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Understanding High Functioning Ontario Executives

They seem to have it all together. That successful, charismatic person in the corner office who is loved by everyone and maybe even a little feared because they exude authority and confidence. It’s challenging to try to make sense of the high-functioning alcoholic (HFA), especially when their lives seem so put together. When they’re someone like a successful executive, it can be even more confusing.




Did you know that people earning more than $75,000 per year drink more alcohol than any other economic group? Executives in Ontario are not immune to this statistic. It is much more prevalent than you think with about 81 percent of these high earners consuming alcohol on, at least, a semi-regular basis. While most drink alcohol in moderation and do not fall victim to alcohol addiction, far too many do.


Sangfroid Intervention, professional interventionists in Ontario, are here to help them and their families get back on track.

High-functioning alcoholics come from all walks of life and at all income levels. It sounds cliché, but they are your neighbour, co-worker, and friends.

However, because of their career status, Ontario executives may be particularly vulnerable. They deal with tremendous stress, feel the need to look put together at all times, and suffer exhaustion from long work hours. Their ability to cope with all of these life work issues can deteriorate over time, and they look to outside sources, like alcohol. After-hour networking events, client parties and working lunches all provide readily available alcohol. Because of their success in their career, all of these are considered amazing perks of the job; until they become a problem.


Even when things do start to fall apart (and they do), the Ontario executives we know and adore, hide their drinking easier than those with less authority. They’re good at their job, and they’re in a position of power. So, not many check up on them or dissect their behaviour in the workplace. They are generally left alone, if they don’t stir the pot.


Executives hide alcoholism because the fall from grace terrifies them. They’ve worked their entire life to get to where they are. Job loss, embarrassment and admitting that they’re weak is all scary, but arrests, job loss, or worse are always lurking around the corner. But, because they are HFAs, their perception is generally that they wear a cloak of invincibility and nothing bad can touch them – as long as they keep up the job well done of hiding their secret.


While there’s no definitive answer as to what drives some Type-A executives into their tailspin, stress and pressure play a huge part.


However, this simplistic view isn’t the whole story, and the high functioning alcoholic is a complicated individual. Problems with substance abuse are connected to a wide variety of events and difficult circumstances, and those who are perceived as successful and put together, are no exception to these circumstances. To truly understand what is happening, consider contacting an Ontario interventionist to help such as the team at Sangfroid Intervention & Associates.


Many executives lead busy lives and are sometimes so driven to succeed in their career that they never feel complete. Alcohol abuse often masks deeper troubles. When these types of people can never feel complete or full from their accomplishments, or when they feel lonely because their lives are consumed with work, they turn to alcohol or drugs to fill the void.


Successful people commonly have low self-esteem and feelings of failure. That’s why they continuously work to be successful at a career which can be measured.


They need to be perfect. Always. They put so much pressure on themselves.

So when they’re not perfect, shame and embarrassment can keep them from seeking help. They perceive themselves as a fraud. If only everyone knew the truth, what would happen? Now more stress and pressure piles onto a person who is already under a heaping mountain of it. This obsessive need for unattainable happiness can put the person in a vicious cycle of self-medicating.




Addiction is complex, multilayered, confusing, and full of perceived shame. Executives who lose control of their alcohol consumption often refuse help even though the help would prevent them from failure in which they’re so fearful. Irony at its finest.


It can be challenging to reason with alcoholics like executives who are used to calling the shots; leaving you feeling depleted and frustrated. Sangfroid Interventionists are trained professionals who know how to deal with these situations and are here to help you.

If you find yourself in a situation that you cannot control on your own, please reach out to us.


The sooner this happens, and you talk to our interventionists in Ontario, the better the chances of recovery for your boss, co-worker, friend, husband, or wife.

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