10 ,Feb, 2018

No one looks for a solution until they have identified an issue and there are three major reasons why functioning executives don’t realise they might have an issue with their use of alcohol and or drugs.


To illustrate this let me give you a real example ( I’ve changed the names to ensure confidentiality).


Recently I was contacted by Linda who was concerned about her husband’s drinking. Matt (her husband) was a partner in a mid-tier accounting firm and was working long hours. When they first married Matt was 26, going to the gym 4 times a week and would only drink on weekends and special occasions during the week. Over the years his work had started to consume his time and his attendance at the gym has reduced to once or twice a week. He has put on 7 kilo’s  and was arriving home most nights about 8pm and then having 3-4 glasses of wine before going to bed. On the weekends Matt would drink at least a bottle of wine on Saturday and if they went out for dinner even more. However, Matt had one golden rule and that was, he never drank on Sundays.


Linda had raised the subject of Matt’s drinking with him and had told Matt she felt his drinking was becoming an issue he needed to deal with. Matt’s response was


“How could I have a problem with alcohol when I am still producing great results in my job.”


The underlying logic of Matt’s response is this…his current situation won’t change going forward. Matt is incorrectly assuming his current level of productivity at work will continue into the future. Let’s look at some facts to help us understand why Matt’s logic is flawed.


Fact 1             The human body builds up a tolerance  to alcohol, so the more Matt drinks the more he will need to increase his intake of alcohol to have the same effect


Fact 2             If Matt maintains his current usage of 15-20 plus glasses of alcohol a week, both his physical and mental well-being will deteriorate. You cannot consume alcohol at these levels for an extended period of time without significant impairment to your physical and mental health.


Fact 3            Alcohol is a depressant and Matt is using alcohol as a stress reliever. The pressure and stress Matt works under is not going to go away, so Matt’s reliance on alcohol is going to be an ongoing issue that only gets worse as he requires more alcohol to achieve the same relief from the stress and pressure at work.


Fact 4             Alcohol is a mind altering substance and the longer Matt uses alcohol in the quantities he is currently using it, the more his grasp of reality will diminish.


After sitting down with Matt and taking him through the facts, he came to the conclusion he did not have the expertise to create a credible plan to ensure a successful future. He also admitted that everything he had tried to do to curtail his use of alcohol had not worked. I suggested to Matt he applies normal business thinking to his situation. Put simply, when a business lacks expertise in a certain area they will either hire someone or call in a consultant to fulfil the missing knowledge. Matt agreed he did not have the required expertise when it came to alcohol and what he needed to do to get his life back on track and heading in the right direction.


Matt agreed to complete our program and as to the outcome, I will let Linda have the last word.


“He is a changed man, every aspect of his life has dramatically improved. I have got back the man I married”