Being in the restaurant industry, serving alcohol is such a big part of it. It’s intended to create an experience, just like the food, music, and the interior of the space. 

But if you’re struggling with alcohol or drugs, it would be such a hard industry to be in because you’re going to be around those all the time. 

In fact, about 17% to 24% of restaurant workers around the country have issues with alcohol and drugs. And that’s because it’s the only industry where drinking and drugging have become the norm. They’ve created that kind of atmosphere where it’s widely accepted and readily available. 

In the treatment of all kinds of addictions, when people can talk about it and connect with others, and they can feel heard and understood – that’s when change happens. 

Mickey’s Story of Recovery

38 years sober now, Mickey Bakst was found in a hotel room after four days of drugging and drinking and ended up at the emergency room table. Because of his addiction, he also ended up losing his restaurant business, his home, and anybody who cared about him. 

Now at 69 years old, Mickey continues to live out his passion for helping individuals in the F&B industry who are struggling with addiction and he sets an example for those seeking sobriety.

Mickey Bakst is the co-founder of Ben’s Friends, a recovery community dedicated to helping struggling addicts in the food and beverage industry find sobriety and seek recovery and support – without having to give up their lives and their careers. 

Creating a Strong Community in the Restaurant Industry

Active since 2016, Ben’s Friends is a safe space to talk about the things they’re struggling with, knowing confidently that they will not be judged. And being able to talk to other people that really understand your struggles because they’ve been through the same can feel very supportive because you don’t feel alone. 

At the forefront of what they do is creating a community of people who not only understand the addiction, but understand the life that the F&B workers live in. 

If you want to learn more about Ben’s Friends and how their community can potentially give you the support you need, check out