People in academia share a simultaneous denial and pride in their addiction as the profession does little to dissuade this idea. Self-medicating has become the norm for academics when they socialize and just as a means of connection between other academics. Denial is a large part of fueling addiction to alcohol. Find out why academics struggle with it and how to heal.
Too Smart to Drink
For people who struggle with alcoholism, one drink can turn into five, ten, even fifteen before they are able to stop for that moment. It may not look like that, though, it may look like drinking a glass of wine everyday at lunch, after classes, and consistently seeking more of it to fuel the addiction. Academics are often seen as the brightest people in the world, committed to further study and research that helps inform their teaching of other bright young minds around the world. There is a darker reality to the idea they are too smart to drink. The truth is alcoholism can touch anybody’s life no matter how smart they are, where they live, or how much money they have. Alcohol addiction is non-discriminatory in how it takes over people’s lives and can ruin relationships and careers very quickly.
Why it Happens
The darker reality for academics who struggle with alcoholism is that they often live in their heads a lot. Parsing out data, pouring over research and using the thinking part of their brain to logically understand what is going on. The stress and intermingling of life and work almost feels like a person can get stuck in the challenges of academic life and the hectic schedule. Professors are not the only ones who struggle with problem drinking. Academics may drink to numb feelings of guilt, failure, panic, and stress that comes from continuing to produce research and ideas that further their study and supports that of other academics. Perhaps they are fighting to keep their job or get tenure or struggle with low paid jobs in various places, working just to pay the bills. Escapism is a large part of why people who struggle with alcoholism keep it going for so long. It is easier to escape the realities than it is cope with them sober.
Making the Shift
There needs to be a shift in how people in academia grapple with alcoholism. Short term, there should be alternative options for people to attend conferences and not feel the need to drink. Socializing should not be solely focused around drinking alcohol when there are many other options (coffee, tea, alcohol-free events). Long-term, academics should realize that they may be more sensitive and susceptible to the numbing effects of drinking to cope with their daily life. Being aware of how a person responds to stress individually can bring heightened awareness to those coping mechanisms and how to make the shift away from using substances to finding help for addiction and work towards healing.
The Springboard Center’s addiction treatment programs are tailored to meet the needs of each client. No matter where you come from in life, alcoholism and addiction can still take over your life before you realize what it has done. We are a safe space to find healing without judgment. By utilizing a set of diverse methods of addiction treatment, we are able to deal with your addiction from all angles and concentrate on every aspect of your healing process. Call us if you are ready to stop drinking and start the healing journey of recovery: 432-620-0255