I’d been very lucky and worked very hard before alcoholism threatened to mess that all up. I sacrificed a lot trying to graduate school in three years to quickly get my MBA and start earning—I didn’t think I could feel pressure. I got a great job in NYC and was doing very well, but the more I did, the more was expected of me. I was barely 24 before I had a whole department depending on me, and when I thought about it, it was very scary.
My alcoholism was born of those nights where the only thing that seemed to calm me down was a shot…or six and those nights where a few drinks were necessary to get my work done or fall asleep. My nights of drinking gradually became a regular occurrence and eventually all bled into one. By the time I was 28, I was a full-blown alcoholic, and there was no hiding it from my boss at work. My boss fortunately really liked me and had always been appreciate of how hard I worked. One day at work he called me into his office one day and told me I needed to go to rehab for my drinking problem if I was continue to stay on at the company.
I agreed and entered an executive alcohol rehab program in Florida that allowed me to stay in contact with my job while getting the help I needed to quit drinking. Enrolling in a program for executives made all the difference. My doctor understood the pressures and nerves associated with my job, but went beyond that to explore deeply ingrained feelings of low self-assurance and a lack of confidence. The reason why I was nervous all the time was because I thought making the slightest mistake at my job would be the end of my life as I knew it. Meanwhile, it was all pressure I was putting on myself. This nervousness extended to other areas too, like relationships, finances and general quality of life.
Apart from getting me to stop drinking, rehab showed me how to manage my stress at work and not to place unrealistic expectations on myself. It also helped me to realize that the sky will not fall if I did not do everything perfectly in my life or at work. Today, I’m very grateful to be back at work and for have been given the second chance from my boss that has resulted in my completing my first full year of sobriety.