Forget the Myth: Professionals CAN Struggle with Addiction

Many people believe that professionals or business executives are immune to substance abuse. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Having a higher education, an executive title, and money doesn’t make you less vulnerable to addiction. In fact, it’s easy to see how the pressure that comes with maintaining a professional career could make you more prone to substance abuse.

If this is you, you may be good at hiding your problem and afraid that seeking treatment will destroy your career. However, getting help now will actually lower the chances of that happening. Here are some tips for getting on the right track.

Identify Your Problem

The first step in overcoming your addiction is recognizing you have a problem. Having a high-powered occupation could make you more likely to live in denial, because — in the back of your mind — you know all you have to lose. But you’ll never get better unless you accept your addiction and confront it head-on. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Isolation or withdrawal from others
  • Mood swings
  • Money problems
  • Lack of focus or concentration
  • Difficulty performing menial tasks at work
  • Noticeable change in weight

Another indicator that you have a problem is if your family or friends see it. Oftentimes, they will notice it before you do. If your spouse, partner, friend, or coworker approaches you with concern, try not to blow them off. If it’s gotten to the point where they feel they have to confront you, it’s probably time to address the issue.

Get Help

The consequences of not getting help for addiction far outweigh any temporary pleasure or relief a substance can provide. Simply put, you could lose everything: your job, family, marriage, friendships, financial status, other business opportunities — the list goes on. Also, the physical and mental abuse you’re putting yourself through can take its toll quicker than you might think. Short-term effects include anything from sleeplessness, high blood pressure, and stroke to psychosis, overdose, and death. Over time, drugs and alcohol will deteriorate your body and mind. This can lead to heart, lung, or liver disease; cancer; mental illness; and so on.

Fortunately, there are treatment programs specifically for professionals and business executives. Such programs are designed to help you continue performing professional duties—whether you’re doing outpatient treatment or staying at a recovery center. In other words, you can get help to beat your addiction without losing your job. Executive programs can also help you to restore your career and reputation as you return to professional practice. When it comes down to it, even if you needed to leave work for some time to go to rehab, it could ultimately save your career—and life, for that matter.

Win in your environment

Another critical part of addiction recovery will be your environment. Part of the mission for many executive treatment programs is to equip you to deal with triggers in the workplace. Studies have shown that stress at work is a leading cause of substance abuse. Also, it’s common for employees to go out for drinks after work, as they feel it helps them destress and build relationships with their coworkers. But when done too often, that can be a slippery slope to dependency or addiction. In recovery, your first priority must be your recovery. That could mean saying no to going out with your coworkers or skipping certain company events where you know there will be drugs or alcohol. Sometimes, you may not be able to avoid being around substances, and there are ways to win in those situations as well.

Having a high-powered position doesn’t shield you from the perils of addiction. The stress and pressure that come with a professional career can lead to coping with drugs or alcohol. The most important thing to remember is that getting help now can save your career and life from being destroyed. If you realize that you have a problem, accept it. Don’t waste another moment self-medicating. Reach out to a professional so you can start to renew your life.

This post was written for Revive Christian Counseling by Eva Beniot, Life Coach and Author of “The 30-Day Plan for Ending Bad Habits and Improving Overall Health”.

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Sober Vacation: Plan Ahead to Avoid Relapse During Recovery

Vacations are certainly different when we’re sober; in some ways, they’re even better. Prior to addiction recovery, many addicts have vacations that include partying hard for one night (which they probably won’t remember), then spending the next several days nursing a hangover. (What’s worse than a hangover? Having to fly on a plane while you have a hangover.)

Planning ahead for your vacation can help you avoid falling into traps.

Routines are key for addiction recovery – and yet, the very point of a vacation is to shake up your daily routine. With all the changes in your schedule while you are traveling, how are you supposed to continue your sober path while on vacation? It’s a vacation, after all… Aren’t you supposed to drink?

A sober vacation looks much different than this scenario. Instead, you might find yourself snorkeling in the ocean, exploring ancient ruins in another country, or relaxing by a fireplace while catching up on a good book. Best of all, you’ll be fully present and aware for all of it. You’ll remember your whole vacation, and you won’t be sick or hungover during any part of it. It’s simply not worth risking all of this joy, even for one teensy “little” drink.

Planning a vacation while in addiction recovery is simple. It really just comes down to knowing what to avoid. For recovering addicts and alcoholics, an obvious red flag is the presence of alcohol. While these things are more easily avoided at home, it can be tricky to avoid them completely while you are vacationing – especially if you’re visiting a new or unfamiliar place.

Another way to (hopefully) avoid relapse during your upcoming vacation is by carefully choosing your vacation activities. For instance, a yoga or meditation retreat will almost always be alcohol-free, and both of these activities – alone or apart – can be a boost to your mental health in sobriety. You can also look into vacation groups and specific vacation retreats that are available for newly-sober individuals like yourself. A simple Google search brings up a variety of Meetup groups, travel groups, and vacation planners specializing in retreats, resorts, sober travel, and getaways for those who are in addiction recovery.

If you’re looking for budget-friendly options and can’t afford an all-inclusive vacation, you’re in luck. Many travel websites now offer a “build-your-own sober vacation” package where you can pick a la carte activities while bundling your hotel and airfare for added savings. The Buzzfeed community also recently created this budget-friendly list. Many of the affordable options are appropriate for those who are living in sobriety and seeking an alcohol-free vacation.

If you haven’t noticed by now, planning a sober vacation doesn’t mean you have to plan a boring vacation – and it also doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. With some proactive planning on your part, and a little creative thinking, you’ll be able to plan your dream vacation – without the risks of relapsing. You’ll come home with your sobriety intact, along with new memories that will last you a lifetime.

This post was written for Revive Christian Counseling by Adam Cook of Addiction Hub, an online resource for addicts and those in recovery, as well as their families.

Struggling with Alcoholism? Let’s work together to get you on the right track. Call us, schedule your appointment online, or message us on Facebook. It’s time to get your life back.