For most people, entertaining a client involves a fancy
dinner and a few drinks. In this interview, Per Wickstrom tells us how to
accommodate clients without compromising sobriety.
When entertaining an investor, colleague, or client, their
to-do list may include beer, wine, or cocktails. If you are a recovering
addict, these activities won’t be on your schedule, and Per Wickstrom is here
to guide you through the sober entertaining process.
As a business owner, how do you entertain other professionals while remaining sober?
Though I am in the substance abuse rehabilitation industry,
investors, colleagues, and other business associates expect a certain level of entertainment.
As an entrepreneur, part of my job includes networking. This networking helps expand
my business opportunities, but it may also present a situation that could
compromise sobriety, for example, an invitation to a company dinner with an
open bar. So, while it is important to maintain business relationships, you
must put your own health and wellbeing first.
I know the difficulties of these types of situations, first
hand. When I worked in the automotive industry, I encountered these
experiences, and as an addict, gave in. Since I have successfully completed
rehabilitation and entered my current industry, I have found ways to entertain
while maintaining my sobriety.
What should a recovering addict do if alcohol is present at a business event?
The answer to this depends on the addict. While some
individuals in recovery are comfortable around people who are drinking, it may
be too difficult for others. Luckily, these types of events are not typically
mandatory, which means you can leave if you feel the pressure or urge to drink.
Reach out for help from a sponsor, mentor, or loved one, if you can.
Even if your clients or investors are present, your health
must come first. If possible, ask a trusted coworker to ensure that your
clients remain satisfied before you leave. If these events become frequent or
compulsory, be sure to talk to your human resources department about your
options. If alcohol-related events become a major part of your job, it may be
time to find something else, if need be.
If you do feel comfortable around others who are drinking,
but you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, simply holding a glass of
soda or seltzer may help. If you feel comfortable, just state that you
don’t drink, most professional individuals won’t question you or judge you.
Remember that sobriety is nothing to be ashamed of, in fact, it is something to
be proud of, whether you share your experiences with others or not.
Are there alternative forms of business entertainment that don’t involve alcohol?
Yes! There are many ways to satisfy and accommodate clients
without compromising your sobriety. I find that outdoor activities, such as
golfing, are a great way to entertain and remain sober. You can also attend
other alcohol-free events, such as a play, show, or speaker.
If taking your clients out to eat is necessary, suggest a
breakfast or lunch, where it is less likely that alcohol will be expected. If
possible, you can ask your employer to help plan the event, so you can be sure
that both you and your clients will be satisfied.
While your drive and passion for success in your industry
may be strong, your health and wellness must come first. That being said, it is
definitely possible to achieve your business goals without compromising your
sobriety. I am proof that you can successfully entertain in the business world
while also remaining happy, healthy, and sober.
Interview provided by:
Michelle Peterson is a proud recovering addict. She is
fighting to eliminate the stigma against those who suffer from or have suffered
from substance abuse and addiction. She created RecoveryPride.org to spread
messages of hope and help to those in recovery, those wishing to be in
recovery, and their loved ones. When she isn’t building the site, she enjoys
running and crafting.