Rehab For The Executive
Many onlookers are cynical about the struggles high-powered people face. An oft-repeated truism is that the rich suffer from addiction while the poor are junkies. And there are definitely massive advantages that help the privileged overcome their problems, including a support system which they can fall back on. However, this should not detract from the fact that high-powered people face specific challenges when it comes to addiction that others do not. These challenges are no more or less valid than any others.
It is for this reason that rehab for the executive needs to be somewhat different than for the general public. The right environment, along with specific resources, can prove the key to a successful process with a low chance of relapse.
Let’s take a look at the challenges executives face when it comes to addiction, before examining what their rehab process needs to look like.
These are the common challenges executives need to overcome when facing the prospect of rehab.
If you’re an executive in a company, chances are that you cannot simply take time off. While people in most other positions can take extended leave without the company falling apart, your role is too specific and important to be left vacant. There is likely no one who can slot in for you for longer than a couple of days.
This is one major reason that executives put off going to rehab for so long. Chances are, you feel it would be not only selfish but just plain irresponsible to leave your business in the lurch. You wait for the right time, but that time never seems to come. You are always needed for something, and always have to be reachable.
Few people are comfortable with others knowing they have an addiction problem. Society is not kind to addicts, especially considering the lack of understanding that addiction is a disease. You can’t “just say no.”
However, when you are in a high-powered position, your reputation is particularly vulnerable. The smallest misstep can place you and your company in a compromising position. If investors, competitors, and clients know that you are struggling with addiction, they might see you as untrustworthy. They could threaten to pull their support or, in the case of competitors, use your illness against you.
Privacy is of particular importance for an executive. You may be putting off rehab in the fear that others may find out about your condition.
A “Conducive” Environment
It’s no secret that being in a high-powered position can make you vulnerable to drug abuse. Your work environment may be “conducive” to drug use. People around you may be using cocaine and other substances to work longer and harder, showing a veneer of confidence to whoever they come into contact with.
Executives leaving rehab will have to integrate into this environment with the ability to withstand the pressure from themselves and others. You might feel like there’s no point in getting clean, as there is too much chance you’ll fall right back into old patterns.
Successful Rehab For Executives
These challenges are significant. However, they are no more insurmountable than the challenges faced by anyone addicted to substances. With the appropriate treatment, geared specifically for your situation, you can successfully recover and stay clean.
Here are some of the factors rehabs put into place to help high-powered executives.
It should be no surprise that most rehabs require an unflinching commitment to the program, with rigid schedules and restrictive rules. This can lay the groundwork for recovery by making the environment as safe and conducive to change. However, this simply is not possible for many executives.
Rehabs geared towards executives therefore build in a measure of flexibility. Rather than requireing you to cut yourself off from the outside world, they allow you to bring your work onto the premises. You stay in touch, with the ability to work remotely when necessary.
At the same time, they ask you to be completely transparent about your work, and the staff are trained to distinguish between legitimate requests and attempts to manipulate the system.
Ideally, rehab should help you come to terms with your addiction, to the point at which you no longer feel shame in suffering from what is a common illness. In the case of executives, however, it is often necessary to put on a show for the outside world.
Rehabs for executives help you work on the shame, while at the same time constructing a way of presenting your situation to the world. If there is no way you can be transparent about your addiction without compromising your position, they will help you remain honest with yourself while presenting others with a slightly different reality. This should not be built on lies, but misrepresentations can be necessary.
Furthermore, the rehab may give you the opportunity to attend meetings that you could not miss without bringing up too many questions. They will also ensure the highest level of privacy, assuring you that your attendance will remain strictly confidential.
Going back into an environment conducive to drug abuse is always going to be a massive challenge. However, there are ways of ensuring you are fully prepared. In rehab, you will work on strategies to make it through these particular challenges. You will rehearse ways in which you can react when trying to stay sober in this kind of environment.
Furthermore, when you leave the rehab, you can get the assistance of a sober coach, who you can call when you are in a particularly tough situation. They will guide you through each and every challenge, being a constant support and your biggest cheerleader.
Many executives have managed to stay sober in spite of a high-pressure environment. With the right preparation, and the support of a sober coach, you too can get and stay clean.
Rehab For The Executive
High-powered people face particular challenges when it comes to recovering from addiction. However, with rehab geared towards the executive, you can come through it successfully, achieving sobriety and maintaining it no matter what pressures you face.
- Speller, J. L. (1989). The Jossey-Bass management series and The Jossey-Bass social and behavioral science series. Executives in crisis: Recognizing and managing the alcoholic, drug-addicted, or mentally ill executive. Jossey-Bass
- O'Connell, D. and Bevvino, D. (2007). Managing your recovery from addiction. New York: Haworth Press.
- Rachel L. Rayburn (2015) “I’m not an alcoholic anymore”: Getting and staying sober without meetings, Addiction Research & Theory, 23:1, 60-70, DOI: 10.3109/16066359.2014.929117