For about twenty years I was a corporate accountant for four major companies. I can tie the onset of my alcoholism directly to my work. I think about the stigmas that are often attached to the accounting profession like, boring, stale, mundane, etc., and just have to laugh. When you find out your biggest client is hiding money from its partners and the IRS, life gets exciting in a hurry. For about three and half years I was in the middle of a protracted legal battle that destroyed my credibility in my profession, gave me two ulcers, and nearly cost me my CPA license. During this dark time in my life, I contemplated suicide, but was content to destroy my life by turning to alcohol.
I started abusing alcohol when I felt I had nothing to live for. I was extremely depressed and my alcoholism is a direct result of that depression. It started with a few too many drinks at the end of one of my seemingly infinite depositions. Before I knew it, I didn’t do anything without a drink in my hand. Alcohol calmed my nerves, provided an escape, alternated reality and made life tolerable. I never married and had no children, so I wasn’t “hurting” anyone with my behavior and began to walk about life in an alcoholic trans.
I’d been temporarily suspended from my job-from the very people that put me in this position-pending the trial and emergence of new evidence. By the time I was cleared to return to work, there was no way anyone would hire me in the state that I was in, and I could hardly blame them. Nevertheless, I’d squandered a majority of my savings on legal fees and alcohol and needed some source of income, so I went back to work for my company on a consultant basis.
During the day, when I wasn’t drinking, I would get blinding headaches, lash out at people, experience minor tremors and palpitations, and crave a drink so bad that my whole body hurt. My boss sat me down one day and told me he had heard how much I started drinking, and that he’d be willing to pay for this specialized executive rehab program for professionals with addiction problems. I told him I didn’t need rehab, and said that if he was really so concerned than he should have kept me out of the legal fire. He absorbed that pretty well, and asked me to reconsider. I took the literature that he had, and went home, expecting to throw it right in the trash.
On my way home from the office that night, I put away a bottle Grey Goose I had stored in glove compartment and ran an intersection, totaling my car and three others. The next day I took my boss up on his offer. My treatment program catered to professionals with unique addiction care needs and circumstances. I was happy to find a place that understood so clearly what I was going through. I’ve been sober for 18 months, and set up my own practice out of my home office. To this day, I’m glad I heeded the signs when they came, and am now living life one day at a time without fixating on what a mess my life used to be.