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


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 so wide awake that I couldn't sleep," he recalls.

But in 2016, after Charleston chef Ben Murray killed himself after struggling with addiction and depression, Bakst and restaurateur Steve Palmer decided to start a support group of sorts to keep it from happening again.

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Jaci Lund