My whole life, people had looked at me differently because I had money. It followed me everywhere, from grade-school through college right up until the beginning of my career. People use the term “comfortable” to describe someone with money; believe me when I tell you that “comfort” has nothing to do with it. I was constantly being second-guessed at work because my father helped arrange the interview. Nobody took me seriously, even though I graduated near the top of my class and had proven myself, time after time. I know what you’re thinking: “poor little rich boy” right? Well, until you are so besotted with guilt over who you are (even though you have zero control over it) that you develop an alcohol addiction, I’ll thank you to spare the remarks.
I don’t think I ever got comfortable with myself because, frankly, nobody ever let me. You’d be amazed at how cruel people can be when motivated by jealousy. I’m not making any excuses; I’m just stating the reality of the situation. I started drinking when I was in college, because it helped me connect with people who-all things being equal-would have rather not bothered with me. My drinking got worse when I left college and started my career. The pressure of always having to prove myself and deal with the accusations of entitlement nearly killed me—drinking was the only escape from that.
After a few short years of trying to balance my addiction with my career, I finally gave all my co-workers the train-wreck they were begging for and had an alcoholic meltdown at the office. They had no idea what was behind it (most of them never will); but I knew that I needed to get help after that. It was at this point that I decided my life was worth saving, by any means necessary, and checked into a luxury rehab. I wanted to get the best treatment available and heal in a way that made me as comfortable.
Initially I felt the old urge to apologize settling in once again. I looked around at the amazing amenities this place offered and felt like I was cheating. I also doubted this place’s ability to help me (it seemed like more of a getaway than a treatment program). But shortly after I finished my alcohol detox and started my actual treatment everything gradually started to change for me. I learned how to work through my issues in a way that made it possible for me actually sit down and write this. Before treatment, I never would have been able to admit this about myself. It sounds simple enough, but once I stopped worrying about how others saw me, I was able to stop hiding behind alcohol.
The old me would have just packed my desk and left my job after I completed treatment; instead I chose to stick it out and have been performing unbelievably ever since. I’ve been sober for over three years and have learned many things, including this: people will always find a reason to talk; and you can always find a reason not to listen.