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A double life in the bank with clients, sex and drugs

Each year, some 10 to 12 colleagues enrol in the bank’s programme to help overcome an addiction. This is "Jesper’s" story about his daily life with sex, drugs and alcohol while working in Danske Bank.

12. Dec 2022
8 min
English / Dansk

“Excuse me; I’ll be right back.”

You’ve probably said this at a division or team meeting. Just like Jesper from Danske Bank.

The difference is that Jesper headed straight for the toilets to do a line of cocaine before returning to the meeting.

Besides cocaine, Jesper has also been heavily addicted to sex and alcohol during his 15 years with Danske Bank.

Today, he holds meetings in Danske Bank without giving cocaine any thought. He has been through extensive abuse and has been in and out of treatment several times. He has been clean for five years today.

Jesper isn’t his real name as he doesn't want to come forward. But he does want to tell his story to show others in similar situations that help is available if you develop an addiction.

“When I was addicted to drugs, you would hear me say in meetings: “Excuse me; I’ll be right back”. I would then take drugs in the toilet, go back and continue the meeting. I am happy to say that this is in my past now. Today, I am, above all, incredibly grateful that I have got my job and my life back”, says Jesper. Photo: Martin Dam Kristensen.

A double life with sex, drugs and alcohol

Jesper came out as gay as a teenager in an environment rife with drugs, and Jesper soon became a part of that.

“I went from having a few friends to being a very popular guy. It was overwhelming as a 16-year-old to get that much attention – and I liked it. Regrettably, drugs and sex played a key role in this, and I developed an addiction and got a huge kick from both drugs and sex”, says Jesper, who is now in his 40s.

His addiction to drugs, alcohol and sex escalated in his 20s.

“I was unable to stop myself, but I don’t know if I really wanted to stop myself. I was living – what I then considered – a great life with parties every weekend, and it all felt much better on drugs”.

At that time, he is living a double life, going to work every day at the bank and hooking up with others outside hours to buy drugs or to have sex.

He starts dating someone, and they move in together. This complicates matters even more, and the lies start piling up.

“I like my boyfriend a lot, and I will do anything to keep him. But I am incapable of overcoming my addiction, so, for a long time, I am living a double life hidden from my boyfriend and Danske Bank.

How Danske Bank helps employees with addiction

Danske Bank has a rehab team. It helps 10-12 employees every year.

Read more about how Danske Bank and Finansforbundet in Danske Bank take action when colleagues need help.

Empty bags of cocaine in the wardrobe

One day, his boyfriend discovers empty bags of cocaine in the wardrobe by chance.

“I confess and say that I can quit. But fact is I can’t. I’m clean for only one week before I start using again. I am caught again about two months after that. My partner demands that I start treatment”, says Jesper and goes on to talk about the first treatment course:

“The first treatment I completed was in municipal settings at weekly meetings. Certainly not enough to treat the challenges of an addict. Even so, I manage to get control of my cocaine addiction in a few months’ time. But I still crave sex, and I continue being unfaithful to my boyfriend, because I can't stop” , says Jesper.

“I am deeply grateful for the help the bank has given me and for the understanding my manager has shown me.” I will carry this with me for the rest of my life.” Photo: Martin Dam Kristensen

Woke up one night drenched in sweat

While this goes on, Jesper and his partner are planning to start a family with the help from a girlfriend who is going to have their child.

“I remember all too vividly that Thursday morning when we were going to the clinic for me to deliver my semen sample. I practically didn’t sleep that night and woke up drenched in sweat with read spots all over the upper part of my body. It turns out I have syphilis, and that's bad if you're planning to have a baby, because it can cause malformations in children. And I obviously couldn’t live with that”, says Jesper and goes on:

“I told my partner everything. All the secrets I have kept for years about the double life that I have kept hidden from him and Danske Bank and about my infidelity, sex addiction and drugs”, he says.

It shattered the dream of having a family and bringing a baby into it.

The dream was taken over by uncertainty, long days curled up in a foetal position, and a boyfriend who disappeared.

“I felt that I had once again ruined my life, and that I had no right to be here. I felt that things would be better if I wasn’t around anymore”.
- Jesper, Danske Bank


“My partner disappears, away from everything, taken aback by what just hit him. I’m at home curled up in a foetal position. At the weekend, I call someone at the local union executive committee at Finansforbundet in Danske Bank. She tells me that the bank has a rehab team. And after only a few days, I check in at Tjelehuset treatment centre. The first thing they ask me to do is to sit on a chair and look out of the window. A therapist enters and places a hand on my shoulder. And that’s when I break down again”.

A week goes by before the boyfriend gets in touch. He is ready to be part of the treatment as nearest relative and so-called co-addict.

At Tjelehuset, Jesper learns to express in words how to act the minute he starts craving sex, drugs or alcohol, and also how he would like his future life to be.

Jesper is on full-time sick leave for four months. He makes progress during this time.

But the craving and addictions are still there.

Relapse and suicidal thoughts

“One night when a friend comes over, I suffer a relapse. I had made a deal with myself to allow myself one glass of wine in social contexts. My friend has to go home all of a sudden, and there I am with a half full bottle of wine. It doesn’t even take me an hour before I fall back into the old ways. I make the necessary calls and arrange to meet with a previous sex partner, I do drugs and drink lots of alcohol”.

After the relapse, Jesper starts having suicidal thoughts.

“I felt that I had once again ruined my life, and that I had no right to be here. I felt that things would be better if I wasn’t around anymore”.

The turning point

An emergency session is set up with Tjelehuset. Jesper’s partner comes along again. Alcohol is now also entirely off limits.

Jesper is introduced to the anonymous communities of Alcoholics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous. Here he meets with former addicts who have been through the same abuse as he has.

”The community I met, especially through Cocaine Anonymous, and the treatment I received at Tjelehuset have helped me get on with my life without alcohol, drugs and sex addiction. I am still in contact with some of the people I met during my treatment. “Having someone to share your thoughts with is an invaluable help – I couldn’t do without it”.

Five years being clean

In August, Jesper celebrated five years being clean and still has the same job in the bank that he had throughout this period.

“It is hard at times and probably always will be. But above all, I am incredibly grateful for having my job and my life back. I am also deeply grateful for the help the bank has given me and for the understanding my manager has shown me. I will carry this with me for the rest of my life”, says Jesper and finishes:

“It is about accepting that you cannot handle all problems yourself. You need to reach out and ask for help. If you reach out and ask for help – and you get help and support, that is life-giving. I have grown as a human being by getting this help and support. I now have a good life – plain and simple! I am grateful every day!”.

Jesper and his partner are still together today – and they have grown much closer. In a new, honest reality.

For the sake of Jesper’s continued employment with Danske Bank, we have chosen to leave out his name and place of work. Jesper's identity is known to Finansforbundet in Danske Bank.

Each year, some 10 to 12 employees enrol in Danske Bank’s programme to help overcome an addiction. This is "Jesper’s" story about his daily life with sex, drugs and alcohol while doing his job in Danske Bank.

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