Recovery Plus: save time, save lives
How can you motivate
high fliers with no 'rock
bottom' into recovery?
Louise Stanger guides us.
these sound like legitimate reasons, beneath the
surface is avoidance of a problem. Confidence
is a key tenet of success, but the dangerous
flipside is that too much confidence can forge
walls of denial and rationalising behaviour.
Fear of stigma. People in powerful positions are
associated with strength, confidence, and a solid
moral compass. Sadly, our society still views
addiction as a weakness or moral failure, which
sharply contradicts these key qualities. Add in
public visibility and it is harder for an influential
CEO or celebrity to seek help in an open way.
Family related issues. Divorce is common among
executives and CEOs who work long hours, travel
often and have stress – and admission of alcohol
or other substance abuse issues can complicate
divorce proceedings and custody battles. Fear
of thus losing loved children, the comforts of
marriage or the façade of perfect life and family
perpetuate destructive behaviours.
Fear of a permanent record. In addition to
fear of shame related to addiction, successful
wealthy people do not want this condition in
a legal or insurance record, a paper trail that
follows them the rest of their lives. But tackling
addiction can help avoid high-profile legal
A sense of entitlement. People in this situation
often see their achievements as proof that
they are deserving of something more. If they
experience an addiction, they look at all their
success and believe there couldn’t be a problem.
I built an empire, am I so weak as to become
addicted? In turn,
this self-image creates an
Emperor’s New Clothes situation
that makes it difficult to find help as the
person is surrounded with people on his/her
payroll, coworkers and teammates. Everyone's
fear of losing their livelihood is often greater
than their willingness to speak the truth.
A way to cover other physical ailments.
According to Dr James Flowers of Driftwood
Recovery, wealthy people with a physical
ailment such as an injury or chronic pain can turn
to prescription pills, including opioids and the
potent drug fentanyl, to manage the pain. These
are highly addictive and users can shop around
doctors to get more prescriptions.
What is really needed? The circumstances
surrounding a wealthy and high-achieving
person experiencing a substance abuse, process
disorder or mental health issue requires a unique
set of tools and treatment options to ensure
recovery. Just because such people are used to
luxury, does not mean luxury must be the only
quality looked for in a treatment programmeme.
Too often I’ve heard from high-end clients how
their treatment centre with the great view and
Olympic-sized aquatic complex and golf course
nearby was basically a luxury spa and didn’t
give them the help they needed. An authentic
recovery programmeme is the right approach.
Effective treatment centres start where
the client is – a multi-modal approach that
addresses family dynamics, friends and loved
ones, and even consults co-workers and
your library’s essential reference May/June 2017 25
About the author
Louise A Stanger – EdD,
LCSW, CIP, CDWF – is a
speaker, educator, clinician
and interventionist who uses
an invitational approach with
complicated mental health,
substance abuse, chronic pain
and process addiction clients.
Louise is published in the
Huffington Post, Journal of
Alcohol Studies, Sober World,
Recovery Campus and other
media. The San Diego Business
Journal listed her as one of the
“Top 10 Women Who Mean
Business” and is considered by
Quit Alcohol as one of the Top
10 Interventionists in the US.
Foundations Recovery Network
named her 2014 Fan Favorite
Speaker. She is the recipient of
the 2016 Joseph L Galletta Spirit
of Recovery Award.
Louise's book Falling Up:
A Memoir of Renewal is
available on Amazon and Learn
to Thrive: An Intervention
Handbook on her website at