Alcoholism and Workplace Pressure: Do You Feel You Have to Drink to Succeed?

alcoholFrom those in sales positions to lawyers and Wall Street brokers, there are a variety of professions where your drinking habits – or lack thereof – can impact your career. Taking out a client and wining and dining them is a major part of many sales jobs, while hanging out at the bars with coworkers and superiors after work is part of the culture in other professions. The effect of drinking on opportunities in business make many people feel that it’s the only way to get ahead if you want to climb the corporate ladder.

Some justify this behavior as all part of the game to close the next big deal or grab the next promotion. The whole scene is completely fueled by trying to get a bigger paycheck – not any sort of genuine social bonding. For some, this game works, and they know how to stop when its time, but for those with a drinking problem, how do you get ahead while remaining sober?

Not Drinking Can Affect Someone’s ‘Social Capital’

Psychologists define this problem from the perspective of one’s “social capital.” This term describes the amount of potential income that is dependent on someone’s ability to fit in with those they interact with at work or elsewhere.

There are a wide range of reasons why someone might choose not to drink including:

  • Religion
  • Pregnancy
  • Recovery
  • Health reasons
  • Simply don’t enjoy it

However, many people in our culture unfortunately still hold people suspect when they don’t drink alcohol. According to Link Christin, an expert in alcohol treatment for legal professionals, “If you say you don’t drink, you have to deal with the suspicion that you can’t play the game.” It’s taken by some as almost a weakness.

Strategies to Fit in on the Corporate Social Scene and Stay Sober

Despite these stereotypes, it is obviously still possible to succeed in business without ever picking up a glass of alcohol. Consider the financial success of presidential candidate Mitt Romney – he does not drink for religious reasons. His lack of alcohol consumption has not stopped him from achieving substantial success in his career.

Some in recovery say that when they are honest about why they do not drink it can be uncomfortable at first, but they notice over time they become the go-to person in the office for other individuals struggling with the same issue. Nevertheless, not everyone is ready to be the spokesperson for recovery especially if they are new to it themselves.

Some tricks to stay sober and still be comfortable in a work setting where everyone else is partaking in alcohol include:

  • Have a waiter put a seltzer with lime in a rocks glass.
  • Simply order a non-alcoholic drink with no need for an explanation.
  • Use humor such as saying you’re pregnant after ordering a non-alcoholic beverage.

If you’re having a hard time managing your alcohol intake due to work expectations, call us at Axis today. We can give you the information you need about alcohol rehab. Call now.