Can Being Sober Cost You In Business?

Sobriety can undoubtedly help your health, but can it help you in business?  Business is often about relationships, relationships are often about socializing, and socializing is often about drinking alcohol.  Skipping social aspects of business that involve alcohol or being the sober person at business functions can mean missing out on business opportunities and create unique challenges for businessmen and businesswomen.


Drinking alcohol is part of doing business in America.  Meetings are held over drinks, alcoholic drinks - not over coffee, pressed green juices, or fruit smoothies.  Be it a couple gin and tonics with a colleague at lunch, entertaining a client over a few martinis, passing around glasses of whiskey at the business meeting, or open-bar business functions, alcohol is challenging to escape when doing business in America.  Alcohol is used not only as a means to socialize and do business, but also as a means to escape the daily stress of doing business.  As such, sobriety presents unique challenges for business professionals, and could cost you closing deals, creating partnerships, forging relationships or securing clients.


Individuals may have many personal reasons to not drink – it could be their religious beliefs, health goals, adverse effects with prescribed medications, being in recovery due to not being able to control their drinking, or just simply choosing not to drink out of personal preference.  Nonetheless, when you don’t drink or turn down a drink, people often look at you like you have two heads.  Especially when socializing and doing business, you are pretty much expected to be drinking.  People may become judgmental and jump to their own conclusions as to why you are not drinking and may suspect that if you don’t drink or aren’t willing to drink then you aren’t the type of person they want to do business with.  There are undoubtedly significant professional disadvantages to being sober.


Although there may be downsides to being a sober businessman or businesswoman in America, sobriety also offers its advantages in business.  Drugs and alcohol can cause significant damage to the brain, ultimately leading to a variety of issues including a low mood, meant health issues, slower cognitive functioning, poor decision making, and memory loss, among many others.  Fortunately, when an individual enters recovery, much of the neurocognitive damage caused by addiction can be healed.  As such, individuals who are sober may be more present, more alert, more efficient, have more energy, improved memory, and improved decision making, among many other benefits.  Undoubtedly being sober can improve your career through improved effectiveness, efficiency, discipline, energy, and mindfulness.  It is also worth noting that there are many successful sober businessmen and businesswomen such as Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, Larry Ellison, Austin Geidt, Audrey Gelman, and the list goes on.


Many business professionals struggle to address their alcohol or drug addiction for a variety of reasons.  One prevalent reason is their fear of how their colleagues, board members or clients may view them.  They may fear losing their job, as Larry Kudlow did when he went to rehab during his tenure with Bear Sterns many years ago.  Such individuals should know that addiction or other mental health issues are a medical concern covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and facing repercussions within a company is unlawful.  Nevertheless, if one does face consequences for addressing their alcohol or drug addiction, keep in mind that you are saving your life and doing what is best for you and your family.  Our own personal mental and physical health and wellbeing must always come first.


Taking a leave of absence to address an addiction is not always necessary.  Services such as those at Family Addiction Specialist in New York City specialize in working with executives and other business professionals who must maintain their careers while addressing their addiction in a private and discreet manner.  Family Addiction Specialist has an undisclosed private office in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and also offers concierge services to client’s homes.  Getting well does not have to completely disrupt one’s daily life, career, or family.  Family Addiction Specialist is a full-service concierge firm addressing addiction and mental health issues for executives and other high-net-worth individuals and their families in the NYC area.  Family Addiction Specialist offers coaching, therapy, psychiatry, and companionship for addiction and mental health related issues, and is comprised of mental health professionals such as licensed therapists and psychiatrists.


For more information or to inquire about Family Addiction Specialist’s private concierge services please contact their undisclosed therapy office location in the Upper East Side of New York City today at (929) 220-2912.

Lin Sternlicht & Aaron Sternlicht

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