Could your occupation be affecting your drug addiction and alcoholism? There is research that points to this connection, showcasing the effects alcohol has on your ability to work, your likelihood of getting hired, and your ability to perform certain jobs. But, could it be that your alcoholism affected your job choice from the beginning? Or, that your chosen occupation may be contributing to your substance abuse problem?
This infographic, Occupations with High Rates of Substance Abuse, illustrates for us the careers with the most reported substance abusers. It is no surprise to many that food service workers make the top of the list. If you have worked in this industry, you know that a lot of drinking exists in a culture where alcohol is often the central focus of the job. From wine tastings on shift to gathering around with colleagues after the shift is over to drink together and ‘relax,’ drinking and often many other substances are not only widely accepted but are encouraged.
Other jobs that made it high on the list are those in the construction field, the entertainment industry, art and sports, and sales jobs. These are all careers where drinking is accepted, encouraged and allowed, and often while on the job. Also, coming in the next day hung over is not as frowned upon in some of these positions. It is harder to balance a substance abuse problem in other careers, such as pilots, attorneys and other similar positions, although it is done.
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So, what came first? Are you an alcoholic who chose food service or construction as a career or did working in the industry turn you into an alcoholic? We know that there are environmental factors related to alcoholism, but it is not likely that you ‘caught’ alcoholism while waiting tables or operating machinery. Instead, the odds are that your addiction and/or alcoholism were sped up by the amount and frequency with which you were able to use and drink and still have the ability to function on the job. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. By not having to minimize or hide your drinking as much as others in different careers, you could actually end up in a better situation by seeing your alcoholism more easily.
Of course, there is the reporting factor. Perhaps people in the food service industry do not fear losing their jobs if they admit to drinking and using as much as someone in a more high profile career. In industries where cohorts and bosses alike often drink together, it is not likely there will be as much fear in reporting the truth about substance abuse. In different careers, people may have fear of consequences and choose to stay silent. Or, their substance abuse may not be as advanced because they can still ‘hold it together.’
If you feel your job may be contributing to your drinking and drug abuse problems, you can make a change. It is never too late to get the help you need, even if you are in a career where drinking and using drugs is more acceptable.
By Jason Gilbert, KLEAN Treatment Centers
Occupations with High Rates of Substance Abuse