Comments on: my coworker/friend keeps coming to work drunk Fri, 26 Nov 2021 23:20:15 +0000 hourly 1 By: One more Fri, 26 Nov 2021 23:20:15 +0000 In reply to BlueKazoo.

Well stated, BlueKazoo.

By: Where’s the Orchestra? Thu, 25 Nov 2021 18:50:51 +0000 In reply to Boof.

Absolutely – that’s a part of why I like the phrase “Rock Bottom” because it isn’t a set point but subjective. Rock Bottom is different for each and every person, especially in an addiction setting.

By: RebelwithMouseyHair Thu, 25 Nov 2021 11:39:34 +0000 In reply to PT.

and a drug test wasn’t an option? I mean, if there were safety issues…

By: RebelwithMouseyHair Thu, 25 Nov 2021 11:37:46 +0000 In reply to generic_username.

That’s not what Alison said? Here OP is a long-time friend of Becky’s, and it’s best to act as a friend to an alcoholic rather than a colleague. If there wasn’t that friendship, Alison probably would have recommended talking to a manager, especially if the drunkenness could entail danger, with her driving to work.

By: Anon today Wed, 24 Nov 2021 18:34:37 +0000 In reply to Stackson.

These are all helpful comments and advice. I recently started dating a long time friend who is a heavy drinker and pretty reliant on alcohol, and as the child/sibling of alcoholics, I know I’m not going to deal with this if it’s not reversible. I’ve been trying to bring this up lightly here and there, but this is good language to use going forward.

By: MBK Wed, 24 Nov 2021 14:47:47 +0000 In reply to Privacy first.

Even paper pushers might need to be fully alert and capable in ways that affect others. I used to live and work in a pre-earthquake-certification-code building in the Bay Area, and we had bimonthly earthquake drills. One of my (sedentary, desk-based job) coworkers being drunk during an actual emergency evacuation could have gotten others hurt or killed.

By: Iris Eyes Wed, 24 Nov 2021 14:43:56 +0000 In reply to RagingADHD.

All I can think is that if beer is ridiculously expensive at a bar just how much worse it is at a hospital. I bet the bill for those made the $10 beers at the local sporting arena look cheap by comparison.

By: MBK Wed, 24 Nov 2021 14:42:45 +0000 In reply to Amaranth.

Exactly this. If she’s still in the “oh good no one noticed” phase, that’s only going to embolden her to come to work more and more drunk. The *only* brake pedals on this type of addiction at this stage are physical limits (e.g., you can’t drink more when you’re already passed out drunk) and (for now) the fear of discovery/perceived need to pass as functioning. She needs to know – now and often – that she’s not “getting away with it” as much as she thinks she is.

(I know full well that it’s her addiction, not her decisions, driving this bus, so please read the above as an analysis of the pathology and not a judgment of her choices.)

By: Cannibal Queen Wed, 24 Nov 2021 14:22:15 +0000 In reply to Boof.

Very much so. My husband was adamant that PTSD was the cause of his drinking and if he ‘cured’ his PTSD, the drinking problem would go away by itself. In fact, his alcohol abuse was destroying the very mental resources he needed to manage his PTSD. He only learned to get his PTSD under control after he stopped drinking.

By: Cannibal Queen Wed, 24 Nov 2021 14:04:35 +0000 In reply to Fizzyfuzzy.

Yes. My husband would have seizures (requiring hospitalisation) on days when he drank less than usual.

By: Keymaster of Gozer (she/her) Wed, 24 Nov 2021 07:47:22 +0000 In reply to Anonymous Today.

He comes from an absolutely massive family (he’s one of 6 siblings, and all his brothers and sisters have married and produced a similar amount of kids – we’re the odd ones out being childfree) so it’s actually quite possible that he has relatives who are single and in most geographic areas and ages!

He’s my rock. We are both incredibly strong willed people so the rare disagreements we have round the house end up mostly as ‘let’s not debate it again, we’re never going to agree’ (I like driving, he hates cars etc)

By: Anonymous Today Wed, 24 Nov 2021 07:40:40 +0000 In reply to Keymaster of Gozer (she/her).

Does he have a brother ( a cousin will do) who is unattached and is single and up there in years?

Seriously, he sounds like a pretty amazing guy. I am always impressed with people who know when to say “no” and be firm about it and will turn around and do anything for you when it’s warranted.

By: Anonymous Today Wed, 24 Nov 2021 07:02:51 +0000 In reply to Wintermute.

Is it likely that the big boss who is “Becky’s” BIL doesn’t already know about her drinking?

