this time around, this degree was what really mattered. Everything theretofore was inconsequential, nearly meaningless. I knew this venture involved my own money. My own future was in my own hands. If my start-up didn’t take off, I stood to lose a lifetime of hard work and dedication – or that’s how I illustrated it to myself.

Once I was faced with this new challenge and ready to accept my alcoholism, I chose an executive alcohol rehab because they allowed me to work three to four hours every day. Staying connected while recovering was absolutely critical for my company to survive its first years of existence – undoubtedly! You see, in addition to being a recovering alcoholic and a perfectionist, I’m also sort of a control freak. These were all qualities of my personality that completely confused me. But while I was in my executive alcohol rehab, my therapist explained it to me in such a simple manner that it was difficult to believe I failed to realize it. The disease of addiction constructs a new personality within the addict. He pointed out to me that it was my fear of failure that led to my obsession with perfection, which in turn led to my over-consumption of alcohol. Recognizing these trigger points for what they are, will be a key component of retaining my sobriety. I would never have figured out how to keep my life balanced, how to keep myself happy and how to keep my baby business growing steadily (all simultaneously) in the pages of a case study; I have my business and my health today because of my executive alcohol rehab.


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