I don’t know if I ever would have needed to be in an executive alcohol rehab program if I was born with a Type-B personality. Type B personalities never stress about anything, it seems. They do not get overly hostile or aggressive. They have no compulsion to meet deadlines and they’re not particularly competitive in the work force. (They probably don’t land in an executive alcohol rehab program—ever!) I’ve always been all of those things, a true over-achiever at heart. Until recently, that has always seemed advantageous. Type A always got me the straight A’s (ironically) and the promotions. Type A got me praise. Type A got me a CEO position at a Fortune 500. But in recent years, in my case, Type A may as well mean Type Alcoholic. The only way that I could end the work day was with Type Alcohol. Usually ending the work day came in stages. Stage one was leaving the office to meet with clients for dinner and/or happy hour—alcohol would be consumed with both. Stage two of ending the day would include coming home, making my list of things to do for tomorrow while drinking a glass (or bottle) of wine. Stage three was when the list was completed, I’d break out the serious liquor – usually scotch—that would knock me off my feet into unconsciousness.
When I finally realized I needed help with this “habit” – as I called it back then – of self-medicating myself into sleep, I knew that I did not want to go away somewhere where I would be cut off from the world. Not to mention, I really did not want to jeopardize what I’d worked hardest for: my career. I found Seaside Palm Beach and chose it not only for its facilities and renowned faculty but also for the fact that they understood that I would still need to be able to work for a few hours every day. The therapists worked around my schedule! Not having to let go of my professional life really allowed me to accept the help that I needed.
I know I’m responsible for my own addiction but I can’t help thinking, wondering, analyzing – all faults of my type A personality – that if maybe I could just relax more naturally and not stress out about everything and anything, that maybe I never would have walked down this path of addiction. I may never reach any answers with this type of pondering. So I will simply keep making my ‘to-do’ lists while memorizing the most important list of all: the 12 steps. I will keep coming up with ways that I can work and interpret the 12 steps. I may always be too wrapped up in my own career, goals and lists to make it to that 12th step where I am to carry out this message to alcoholics and to practice the 12 step principles in all of my affairs—but I hope to make it there eventually. Maybe that could be my job after retirement. For now, I at least know that I’m lucky to have been afforded the opportunity to be a part of an executive alcohol rehab program. Without it, I may have lost not only my career but my life.