I recently announced my new business as a Life and Recovery Coach on LinkedIn. This was a big step for me. Like many professionals, I was really good at hiding my own alcohol issues.
I was afraid to admit my problem, especially in the workplace.
Now, I have successfully addressed my concerns.
In an effort to reduce the stigma around choosing an alcohol free lifestyle, I would like to share more information about how getting rid of alcohol improves performance and increases productivity, in life and business.
I would like to inspire others who may be evaluating their relationship with alcohol. I want to share stories, about other high functioning professionals, who were able to ditch the drink, so people struggling with these issues will know they are not alone. It doesn’t have to be a dirty little secret. Getting support and connecting with others is more than half the battle.
I have coping strategies to share about how to turn down a drink a happy hour, how to get through a corporate holiday party booze free, and how to be comfortable at a client dinner when you are not refilling your wine glass.
There is so little information out there about this, in the business environment.
In the workplace, it feels taboo to talk about the negative effects of alcohol or benefits to being alcohol free.
Ironically, it does not feel taboo to talk about how drunk the client got at dinner last night or how many drinks your colleague had a happy hour, or who’s getting the drinks/what kind/and how much for the celebration in the conference room tomorrow afternoon. This kind of conversation makes for great morning office chatter.
The corporate cultures that I have belonged to, encouraged alcohol consumption. Perhaps that is one reason I was drawn to them? It was expected that you would have drinks often, maybe even get drunk. Free alcohol was a job perk. Beer cart on Fridays, all inclusive drinks on President Club trips, company paid weeknight Happy Hours, an office kegerator, drunken holiday parties, and all-you-can-drink networking events.
I worked in sales and was part of the work hard, play hard culture. I put in the hours and then I would imbibe, as a reward for my work. I made some of my closest industry connections by being at the party after the party and the meeting after the meeting. I was part of the exclusive Let’s Keep Drinking Club. Sometimes, I was The Club Leader.
The truth is, alcohol didn’t make me a better employee. It doesn’t make anyone better at their job. Anyone with a hangover can affirm this fact. Drinking often leads to regret. At the very least it wastes time and money. It is not a necessary requirement to financial gain, innovation, lifelong learning or long term relationships. And isn’t that the goal for most businesses?
Yet we fill our employees with opportunities and even pressure to drink alcohol and when it starts to harm someone we turn away and shame them for not being able to have the right amount. The right amount is always having another but never falling down, slurring your words, or worse. I was never someone that could do this appropriately, so I had to be really careful at work events. I have been to a few events where alcoholic beverages were free, but I had to pay for water, club soda, and cola, when I asked for the alcohol to be left out of the drinks.
That doesn’t even make sense.
I find it so refreshing when a leader turns down a drink. This gives permission to others to do the same. It's great when organizations put thought into offering alcohol free drink options.
Why wouldn’t you?
Its ok to not drink and to talk about the benefits of not drinking, as much as we talk about alcohol consumption, in the workplace.
There is no shame is being sober for whatever reason. There is no shame is talking about addiction, recovery, and mental health. Statistics show that you or someone you love has likely experienced one of these things. Therefore, it affects all of us.
Organizations would benefit by not assuming everyone wants a drink, and instead making it easier for people that don’t. I know many professionals who have felt left out because they were not part of the drinking culture at work. People choose to to not drink for a variety of reasons and still want to be included.
Let’s open the conversation and create a safe place for everyone, included non drinkers.
Even in the business world.
Even on LinkedIn.
This starts by making it ok to talk about.