Man Makes It To The Top, Nearly Loses It All To Alcoholeditor | 22/03/2019 | 0 | Incidents
Steven Wall’s alcoholism had gotten so bad that one morning his boss and family gave him an ultimatum. If he didn’t stop drinking he would lose his job, his marriage, and his two daughters. At the time, Wall was coming off of an alcoholic bender on a business trip. It took being told he could lose everything he loved for him to agree to get treatment. Part of Wall’s severe drinking problem stemmed from how he handled pressure at a high-stress job, which is a leading reason why people turn to alcohol.
The writing on the Wall
Wall’s father died from alcoholism at age 55. Besides a genetic predisposition towards alcoholism, Wall claims there were other warning signs in his life. He claimed he drank to the point of blacking out countless times, starting in high school. He was always the first one to suggest a drink and the last one still drinking. Once he blacked out from drinking while driving after a business lunch, and that night had to miss an event for one of his children due to his inebriation. This made him give up drinking for a few years and attend a few Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but he wasn’t serious about recovery and didn’t seek professional help. He tried to stop drinking based on his willpower but found the demands of his job led him to drink. He never lasted longer than a few months without a drink.
Wall’s final bender
In a bender that resulted in the ultimatum from his boss and family, Wall drank so much on a business trip that paramedics were called and Wall was sent home. Even then, he confesses to drinking on the way home.
After the ultimatum, Wall started a 30-day in-patient stay at a Caron Treatment Centers. He has continued therapy and involvement in AA meetings and hasn’t had a drink since.
Do some jobs drive people to drink more?
Studies show that lawyers have a higher rate of alcohol abuse than other professions. Their vulnerability is increased by the stress of heavy workloads and long hours. They are also working alone or in opposition to someone, which can increase their risk. These same factors make lawyers at higher risk for depression and anxiety as well. Lawyers are also at increased risk for drug abuse, such as amphetamines and painkillers, or even heroin.
There have been many recent examples of successful lawyers who have died from suicide or overdose. One is Gabe MacConaill, a 42-year-old partner who shot himself in the garage of his office building in 2018. His widow penned an open letter, “Big Law Killed My Husband,” stating that she believes her husband had a mental health disorder that was exacerbated by stress from his job.
What work places can do to help
Workplaces, especially at high stakes and high-stress jobs like lawyers or doctors, need to foster a work environment that supports employees with mental health and addiction issues. Instead of fearing to lose their jobs, employees should feel secure that their work will support them if they seek treatment. With the rise in alcohol and drug overdose deaths, employers have a responsibility to take action to support employees struggling with mental health and addiction issues.