Episode 57: Alcoholics Unanimous
Frank Burns: There’s just no question, you’re alcoholics! You drink constantly.
Hawkeye: Alright, we drink. We drink so we can get through these lousy, stinking 48 hour days.
Trapper: We’re cold, filthy, lonely.
Hawkeye: Scared, bored, tired!
Acting commanding officer, Frank Burns, declares prohibition at the 4077th in response to the growing alcohol use in camp. His dismantling of the ‘still’ and his one man campaign to outlaw alcohol causes havoc among the personnel as they try anything to sneak a drink.
How do you cope with the demands of leadership? For some, a helpful escape comes in the form of a good book or watching a favourite movie. For others, engaging in exercise and physical activity relieves the tension. However, statistically it is well documented that many seek relief from the stress and demands of leadership through the consumption of alcohol. While this may bring temporary relief, health experts believe that alcohol can actually exacerbate stress and diminish long term capacity to cope under pressure. In the context of leadership this can be dangerous! Trying to deal with the stressors that come with the territory through any substance use not only impacts our ability to personally cope with the challenges but risks our capacity to professionally lead others through the same challenges. Alcohol may ‘mask’ the reality but cannot ‘mitigate’ the responsibilities of leadership. Leaders must build healthy strategies and networks to effectively ‘manage’ this space.