Alcohol Dependent Entrepreneur Gets Help

A “perfect” exterior was hiding the real struggles this couple faced.

Who
Bob and Mindy, a wealthy older married couple with an adult child and one grandchild.

What
Bob experiences alcohol addiction and Mindy developed a shopping process disorder to cope with her husband’s addiction

Where
Cleveland

Why

Mindy first reached out to me after an incident occurred with her husband Bob and their granddaughter Lucy. She had reached her breaking point, she said.

Mindy went on to explain to me that Bob was a successful entrepreneur. He steered the ship of a large company while she spent a great deal of her time involved with charitable events. To her, it was like an endless parade of cocktail parties, fancy black-tie events and what her husband described as “important dinner meetings.” To the outside, Mindy recalls, they were the perfect couple: wealthy, successful, envied.

Despite the glamorous facade, deep inside they harbored dark secrets. Mindy said that it started with Bob’s drinking. He’d start out in the morning and he’d finally pass out in the early evening – often nodding off in front of friends and colleagues and business partners at the various dinners and events they attended as a couple.

Once it became a serious problem, Mindy confessed that she didn’t know how to cope and turned to the only thing that made her forget her worries: shopping. “I looked the other way and shopped and shopped and shopped,” she said, blinking back tears. “Saks, Neiman Marcus and H&M were like a comforting embrace that blocked out what was really going on in my life.”

Mindy said she became so desperate that she reached out to other leaders in the company for help with Bob’s problem. But she was shocked to find the company was afraid to help Bob because he was known for his volatile temper. Nobody wanted the head of the company to lash out at them. In fact, they took it so far as to cover up his poor behavior – especially to please creditors.

Mindy hit her breaking point when their granddaughter, Lucy, came for a visit. Bob had been drinking when his temper flared up. He threw his glass across the room, slumped in his chair and spewed a litany of swear words – all in front of sweet little Lucy.

Then Mindy tried to explain what happened to her daughter, Lucy’s mom, and she blew up on her. She said her daughter threatened to limit grandparent time with Lucy.

Devastated, that’s when Mindy called me.

How

After listening to Mindy’s story, together we talked about the range of emotions experienced in this situation. I explained to Mindy that there is a great deal of shame she was feeling because people in their position of wealth and influence are assumed to have it all together and that their success fixes their problems. Of course this was false, and that we needed to approach the problem with a system of treatment that included Bob and Mindy, his company of employees, their adult daughter’s family, including little Lucy.

It wasn’t easy. Mindy agreed that she had to take a hard look at her own behaviors – both her influence on Bob and her ways of coping. Mindy came to the realization: “I had to look at my spending. I had to look at the way I treated others.” Together we explored the ways in which Mindy was dependent on these material things, the way she interacted with the world and how to fill her empty soul with positive things other than shoes, dresses, purses, etc.

Bob was treated with a medical detoxification agreement for 45 days in inpatient. During this time, he was able to check in with work as I worked with his colleagues and employees to craft a new work environment where Bob could function in sobriety. I also assembled a team of expertly trained behavioral health professional to help Bob navigate home life.

The road to health has been full of twists and turns. After much hard work and focus, Bob maintains his sobriety, Mindy tells me. Little Lucy is four now and her Grandpa makes her laugh. “Thank you,” Mindy recently told me over the phone. “Without your help in getting us where we needed to go and staying with us through every step, we would not be where we are today.”

Are you ready to help someone find hope again?