Play Acting

Odysseus resisting call of the sirens painting.

I guess I’m what you could call the reluctant executive. Anyway, if there is such a thing, I would be the guy. I always exceled in my career because I thought it’s what I was supposed to do. I came from practically nothing and was told by someone somewhere along the way that if I worked hard enough, I could get out of poverty and make something for myself. Still, I always considered myself more of a behind-the-scenes kind of employee and was never comfortable being responsible for so many people. Although I ultimately adjusted to my role . . . I felt like I was an actor who could convince everyone of the part he was playing, but that was not who he really was off stage.

The fact is people look at you differently when you’re the boss, and this wasn’t always a good thing. When I started having a problem with Vicodin, I would have killed for some honestly instead of everyone treating me like I was made out of glass. I guess I couldn’t blame them for skirting the issue; I’m not sure I would be able to confront my boss over such a matter either. The only one who ever asked if I was OK was my secretary, and I have to assume that’s because she was the one worked closest to me.

My Vicodin addiction started when I sustained a facial injury during a motorcycle accident. It rapidly snowballed to the point where my job and my marriage were in jeopardy. I understand that it was nobody’s responsibility but mine to get help; but it would have been helpful if someone would have gotten in my face about it—I worked with this people practically round-the-clock. I say this mainly to anyone who is reluctant about confronting a boss about their substance abuse. You should never be afraid to tell the truth. I could have avoided a lot of anguish if someone would have just been honest with me.

Because of my years of painkiller abuse I was in constant pain when I first entered executive drug rehab. The first step of drug treatment is to physically stabilize the patient during their withdrawl process. After two years of consistent painkiller abuse, I knew my body wasn’t going to bounce back overnight. Withdrawal was harder than I ever thought it would be, but fortunately I had an excellent medical staff monitoring me around the clock. During my stay at executive rehab I learned a lot about myself and why I felt and acted the way I did after achieving success in my career.  In addition to learning how to control any future Vicodin cravings I might experience; I learned that I wanted to take a different career path from the one that I was currently on.

After leaving executive drug rehab, I decided to go into the consulting business. The good news is, I’ve never been happier professionally or personally. I’m my own boss and get to spend more time with my wife and daughter. Anytime I have felt a craving for any Vicodin or other pain pills, I think of Homer’s classic Greek story The Odessey. In my mind I think of Odysseuss (or Ulysses) and refuse to succumb to the call of temptation (drugs for me) from the sirens on the shore.

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