Academics Struggle with Alcoholism: How to Help Them Navigate Recovery

Academics Struggle with Alcoholism: How to Help Them Navigate Recovery

The profession of academia is not for the faint-of-heart. More challenging for academics is they think they are smarter than the addiction itself. Alcoholism, especially, is tricky to navigate because academics continue to struggle with drinking as a way of coping with the stress of their jobs and life. Recovery is difficult for anyone, but professionals in an academic institution may feel more shame and stigma that some might surround their behavior. Find some tips on how to help academics navigate recovery and find healing. 

Why Academics Drink

A higher than an average number of academics turn to over drug use for various reasons. Some of it is because academics are focused on mental tasks day in, day out, parsing together and pulling apart information to make sense of it all. Professors may live so much in their heads, they often forget to live in their lives, as well. Many other professionals drink besides academics and professors, but there is something specific about this profession that leans toward self-medication. Other reasons academics drink include:

  • Feelings of failure, guilt, or panic
  • Sense of urgency to finish a dissertation or other major project
  • The stress of seeking tenure
  • Worries and anxieties about work with life balance

Escaping with drinking is nothing new for academics. Other people do it, too, but the difference is that academics may tend to hide it from friends and others more than drink in the open for others to see. They may spend more hours alone studying, writing, and researching which lends itself to finding ways of assuaging their guilt over the time they spend away from family or friends on work. 

Navigating Recovery

The best way to create a shift for academics is to offer help in the form of education. Although academics are highly educated, they do not always know much about addiction, how it works, or why they are drinking in the first place. If they knew, perhaps they would stop doing it. In the long run, academics need more support from colleagues to seek help and more awareness of the challenges of addiction within the profession. Even if mental health and substance abuse care are lacking, most people in academia respond with care and empathy. Other ways to help might include offering to find ways of keeping their job in spite of the drinking, going to meetings with them, and engaging in the process of recovery one step at a time. It means taking time to focus on their needs in recovery and ask how you can help for the moment to help them embrace the current reality of their circumstances. From there, you can guide them on a journey of renewal to seek hope and restoration in recovery. 

Palmetto is dedicated to helping professionals and others with addiction find hope and healing. The program is designed with individual situations in mind as we cultivate the program that is right for you. Our program provides a special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.