NPR

In An Industry Rife With Substance Abuse, Restaurant Workers Help Their Own

Food service is fueled by high stress and late hours; it's easy to see how people in the industry can be susceptible to alcohol and drug abuse. Some who've been there are now offering help to others.
After Charleston chef Ben Murray committed suicide, Mickey Bakst (left) and Steve Palmer (right) started a support group for those in the restaurant business struggling with addiction. Source: Andrew Cebulka

Where alcohol is eschewed in most places of employment, it's a constant in restaurants. And the late night culture means that most socializing happens at bars after work hours. "We're an industry that's a little bit different," says Mickey Bakst, general manager of Charleston Grill in South Carolina. But this also means restaurant employees are at serious risk for problems with substance abuse.

Bakst is a recovering alcoholic. When he first started attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in 1982, he didn't see another person from the restaurant industry. "Nobody knew what it was like to go home at one in the morning and be

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