“Alcoholics? Those are the slumped figures in front of the main station”. This sentence has always been completely wrong. Most alcoholics are intelligent, have a good to very good income and an upper social status. This is what it says in the “Alcohol Atlas”, which the German Federal Government had compiled.
The Englishman Craig Beck holds seminars on alcohol cessation, he says about his clients: “Every single one of them was intelligent. Everyone I meet is highly functional and highly successful. I have met millionaires. People who are successful with several businesses of their own, I have met employers who employ tens of thousands of people. They all had the same problem: they just couldn’t get off the booze.”
But how does that go together? Why are obviously successful people more at risk of sticking to alcohol?
Our hypothesis is: alcoholism mainly affects high performers.
Over achievers are not only managers who work 16 hours a day, but also mothers who are completely worn out between household, children, partnership and perhaps even a job. The same applies to competitive athlets, or teachers in a stressful hotspot school. Lawyers, journalists – and every fourth german doctor drinks too much, studies found out.
Professional athletes who drink are also a good example, as there are familiar faces and names: Mané Garrincha, Brazilian soccer god after Pelé, drank himself to death at the age of 40. Socrates, also Brazilian and actually a paediatrician by profession. George Best, a football idol at Manchester United in the 1960s.
Tony Adams, captain of the English national soccer team, also came out of the closet in his book “Addicted”. In 2000, he even founded an addiction clinic especially for athletes.
Since our book was published, more and more people who are successful in the middle of life have appeared in the German and English forums. Others write us their stories by email.
Some of them are touching stories. For example, the story of a doctor who calculated exactly at what point on the drive home he could take the first sip without having punishable blood values in the event of a police check. Or a manager from the top 100 in German industry who also couldn’t stop, even though he kept trying – until he finally understood his illness by reading our book and was able to break away from it.
All high-achievers have one thing in common: they have to function at the push of a button and always at 150 per cent. But if you don’t even have time to catch your breath until late in the evening, you’ll be looking for relaxation just as promptly. They can find it in the fridge or on the wine rack. It’s only a matter of time before that happens. One example: Daniel Radcliffe, known as Harry Potter. He confessed a few years ago that he couldn’t even remember filming some scenes, so drunk was the young star. Many celebrities drink because they are afraid and panic about being in the limelight. A famous example is Elisabeth Vargas, anchorwoman of the American TV giant ABC.
Chronic overload not only tempts you to drink. It also robs us of important nutrients, such as B vitamins, magnesium or vitamin C, which in particular brings the system of nerve messengers to the ground. What’s more, if you’re always running, you’re not always paying attention to healthy eating. At the same time, alcohol drives people to consume more and more and robs them of additional vital substances. Alcoholism in high achievers can therefore actually be caused by a deficit of nutrients, which is triggered by chronic overload.
Nutrient deficiencies put additional stress on the body, so the sufferer toils twice as hard. Alcohol manipulates the neurotransmitter system and provides a short-term sense of well-being. Stress, anxiety, panic and also the symptoms of nutrient deficiencies fade away. Short term. Temporarily. Because the next day it is needed again.
The brain learns: I feel better when I have a drink after a stressful day. After some time, the one glass becomes two, later more – the downward spiral turns.
Gaby Guzek is open about the fact that it has hit her. We developed a nutritional concept for her together, which we have published here. It was a personal concept for her. The concept also contains elements that Bill W., one of the two founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, already used very successfully for himself and others. Irony of history: He was therefore turned cold by the AA doctors because they relied on exclusively psychological concepts.
Should new treatment concepts develop in the long term from the scientific findings that we have also compiled in the book, this will shake some of the foundations of the current treatment:
- an alcoholic is then not someone with a damaged psyche that forces him to drink – the psychological treatment approach must be modified and supplemented with a somatic component
- the way the disease is dealt with in the medical world would then be wrong. Alcoholism has so far been regarded as an incurable disease. This must be questioned. Even a former heroin addict is called clean. According to the current doctrine, however, an alcoholic remains an alcoholic who only does not drink at the moment.
- Business models for which an alcoholic is a recurring revolving door patient with low costs and high profits are also called into question by this.
Anyone who questions such foundations must be prepared for headwinds. We have done that.
Image by TeeFarm from Pixabay