By: Anomalez Wed, 24 Nov 2021 05:33:38 +0000 In reply to Begrudging Acquaintance of Bill W..

Totally agree. I am 25 years sober and I can still remember every word of concern from my managers, friends, girlfriends, therapists, etc. They all added up and eventually tipped the scale. And luckily a few were Friends of Bill and I went straight to AA and it worked.

By: YL Wed, 24 Nov 2021 04:45:53 +0000 OP, god speed.

Trigger warning: use of the word rape ahead.

Be prepared for your friend to deny and put the blame on you. Be prepared for the husband to do the same. If he hasn’t said anything to his wife yet, he might like/accept her as she is. Be prepared to walk away from the friendship. Be careful because you work with this person. She might try to sabotage you at work.

I was honest with my friend. Her reaction was worse than I thought. Her reaction showed me how evil she really was and I don’t think I can blame the alcoholism. She not only tried to accuse me of not taking care of her when she got blackout drunk, she tried to deny that she had ever enabled her friend to stalk me (I was very afraid that I would be raped) and said I was calling him names and judgmental and that I wanted her to be perfect. She tried every single thing to make me the bad person. She made me cry. I cried because I couldn’t believe the lies coming from her mouth, I couldn’t believe I was friends with this person. I tried to be her friend, but she wouldn’t admit she had a problem. She did do even worse things after that. No one thought she had a problem because drinking was part of their culture. They tried to accuse me of holding an intervention when I was just honest in the moment. I share this so you can prepare for the worst.

By: All The Things Wed, 24 Nov 2021 04:34:00 +0000 In reply to Strict Extension.

FWIW, I failed to mention to my brother-in-law that they’d noticed, at an interview I’d provided the reference for and who obviously subsequently declined to hire him, that he’d been drinking, because I felt it was awkward and didn’t have a comfort level approaching it (I’d managed/worked directly with him for a number of years.). I actually felt quite resentful about it. Fast forward several years and he’s passed away due to an alcohol-related illness and not even 40…I will forever wish I’d said something as a friend/loved one.

By: Mebbe Oughta Change Names This Time Wed, 24 Nov 2021 03:00:48 +0000 In reply to Wintermute.

Yes. It’s hard to feel a commitment to someone who is addicted, and who resists help. There are times when it’s easier to withdraw into one’s shell, and wait for the next crisis, rather than continually agonizing over what might happen next.

Maybe I handled it wrong, but God knows I wanted to help.

By: Anonosaurus for this Wed, 24 Nov 2021 02:24:44 +0000 I’m pretty sure this is why my mom was “asked to leave” her job. Of course in a family of alcoholics, no one will say as much.

I wish one of my mother’s friends or family would have had that conversation with her. Instead I had to cut contact. I was the first and as such, even if she manages to get sober and we resume a relationship, I know she will always hold that against me.

Please say something. Be prepared for it to not immediately change your friend’s behavior. But you may be the first domino. Do it despite the potential costs on either your end or hers.

By: RagingADHD Wed, 24 Nov 2021 01:58:36 +0000 In reply to Might Be Spam.

1) This isn’t a new person. It’s Becky’s childhood friend.

2) This isn’t an unpaid position. It’s an actual job.

3) LW isn’t concerned about how Becky looks or sounds. They are concerned that Becky’s known and ongoing alcohol abuse has escalated to a very serious point.

By: SMARTCookie Wed, 24 Nov 2021 01:09:42 +0000 Consider pointing your friend towards SMART Recovery. She could be in the pre-contemplation or contemplation stages and you might nudge her. It’s much less “absolute” and penal than AA. Have her look at the alternative.

By: Kit Wed, 24 Nov 2021 00:24:29 +0000 In reply to Might Be Spam.

While this is a good rule in general, in this case Becky is a long-term friend of OP’s; it’s safe to say that this isn’t a case of another health condition masquerading as drunkenness on the job, since OP has known about Becky’s problematic relationship with alcohol for years.

By: curiousLemur Wed, 24 Nov 2021 00:12:20 +0000 In reply to Stitch.

“It was actually the prosecutor who identified and got consent motions to vacate..” The prosecutor sounds like a person with integrity. Good for them!

By: anonForReasons Wed, 24 Nov 2021 00:11:30 +0000 In reply to BlueKazoo.

I messed up with heating the fries once. The fries were fine, but I accidentally spilled hot, wet fry grease on my left hand. I wasn’t high, just in a hurry. I never did that again!

