Do Startups Have a Drinking Problem?
Sarah Jane Coffey
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First off, thank you so much for sharing your experience — so happy to hear you’ve kicked the habit! I’m undergoing something similar on a smaller scale — I oftentimes go through 10 consecutive days of drinking every night, no less than a 6 pack, until I’m comfortably numb and/or euphoric. In an obviously ironic and sad twist, I can barely ever go to sleep without drinking prior even though I know that drinking is destroying my sleep in terms of quality. The only things I feel have tempered the habit have been the fact that I like working out and that I still care about my work enough not to allow myself to be impacted when I show up (not that I haven’t missed days because of it). I empathize thoroughly with your story and any person who doesn’t drink, and especially those who are subjected to peer pressure on a frequent basis. In my mind it takes colossal strength of will not to succumb. My father, at one point of his life, was an alcoholic, stopped cold turkey after my mother threatened to leave with me and my brother when we were too young to remember that. Never had a drop of any drink from as long as I remember him until he died. I’ve heard that it’s hereditary. For the longest time I’ve felt that that was a cop-out, an easy way to avoid responsibility for one’s destructive habit. But I think I’m becoming more receptive of the idea as time goes by. I see around me people who’ve addressed their problem successfully. I know I have it in me to do it to.

But don’t ever forget that little voice in you that is always happy to say: “Sure you can, but wait till tomorrow, not today”…

I guess this was a bit off topic, but as a contribution to the topic I will say this much — my environment, which is management consulting, is running wild with “work hard — party hard” attitude. There aren’t many people who don’t drink, and they are largely viewed with a mix of bemusement and contempt in a 30/70 ratio. On occasion I’ve skipped drinking among the team mates too, and this usually happens if I’ve hit a good workout streak of a week or two of consistent working out. But there has to be more understanding in the workplace, there needs to be more. My theory is that many (not all, but many for sure) of those who drink feel either weak, threatened by or being looked down upon by those who do not, which is so very unfortunate because 95% of the time absolutely not true… As with any other trait in other people that we perceive as superior — good looks, good shape, bad-ass possessions or mad high salary — not succumbing to a vice is something those who do succumb to it view as a knock on them instead of what it mostly is — either one’s natural state or one’s achievement born out of struggle with the very vice…

Sorry for the essay…

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