It’s not easy to make sense of the high-functioning alcoholic (HFA), but there are more of them than we think. People earning more than $75,000 per year drink more alcohol than any other economic group. About 81 percent of these high earners consume alcohol on, at least, a semi-regular basis. While the majority of them drink in moderation, far too many fall victim to the disease of addiction.
Understanding How an HFA Executive Hides Their Alcoholism
Alcoholic executives may use their position and privileges to keep the denial train running past the point of no return. When they do finally plunge off the cliff, the tumble is often long and hard. It may end in disgrace, embarrassment, job loss or arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). Their fall from grace becomes public knowledge, and the whispers and finger-pointing all but impossible to escape.
Is Stress the Key to Understanding the High Functioning Alcoholic?
Emptiness Drives Success and Addiction
This isn’t to suggest that high stress on the job plays no role in alcoholism among executives. But substance abuse often masks deeper emotional troubles and psychological maladjustment. People turn to drugs or alcohol to cover enduring, unresolved pain. That pain can also create an obsessive need for material success, fame and recognition. Men and women driven to succeed in the workplace may be haunted by the past. They may rely on career achievements to compensate for hurts that refuse to heal.