As an executive, it can be extremely difficult to admit something is wrong. For a female executive, it can be even more troublesome for personal reasons. Both men and women struggle to reach the top and work extremely hard to obtain an upper management position. Women, however, are often made to feel as if they have something to prove to show they have earned their position. Whether this is a true perception or not, it can still be daunting, especially if the woman is dealing with addiction or alcoholism. Every woman faces their obstacles differently. It's up to each one to decide how to travel their journey. When it comes to addiction or an issue with alcohol, the first step is always admitting that you have a problem.
Admitting There Is A Problem
When a woman can face her own demons and admit to herself and those around her that she has a problem with drugs or alcohol, she has taken the first step towards getting the treatment she needs. Until that time, she won't fully commit herself to treatment and could possibly relapse sooner than later. Women in an executive position often put off seeking help because they feel that they may be able to take care of the problem on their own. This is not always the case and without the proper treatment, the problem can escalate. It's important, however, that as a leader they realize they are setting an example for others who respect them and their position.
Ignore the Stigma
Many women in executive positions feel as if their leadership abilities are constantly being scrutinized. The stigma that is often attached to being a woman in a high ranking position can make it extremely difficult to admit any shortcomings whatsoever, especially addiction and alcoholism. Dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be overwhelming for anyone. It can be even more overwhelming when having to constantly battle against the stigma of being a female working in what has always been a male-dominated environment.(1)
Know the Signs and Symptoms
In a management position, women must maintain a high sense of order and decorum which can be shaken if drugs or alcohol are involved. It's essential that she understand the signs and symptoms of addiction. They include:
- Nervousness and irritability
- Inability to concentrate
- Unprofessional appearance
- Erratic behavior
- Loss of balance
- Unable to maintain their train of thought
Identifying the signs and symptoms in their earliest stages is important, especially if treatment is to be successful. Some symptoms are more subtle than others and may be easy to cover up to a point. It pays to be observant. Ask questions and approach the executive letting her know she isn't alone and that there are staff members who can offer assistance. Encouraging her to seek treatment may be what she needs to gather her strength and make the decision to seek treatment. Prompt treatment may prevent any long-term absences from work and will allow the woman to maintain a routine that is as close to their normal as possible. (2)
Research Treatment Options
When a woman begins to realize that her addiction or alcohol-use is out of control, researching possible treatment options will give her a good idea as to what she is in for. There are several treatment options that can be considered depending on how advanced their addiction is. A few of the most common treatment options include:
- In-patient rehab centers
- Out-patient rehab centers
- Neuro-feedback and brain-mapping
- 12-step programs
- Psychiatric evaluation to rule out a possible dual diagnosis
Treatment options can be pursued one at a time. Combining two or more may be a better solution due to being able to provide care on several different levels. This is true when a dual diagnosis is part of the equation. Be aware that multiple doctors may involve sharing information so that everyone knows exactly what is going on with every step of the treatment plan.
Creating A Support System
A good executive only gets to be where they are by working with others. Instead of falling prey to the stigma associated with addiction and alcoholism, establish a support system that the boss can rely on. Sometimes knowing that she has the support of those around her is just what she needs to take that step and decide to seek treatment. Just like any other illness that demands that a person take a day off, seeking treatment for addiction should be respected, allowing the executive to keep her medical appointments as scheduled.
Once treatment is underway, the next stage practicing self-care. The stress that an executive deals with on a daily basis can be overwhelming. It is extremely important that she find ways to relieve that stress in ways that work for her. Getting a massage or attending a yoga class can help to relieve the tension of the day and allow her to relax and enjoy her time at home. An essential part of self-care is talking to others. Share stories and ask questions. Learn as much as possible and above all, realize that they are not alone. Self-care should always be at the top of the list for any executive, especially when it comes to recovering from addiction and alcoholism. (3)
At The Ho Tai Way, women can start the recovery process and begin to rebuild their confidence and restore their health. If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of addiction and want to get your life back on track, contact the staff of The Ho Tai Way. They will be able to help you find the right treatment plan that suits your individual needs. They understand that seeking treatment is a decision that is not made lightly. It is their goal to do everything possible that will allow you to maintain your executive position and continue to pursue your career.