Robert’s Abbeycare Experience

Stress induced drinking

Robert, a family business man, spent nearly 20 years drinking. Somehow, he managed to keep everything together for most of this time but, like all dependent drinkers, his life eventually crumbled. Robert tells us about his quick downfall but how he managed to get well against the odds. “The stresses of running my own business were always solved in my mind by opening a bottle. It was any bottle, wine and beer in the beginning then moving on to spirits when I was truly drinking for effect. The thing about alcohol was that it delivered what I was looking for in the short term – to calm down and relieve my stress and anxiety. However, in the long term my solution quickly became the problem. The problems in business are many and for me, they manifested themselves in mood swings that caused major relationship problems with my fellow directors, my managers and general workforce.” “I was finding it really difficult to maintain the focus that I had when I started the business and the real crunch came when I was breathalysed fifty yards from my business car park and subsequently lost my driving license and acquired a criminal record.

Playing the blame game

I blamed everyone in my office and factory for phoning the police and I started asking workmates if they had any suspicions about who could have been so ungrateful as to betray their loyal boss.” “My whole behaviour became obsessive and paranoid. It got so bad I couldn’t sleep at night and if any normal business differences in opinion occurred, I would blame the person in my mind as the person who phoned the police because they must bear a grudge against me.” “My whole thinking was quickly becoming distorted and a number of staff left, citing me and my behavior as the reason. I was challenged by my fellow directors and because I was firmly in denial about my drinking I accused them of taking sides and trying to force me out the business “I had started”.

Sinking further into denial

My fellow directors were also friends and I should have known that as they were only asking me to seek help and change. They even arranged an intervention with my family present and a trained member of staff from Abbeycare. I just couldn’t see that my problems were 100% related to my alcohol problem.” “I rejected everyone’s offer of help by telling them the good old story about how I would cut down and eventually stop by myself. Part of the intervention was to lay down consequences for me and these consequences were serious. I thought that the people present at the intervention were just posturing and they would never follow things through. I was wrong. My wife asked me to leave the family home and, after seeking legal advice, my fellow directors suspended me from taking any part in the business, although they offered me 3 month’s leave  and would review their decision if I attended treatment.” “I moved out of the family home and surprise, surprise my drinking got worse and I fell down some stairs and spent the night in hospital. While in hospital the young doctor told me that I was showing all the signs of alcohol dependency and I was very lucky that I avoided serious injury and had I ever considered Alcoholics Anonymous.

Finally seeking help

This was the final tipping point that made me commit to Abbeycare’s 28 day programme. I really, really needed the help and I got it.” “I am now back with the family and running my business again and this time properly – handling things the way they should have been for years. People who know me are constantly surprised in the change that has taken place with me. There is no one more surprised and pleased as I am.”

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