I’m not going to bore you with cautionary tales of how money doesn’t bring you happiness. I know how trite, and frankly false, it sounds for someone to bemoan their privilege and fortune. What I will tell you, however, is that all the money in the world can’t shield you from substance abuse or addiction. In fact, it’s very often the case that the more you have, the more you have to lose. As someone who’s responsible for over 100 employees, I felt this pressure every day of my life and it’s not something that ever really goes away, either.
When I was building my business, it was the most fun I’d ever had in my life. The years spent growing my company were like a roller-coaster ride filled with optimism, terror, euphoria, reward and struggle. I never even thought of drinking during this time because I needed to stay sharp to grow my operations as much as I could. Things were happening at lightning speed and I needed to stay focused and keep my eye on the ball. Frankly, there wasn’t time to sleep much less celebrate. I was determined not to miss out on a single financial opportunity.
When I finally got as big as I wanted to, I felt like the dog that caught the car. I was operating under the expectation that there would be time to rest once things started leveling off and operating on their own. Here’s a tip for any aspiring business-owner: no company ever operates on autopilot, no matter how long they’ve been around. It doesn’t get easier; in fact it only gets more difficult as more people start depending on you for their livelihood. Instead of enjoying my success, I started to dread it. This is when I started my excessive drinking.
As my alcohol abuse got worse, I started to think: “Who’s going to question me if I want to have a drink during the work day?” In almost no time at all, I had lost complete control of myself and the company that I had worked so hard to create. In an effort to get my life back together, I entered a luxury alcohol treatment program in Florida. While I was there I got help for my alcohol abuse as well as my anxiety and learned to temper my caution with relaxation and positive energy. It was exactly the wake-up call that I needed to regain control.
When I left treatment, I took a brief sabbatical from work, but I was determined to start enjoying life within the company I created. I said before that I wasn’t going to give you a cautionary tale of how many can’t buy happiness; but I will advise you that we are all equally vulnerable to stress and it’s amazing how quickly addiction can derail everything good in one’s life. Hang on as tight as you can.