Entrepreneurs and high-performing individuals are highly persistent and driven. Oftentimes, they are in control as they push themselves to success. They look really good on the outside. However, when they have an undercurrent of hurt and pain that is never expressed or paid attention to, they’re also likely to numb out from the pain through alcohol, drugs, sex, or something else.

Let’s add to that the fact that drinking is pretty normalized in Canada, the US, and Western Europe. It’s even more normalized in many businesses as their way of closing deals. Unfortunately, we need to understand the progressive nature of this disease.

On today’s episode, Duane speaks with David Greer, an entrepreneur, author, and coach who shares about his recovery journey, specifically from the perspective of being a successful entrepreneur. 

David was a high-functioning alcoholic who had a difficult time recognizing that he had an issue with alcohol. For decades, he was in denial because he had it all together on the outside. His moment of clarity came to him one evening while sailing on the Mediterranean under the stars. He feels that his higher power touched him at that very moment.

David has been in recovery for over 12 years now. For the last six years, he has been a business coach and a facilitator of strategic planning who works exclusively with entrepreneurs.  He decided to break his anonymity from the 12-step program and come out publicly to help other entrepreneurs who are running successful businesses and also struggling with alcohol or addiction so they can move to the next level.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • Drinking being normalized in certain cultures and in business
  • Sailing through the Mediterranean Sea
  • The moment David’s higher power touched him
  • Hiring a coach on his 50th birthday
  • David’s three biggest fears
  • His breakthrough moment of admitting he was an alcoholic
  • The #1 characteristic of entrepreneurs
  • Why self-care is very critical as entrepreneurs
  • Hiring a coach versus a consultant
  • Navigating through challenging social situations when you’re early in recovery

Key Quotes:

[06:16] – “Drinking is normalized in Canada, in the U.S., and Western Europe. But then, in a business context, in many cases, I think it’s even more normalized like it’s the lubricant to close deals.”

[08:43] – “I was in denial for decades because I just had a massive capacity to drink and not show a lot of adverse effects.”

[22:40] – “The bottom line is I don’t like negative feelings… and my three biggest fears are I’m not good enough… it’s my fault…and who do you think you are – to deserve a great life?”

[26:08] – “I’m uncomfortable with crying because that wasn’t allowed in the household that I grew up in.”

[27:59] – “People ask me, like, what’s the number one characteristic of entrepreneurs? And my response to that is persistence.”

[29:04] – “There’s three parts to your life… when you’re setting goals for yourself for the year or the quarter – career/finances, business; your life, your relationships, your significant other, your family; and then in the middle is yourself.”

[31:20] – “There’s a whole myth that to build a successful business, you have to be a workaholic.”

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Supporting Resources:


David’s book: Wind in Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Growth