Tip: when you pick up the fry basket with your dominant hand, do NOT put your other hand anywhere below that basket or where the basket might be.

By: BeenThere Tue, 23 Nov 2021 23:12:28 +0000 OP — I’m a recovered alcoholic. There are two things true here:
1- She needs to know that other people know she’s drunk.
2- She might not get help right away, and she might not react well in the moment.

I think as her friend you really should (or at least, on behalf of people like me, I hope you choose to) speak to her. The way she responds to you may not be encouraging, it may even be hostile, but she will take the information in. If she’s drunk at work, she’s at a bad place. She may, like I was, be in a situation where she has to keep alcohol in her system to prevent withdrawal from beginning. Just the thought that she might be there makes me so sad & scared for her because it is a brutal place to be.

It is important that she realize that her secret is not a secret. There is so much shame in addiction, and so many people don’t get help because they are afraid of letting people know there is a problem. It’s sad for many of us that everyone knows even as we’re killing ourselves trying to keep it hidden. Knowing that it’s out might spur her to action immediately or it might be one more piece of evidence that she is at a point where she can’t handle this alone that doesn’t add up yet, but adds up eventually.

For what it’s worth, when my friend intervened it was one of the worst things that I’ve ever been through, but even at the time I knew it was a brave and kind thing he was doing.

By: Might Be Spam Tue, 23 Nov 2021 22:45:12 +0000 Please be careful about assuming someone is drunk. My friend has MS and slurs her words when she is tired. She was on the ethics committee in our town and was kicked off by the new mayor because “it didn’t look good”. Many people knew about her MS and she was a valued member of the committee. Unfortunately, it’s legal to discriminate for health reasons, if it’s an unpaid position.

By: Wintermute Tue, 23 Nov 2021 22:43:31 +0000 In reply to Roscoe.

OP is a manager for the same organization, with both a legal and moral duty to her employer. If someone up above finds out she knew or had good reason to suspect an employee was drunk on the clock, it could seriously jeopardize her reputation. Even if they don’t formally punish her for it (and they could, lets be clear) they will at minimum have serious reservations about her ability to be impartial and how seriously she takes her responsibility as a manager, and in what other ways her judgement may be compromised or she might be failing to act in her employer’s best interests.

By: Wintermute Tue, 23 Nov 2021 22:39:38 +0000 In reply to Privacy first.

oh no.

If I was a manager over both of them and I found out a **manager** knew an employee was working drunk and didn’t tell me, they’d be gone so fast their head would spin. As someone in a senior role you have a duty to the company, and not telling people tells me you’ll put “duty” to friends over your duty to the company, a position that is not acceptable in a manager.

If they were both co-workers of the same, or relatively similar, levels I might tolerate it, but not from a manager, and I’d wager that most people would feel the same.

By: WoodswomanWrites Tue, 23 Nov 2021 22:37:13 +0000 In reply to Keymaster of Gozer (she/her).

Bravo to you!

By: Wintermute Tue, 23 Nov 2021 22:36:31 +0000 In reply to OP.

I wouldn’t be too hard on him. It’s tough to be married to an addict, and chances are he has brought it up to her, repeatedly, and has been told this is a take-it-or-leave it deal, the booze is staying he can stay or go. He may not be ready to push it to a crisis point yet, and I can’t blame him. Some people never find themselves able or willing knowing that the conversation could well result in her leaving.

That’s the position my dad was in, he chided and tried not to enable for a long time but eventually he had to decide if the living situation was tolerable as it was or not because she would not change for anything, literally not love or money.

I’m disappointed he stayed but I don’t blame him.

By: WoodswomanWrites Tue, 23 Nov 2021 22:34:34 +0000 In reply to Stitch.

Stitch, I lost someone dear to me to a drunk driver as well. Sorry to hear your news.

OP, absolutely say something to your friend right away. You of course can’t control her response, but speaking up is the right thing to do. Hopefully it will help set her on a path to sobriety.

By: Margaret Tue, 23 Nov 2021 22:28:43 +0000 I had a coworker coming to workdrunk and i told my supervisor but she was new and didnt know how to handle it. she subsequently left and a new supervisor came in and i told her but it seemed to make her dislike me.

By: Mystik Spiral Tue, 23 Nov 2021 22:23:23 +0000 In reply to OhNo.

Fair enough. The OP will know her company better than any of us. Just thought I’d throw the suggestion out there since it helped me!

