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Chris Owen, UK director at The Hoffman Agency talks about his experience of being an alcoholic working in PR

Welcome to the PRmoment Podcast.

This week we’re chatting to Chris Owen, UK director at The Hoffman Agency about his experience being an alcoholic working in public relations.

Chris has written a number of articles about the period of his life when he drank too much, including Things I don’t miss about alcohol addiction and How the NHS saved my life.

On the show today we talk about Chris’s problems with alcohol in the context of his career as a PR professional. We ask whether working in public relations made him more likely to become an alcoholic.

Before we start - if you haven’t seen them already - take a look at the categories for The ESG Awards - the final entry deadline is this Friday 7th October.

And do check out the home page of PRmoment for our latest webinars, including The Most Popular KPIs in PR and The intersection of Data, Insight and PR Planning.

Finally, thanks to our PRmoment Podcast sponsors, The PRCA.

Here’s a summary of what Chris and PRmoment founder discussed:

2 mins Chris talks us through when he started drinking too much, the impact it had on his life and when he realised it was a problem.

3 mins When did Chris start his recovery?

6 mins “I was on the phone with my dad one day and he said, we think you should go to The Priory…I was so tired, so exhausted.”

8 mins Chris talks about his recovery journey: ”I just wanted it (my alcoholism) to finish.”

10 mins ”A lot of addiction is based around shame”

“You’re not a bad person trying to be good, you're an unwell person trying to get well.”

11 mins “In the same way as a person with a peanut allergy can’t have a little bit of a Snickers, I just know I can’t have a drop of alcohol.”

14 mins Chris was an alcoholic before he started his career in PR but did the type of work and the work routine of a public relations job make his alcoholism worse?

15.30 mins Why PR creates opportunities to drink for those who cannot drink safely.

17.30 mins What can PR employers do to either help employees who are alcoholics or reduce the drinking culture within their firms?

22.30 mins “You can foster a great culture without alcohol but alcohol plays a role within our society…there’s a gradient between alcohol being part of the culture that helps people unwind and it becoming part of the fabric of an agency. That’s when it gets a little bit toxic.”

23 mins If you’ve got a drinking problem, or you’re concerned about someone you know, what should you do? Chris signposts us to some helpful resources:

31 mins How much does it cost to go into rehab?

32.30 mins Chris reveals that at the peak of his alcohol addiction he had a 24-inch waist.

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