5 Stress Management Tips for Executives in Recovery

The life of an executive in the workaday world is difficult and stressful by itself.  The life of an executive in the workaday world who is also a recovering addict is even trickier.  Stress and difficulties at work are two of the top reasons why people who are in recovery relapse and executives often have plenty of both.

How does an executive keep his or her head above water and continue to be successful in their endeavors and also be successful in their recovery too?  How does one go about achieving what he or she wants out of life as a successful executive without getting overworked and risking a relapse back onto drugs and alcohol?  Accomplishing this is not necessarily easy or likely at all, but it is quite necessary and it does need to be done now more so than ever before.

There are many different factors that I have taken note of that can seemingly either make or break an executive’s career, especially if he or she is a recovering addict.  I have included five of the main ones here in hopes that they will shed some light on some of the issues that you may be having and provide you with some ideas on how to address those issues:

  1. Stress. Stress is obviously the biggest factor by far and we all know it.  It could be the stress of having to make constant decisions, of having to always be mentally prepared for the next challenge right around the corner. It might be the stress of knowing that a product might fail if you mess up the deal, that you might lose a contract, and that a lot of people could be out of a job (including yourself).  Stress on high levels is just an issue that executives face in their jobs in much higher doses than others do, and it can create a relapse if one does not address it with stress-relieving tools.
  2. Failure. Everyone messes up at work to one degree or another, but when an executive messes up it is a big problem. If an executive fails, it could be drastically detrimental for the company and for all of the employees.  That is the shame and the burn that can cause a relapse to occur, so one absolutely has to be very careful of this and be ready to deal with it by jumping back in the saddle and creating a success that is greater than the failure.
  3. Success. This can have a good side and a bad side.  When one is successful as an executive, the impulse can be there to abuse drugs or alcohol again as a kind of celebration for that success.
  4. Lifestyle. Executives often live extravagant lifestyles, and the effect of that often is done in tandem with drug and alcohol abuse and addictive and dangerous substance abuse habits.  That is just the simple truth of it.  Business executives are always drinking with other executives to celebrate something good or to get over something bad.  For a recovering addict, one has to set himself or herself apart from the status quo and really make an effort to rise above the stereotype.
  5. Pressure.  Business executives have more pressure on them than anyone else in the company.  Since drugs and alcohol can be seen to be relaxing, the incentive is often there to use them and abuse them to, “relax”.  This is not relaxation, though.  This is relapse and possibly overdoses we are talking about here.  A far cry from actual relaxation.

Truth be told, there are a lot of ways to address these difficult times of a business executive, and none of them have anything to do with using drugs and alcohol.  Exercise, social activities, taking a break, getting out of the office for a little while, going for a walk, having a good meal, chatting with a friend, going to the gym, winding down, hanging out with the family, all of these can have the relaxing effect that one needs to keep his or her head on and not go back to a substance abuse habit.

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