Sometimes Success Comes at a Price

Ship throttle set to max for conceptual work stress.

I use to think that anyone who has a successful career must really have their life together. I have learned that you never know what it takes to get the energy to succeed; what fuel a person is using to drive themselves. Nobody bothers to ask if you’re OK until something goes wrong, and by then, you’re anything but OK. I tried to sustain the unsustainable and wound up paying the ultimate price as a result. Speed was the fuel that fed my engine, and the catalyst that ultimately blew it up.

From an early age, I was taught that it was extremely important to be impressive; academically, socially, athletically, philanthropically, etc. I did everything, and enjoyed nothing. I’m not blaming what happened to me on anyone else but myself; I’m merely trying to offer some context. I was always too busy to find out what made me really happy, so as I was approaching my thirties, it seemed like a foregone conclusion. My job was the one place where things seemed to make sense. I could control everything and make a real impact through what I was doing.

The higher they moved me up, the more pressure I felt, but I never let on that I felt any. I simply started drinking more to relax my thoughts and manage my workflow. I never had an opinion about drinking either way. I had friends who were functioning alcoholics, but still went on to live exceptional lives. To me alcohol didn’t pose a threat, until it actually posed a threat. I became more paranoid and agitated than I had ever been. I started verbally abusing my colleagues and subordinates and just bursting into these fits of rage out of nowhere. It was like there was a war inside my head–a war that I was losing.

I wasn’t getting any work done and could tell that my career was on shaky ground. Eventually my alcohol abuse turned me into a walking corpse; a shadow my physical, intellectual and professional self. My boss had an executive intervention for me and gave me a recommendation for an executive alcohol rehab in Singer Island, Florida. He specifically choose it because I could continue to stay in contact and even do some work while I was there so I wouldn’t be completely cut off from everything. This was therapeutic for me, because I wasn’t anxious about losing my job. My company was a lot more understanding than I ever thought they would be.

Not only did this executive alcohol rehab help me quit drinking; it also helped me realize that I never did learn how to be happy. Until I entered my program, I thought it was perfectly normal to never be content and to spend your life putting others before yourself. I learned how to be confident in my job and in my life, while valuing myself as a person, and that has changed my life.

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