By: Recovering Heroin Addict Tue, 23 Nov 2021 22:17:32 +0000 I struggled with heroin addiction while I was attempting to get a masters degree in social work. As part of that degree, you also have to do a field internship under the supervision of a licensed social worker.
I shot dope multiple times a day, every single day. I went into the bathroom at my internship and got high. I’d show up late and leave early to get drugs. I had track marks on my hands. After over a semester of this, I thought no one suspected I was using. Despite the fact that it was completely obvious, especially to social workers who worked in behavior health!

No one every asked me point blank if I had an addiction problem. Instead, what my supervisor did was comment in her evaluation on the issues with my overall behavior. She mentioned me coming to my internship with my appearance/hair unkempt and my issues with attendance and lateness. This evaluation is one of a number of things that got me to consider that people could tell that I had a problem. A couple weeks after this evaluation, I called out of work when I was already an hour and a half late. I sent the supervisor a long message apologizing and said that I was really struggling with my mental health and would go to my field advisor at the school to figure out my next steps. The internship supervisor was extremely compassionate. She offered to let me come up with a plan on how I could make up the hours, and this is ultimately what led me to get help (and leave social work school in the process). I knew that as long as I was using heroin, I was never going to make up those hours. No amount of kicking the can down the road could buy me enough time to solve my heroin addiction by myself. And the fact that she was compassionate when I told her I needed help with my “mental health” gave me the courage to come clean to my parents. I ended up withdrawing from school. I have almost two years off of heroin.

I know my situation is different from LW’s friend in quite a few ways. I wasn’t working with friends or family members when I was struggling with my addiction, and I was also an intern (had I been an actual employee I would have been fired wayyyy before it got so bad). I just wanted to chime in with my experience struggling with addiction in a professional setting and how it ultimately led me to seek help.

LW- even though the circumstances are different, something that might be helpful in your case is mentioning specific behaviors you are seeing from Becky that indicate something is going on.You can be upfront about the fact that she seems like shes coming to work drunk, but if you also include details about how it is specifically coming out in her behavior at work, it will be more likely to cut through some of the denial that she’s probably experiencing. It was really embarrassing for me to read about specific things that my colleagues were noticing about my appearance but as I said, it also helped. She might not want to acknowledge the way that her consumption of alcohol is impacting her standing at work. She might shut you down, or she might seem contrite only to show up drunk to work the next day. Regardless, you will have planted a seed. For a lot of addicts/alcoholics, there is a big difference between struggling in private with your addiction and struggling with it in public.

By: LGC Tue, 23 Nov 2021 22:02:17 +0000 In reply to Observer.

My presumption was that Becky shouldn’t hesitate to get treatment if she’s afraid of losing her job over it.

I’m also saying that LW should approach this as a friend here and not her boss. Tell Becky she’s got a serious problem (which she does) and encourage her to get help. What she does with that is up to her, but that should be LW’s first step.

By: Boof Tue, 23 Nov 2021 21:43:16 +0000 In reply to JB.

The problem is, it’s VERY HARD to treat the other conditions (with medications) until the drug withdrawals are done. I mean anxiety/depression (not, say, schizophrenia or bipolar or something). Ideally the person’s brain chemistry gets a chance to equilibrate before you start throwing more [refined] drugs at it.

By: Boof Tue, 23 Nov 2021 21:37:42 +0000 In reply to Where’s the Orchestra?.

I’m just going to put a word in that I think “rock bottom” is simply the lowest point any given person is willing to go for their addiction, not like, that it HAS to get a certain level of bad for someone to stop. Some people are fine being homeless/friendless/dying young, some people rock bottom is just realizing they want the [whatever] a little too much.

By: blackcat lady Tue, 23 Nov 2021 21:27:14 +0000 It has been great reading the comments from fellow recovering addicts! Recovery is a hard journey but the end result is wonderful. Raising that glass of San Pell to everyone! I think that is why programs like AA and others work. By sharing our experiences with others we realize we are not alone, have the same struggles, and pull each other to the finish line.

LW please keep us updated on Becky. But yes, be prepared to have her be very angry with you.

By: BK1 Tue, 23 Nov 2021 21:14:40 +0000 Please do talk to her. But as others have said, manage your own expectations. It is highly unlikely she is going to suddenly see the light during that conversation.

A few years ago I was on a nonprofit board and one of our members developed a serious drinking problem. She came to an important meeting obviously intoxicated. My friend was chair and didn’t know what to do and was clearly going to let her go on making a spectacle of herself. So I intervened, asked for a break and we got her home. Caused a fight w/ my friend, he thought I was being cruel by confronting her. I saw she needed help and I didn’t think pretending she didn’t was the kind thing to do.

