Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

"When I worked in trading, I was spending $140k a year on cocaine"

I spent two decades working on the trading floor of a major US investment bank, and towards the end of that period I was a major cocaine addict. No one knew. 

Get Morning Coffee  in your inbox. Sign up here.

It got to the stage where I was spending $140k a year or more on cocaine. I was doing 20-30g of cocaine a week, and that money was going straight up my nose. I would leave the trading floor and go to the toilets, several times a day.

I began by using cocaine socially to help with social anxiety, but over time I became dependent upon it. I have no doubt that the stresses and strains of working on the trading floor played a part, but it was more than that. I was using cocaine as a prop for my whole life: I was in a country I didn't want to be in, doing a job I didn't want to do, and was with a woman I didn't want to be with. Using cocaine was a symptom of my broader issues. I had a massive hole in my soul. 

I was a very, secretive user and so no one was aware what was going on. I lost a huge amount of weight, but I told everyone that was because I was training for a triathlon. Eventually, my girlfriend at the time found a bag and asked what it was; I confessed that I was an addict and went to rehab. Even then I didn't tell my family back home.

In rehab, I fell apart. I'd bought into the banking lifestyle. I had a big house, a big car, a lot of money, but I also had nothing. I found myself sobbing uncontrollably. I knew that if I didn't get sober, I would die. The physical and mental craving was all consuming.

I had to relearn what life is about. I went through a 12-step program and got clean. I changed my life, changed my relationship and my career. - When it was over, I didn't go back into trading, even though I had plenty of offers. That period of my life was finished. 

What's my advice to other people in my situation? Don't let it get that far. I wish I'd taken action before my addiction became so extreme. And for other people in the markets? Be aware of what your colleagues are going through. My life was falling apart, but you would never have guessed it. When I tell my former colleagues that I spent years as an addict, they still won't believe me. I hid it very well. 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: +44 7537 182250 (SMS, Whatsapp or voicemail). Telegram: @SarahButcher. Click here to fill in our anonymous form, or email editortips@efinancialcareers.com. Signal also available.

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

 

author-card-avatar
AUTHORKent Bray, Counsellor and Mentor Insider Comment

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Recommended Articles
Recommended Jobs
DTG Capital Markets
Proprietary Trader (US, remote)
DTG Capital Markets
New York, United States
Deutsche Bank
Trader - Vice President
Deutsche Bank
New York, United States
Elevate Partners
Investment Associate - Cimate Fund
Elevate Partners
London, United Kingdom
Caxton Associates
Associate Portfolio Manager Program - Dubai
Caxton Associates
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.