I thought I was the only one to ever be in my predicament. My career took me on a path where I wound wind up in charge of over 1500 people, the careers and livelihoods of whom I felt accountable for. Despite this great responsibility, and the rewards that went with it, I was battling an addiction to painkillers entirely on my own…and losing. During a snowboarding accident in 2010, I landed practically headfirst between my neck and shoulder. The pain was excruciating and I would have given anything for it to subside just a little.
My kids drove me to the hospital, where I was given Percocet for my pain and sent home. On the flight back to my home in Florida, I just stared at the bottle debating whether or not I should just throw it out. I did in fact dispose of my supply, but instead of going in the trash, it went down my throat. It only took about three weeks for me to develop my addiction to Percocet, but it took me about two years to end it and go back to my normal life.
By the time I returned to work from my injury, I was already on my second bottle—I was only out for two weeks. After a while I didn’t travel anywhere without my pills and kept a running ledger of the best places to score. I spent half the day high, and the other half disgusted with myself. After about two years, things finally unraveled when my wife a bottle of pills in my car—I’d become careless at hiding them. She just happened to be a retired physical therapist and knew what was going on. The look of disbelief and disappointment in her eyes was enough to wither a cactus, and I broke down in tears in front of her. She agreed to help me find help.
I was shocked and delighted to learn that there was a program that specialized in executive drug abuse treatment. I didn’t know that rehab had evolved to that point of specialty. During my stay I was able to stay in touch with people at my job, and told them I was taking a step back to deal with some “personal issues”.
In addition to an amazing recovery experience, they offered discretion and understanding. They also made me realize that I wasn’t alone and that there were plenty of executives who encounter what I went through, some of whom are actually much worse off. I’ve been sober for almost eight years, and am grateful to be back in control of my life.