Alcohol addiction – “my job drove me to drink”
How a daily routine can cause stress-induced drinking
Many people with addictions still manage to hold down regular jobs or complete regular tasks expected of them, but it is what they do behind closed doors to cope with stress that can lead them to engage in addictive behaviours. Addiction rehabilitation delivers support and guidance by helping people to understand the reasons and causes for their behaviour and providing them with a full team of support specialists.
When the UK fell into a recession, reports of dubious banking practice and stories about bankers’ bonuses often made the news. What received scant attention was the impact that such negative press had on the people on the ground: the high street bank workers that didn’t earn anything close to their bosses, but often had to bear the brunt of public anger. Elaine, a former bank worker was one of these integral, but overlooked, cogs and explains that it was due to a couple of reasons that she reached the point where she could barely face turning up for work.
One thing after another
“I worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as a cashier, and the rest of the week I was in the accounts services and banking products division. For the first part of the week, I was often on the receiving end of verbal abuse from customers, who vented their anger towards rich banking bosses at ordinary bank workers, like me. And then from Thursday to Saturday my manager also piled on the pressure in a different way: by increasing my target and bullying me until I hit it each month. He used to walk behind me as I was sitting at my chair and whisper threats. He’d remind me of the consequences of missing a target, and hammer home the point that I could be replaced at any moment.”
As a result of all that pressure, Elaine’s regular alcohol consumption level increased from moderate to excessive. She then developed full-blown alcoholism after finally caving in to the pressure and resigning.
Addiction and workplace stress
Developing an addiction is common among people who are being bullied in the workplace or are placed under huge amounts of stress. Stress and bullying can then lead to anxiety and depression, which often has a direct effect on self-worth, motivation and productivity and can be the cause of subsequent physical and other mental health problems, relationship issues, and in some cases, even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Whilst Elaine’s story is based within the banking sector, workplace stress is a very real reality across all workplace sectors and all levels of seniority.
A new pathway
Elaine took advice from her union representative and the Financial Conduct Authority, and successfully won a financial settlement. She put the money to good use:
“I checked into a private rehab clinic, and, after a six-week course of rehab treatment, overcame my addiction. I now don’t drink at all and am retraining in counselling skills at my local college. I’ve never been happier!”
*All names have been changed.