My Drinking Almost Ruined My Career

Hung over businesswoman falling asleep at her desk.

There are a great many people who say that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to stay ahead in their career, but far less wind up meaning it. I spent years building a successful career in finance, and working my way up the ladder on Wall Street. This meant working nearly impossible hours, making huge sacrifices in my social life and throwing myself completely into my work, but eventually I got there. After five years, I’d proven myself enough to be hired for an executive’s position at my firm and I finally had a little breathing room. The ironic thing was that just as I was getting to a good point in my career, is when I developed a drinking problem.

I’d always been a social drinker, but I started to rely on alcohol more and more as I approached my mid forties. It was the perfect punctuation mark for any occasion. If I closed a deal at work, I had a drink to celebrate; if it was a holiday and I knew I had some time off, I’d have several; if it was the weekend, I’d try my best to immediately get as drunk as possible and stay that way until about 4pm on Sunday. I didn’t know if this behavior had just come out of nowhere or if it was in me all along, either way it started to spill over into my professional performance.

A few times, I showed up to meetings completely hung-over and I’m fairly certain that my colleagues recognized my condition. I knew I had to do something or else I’d lose my job and everything I’d worked for. I told everyone that I was heading down to Florida for vacation, but I was really going to enter an executive alcohol rehab facility that I’d found. In the six years I’d been working at the firm, I never once put in for time off, so I had a lot of time owed to me. The program I entered was even more helpful than I thought it would be. I received some enlightening and sensible insight into my approach to work, values and life. This helped me to understand why I ramped up my drinking when I did and that I used it as an escape.

I returned to New York, better able to focus on my job and balance my life. I knew that if I didn’t get help in time, alcohol would ruin everything for me. Thanks to this truly excellent treatment program, I am sober today and moving forward again with my career and the rest of my life.


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