Personally, I was never a daily drinker. But I was a serious binge drinker. It took a long time for me to admit to myself just how big of an issue it actually was. Part of the realization was friends not wanting to spend time with me if alcohol was involved. I was never mad at them, btw. I felt awful. But it also took a good amount of time before I was ready to change. Almost 6 years sober now.

By: BlueKazoo Tue, 23 Nov 2021 21:01:36 +0000 In reply to LouLou.

Right? That’s a significant overstatement. And even if it weren’t, victim blaming is not the best strategy. If your friend was dressing wildly inappropriate for work, would you tell her she was risking being sexually assaulted? Probably not. You’d likely focus on how it was affecting people’s perception of her professionalism.

By: BlueKazoo Tue, 23 Nov 2021 20:57:36 +0000 In reply to PT.

That’s not how slander laws work…

That aside, it is annoying to be supervising people high enough that it’s obvious. I was a shift manager in college at a fast food place. Lots of people have restaurant jobs because they don’t drug test. But, I flat out refused to have this one guy work during my shifts because he would come in so high he kept messing up how to use the fryer. Making fries is practically foolproof – you put them in, press the timer, take them out. So you have to be pretty dang high to mess it up. This was also the guy who I had to remind that there were cameras all over the place (theft mitigation) and so perhaps it wasn’t the best place to be cleaning out his pipe. On the clock.

By: Oh Behave! Tue, 23 Nov 2021 20:46:22 +0000 My first thought when I read the title was is she driving. If so, it’s vitally important you speak with her. If you don’t and she causes someone injury or death, it will haunt you.

This is a VERY SERIOUS situation. You need to speak to her. You’re such long time friends, it begs a convo. It sounds like the hubby won’t be responsive to you (your comment above). This sounds like a dumping ground for her (BIL being the boss). How many jobs has she had? Just wondering if she’s been fired.

Your intervention may be the one that ‘takes’. Please, please say something to someone (Becky, husband, boss, HR, police (if driving drunk). My 5 year-old sister was killed, mom and three other siblings were seriously injured because of a drunk driver. This driver walked away with barely a scratch.

By: Keymaster of Gozer (she/her) Tue, 23 Nov 2021 20:23:36 +0000 In reply to Mystik Spiral.

(Sacred geometry is an interest of mine so love your username!)

Very glad your sister helped you. Most of my friends were also of the ‘ignore it’ or ‘if you are in such a bad situation that you need to drink then go ahead, I’ve got no right to judge’ and while I get that those are made out of kindness, in general, they’re not helping at all. As you say; it’s more enabling than anything.

Love, support and virtual cups of tea to all of you who’ve fought this battle. We’ve faced the worst of ourselves and survived it.

By: Persephone Mongoose Tue, 23 Nov 2021 20:23:17 +0000 “though it does make me a little anxious”

Oh, LW. I mean this as kindly as possible, but you absolutely must get over that with a quickness. There is far too much at stake for you to not have this conversation, especially when you have as much standing to do it as you do.

Friendships sometimes come with hard parts and this is one of them. Please, please be a friend to her and talk to her about this. I’m wishing you both the best.

By: Green Goose Tue, 23 Nov 2021 20:21:56 +0000 In reply to OP.

Hi OP, thanks for writing this question in and I hope it all works out. My sister is a “Becky” and I encourage you to say something to her if you are able. It took my mom and I a really long time to even address things with my sister and she’s still in denial, but I think in these situations, the more people that acknowledge it with the person, the harder it is for them to keep pretending that it’s not a problem. My sister tends to surround herself with people that do not call her out or others that drink heavily, so even if her friends notice these type of things they are unlikely to call her out directly. I’m really hoping other people say things to her so she can’t chalk it up to “my family is dramatic and they are only saying I drink too much because they are too [insert excuse]”.
Good luck, and try to focus the conversation on your care and concern for her.

By: Keymaster of Gozer (she/her) Tue, 23 Nov 2021 20:17:27 +0000 In reply to Quit Like a Woman.

The ‘it’s okay because I’m a functional addict’ thought crossed my mind a lot when I began to admit I had a problem. Yes, I did my job just fine and I made sure I never drove under the influence.

But my family saw otherwise. The mood swings (I’m a depressed drunk), the constant smell, the bouts of being sick in the morning, the hiding of bottles round the house (years on I’m still finding empties in weird spots), the speech slurring…etc. My husband showed a photo of me taken after I got home from work one day and my word I looked utterly sh*tfaced.