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Old 11-01-2009, 10:29 AM
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CoWorkerNeedsHelp

This one is actually not about me me me. I'm doing surprisingly well. Day 40 tomorrow and not half as much thinking about it. Anyway I really need some advise on whether or not I should approach a co-worker about his drinking problem. He is in so much trouble and I don't know if he will live much longer. Every day his withdrawals are so obvious, his whole body is shaking to the point where he can't hold a cup. His breath reeks of booze and his personal hygiene is, well I don't think he cares anymore. He isn't eating and very skinny. Our boss has given him warnings and discussed things but he denies having a drinking problem. He misses most Mondays, due to some accidental injury: Been jumped, shower ceiling fell on his head, been mauled by a dog to mention but a few. He is a very smart guy and it is such a waste at 49. Now it seems that his days are numbered at work, because he doesn't accept help. I have mentioned my recovery to him in the past, hoping he would open up, but nothing. Is there anything I should say or do? I know we are the only ones that can help ourselves, but I'm really worried one day no-one will care whether he turns up for work and he'll be found at home and it's too late.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:58 AM
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I guess I really don't have any advice. Just want to share my similar experience about 20 years ago. I was not a daily drinker then, and could probably label myself a social drinker. There was a man at work who exhibited the same signs as your coworker. This man would disappear for an hour or 2 in the middle of the day and come back reeking of booze. He eventually did get fired. Don't know what turned him around but I ran into him at a seminar a year or 2 later. He looked much better, had gained weight, and appeared to be sober. I spoke casually with him. I hope he stayed on track, but I never did run into him again. Maybe it was being fired...don't know. It doesn't sound as if your coworker is ready to give up the bottle yet. He probably doesn't think he has hit bottom. If he keeps it up, he undoubtedly will be fired too. Hopefully that would be a wake up call. He is undoubtedly in denial. Talking to him about it probably wouldn't help. Sorry I couldn't be of more help. :-)
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:11 AM
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That's a dilemma. I was one of those that would call in on Mondays and I knew that my boss knew. He would mention my red eyes and all, but never directly ask me about my alcoholism. I grew to resent him and eventually quit. Until we are ready our ears are deaf to advice. You have already mentioned your recovery to him and he hasn't taken the bait. I would say, as hard as it is, that you have to let him find his way. I did eventually and I didn't hit "bottom" work wise, but enough of a personal "bottom" that I surrendered. Hopefully he will too. Hugs - Sarah
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:34 AM
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I'd say let him fall... not to be mean, but because something similar happened to me. I didn't call out, I showed up and could work (scary) but the boss man knew, and tried to tell me... I had never thought I had a problem before, and wasn't quite sure what to make of what he was saying. He'd slip me mints to cover my breath and tried to get me to go to AA (he was a recovering cocaine addict). Basically warned me I was walking a thin line... but I thought I was bulletproof.

It was getting laid off--the whole team got laid off--that sent me into the progressiveness that got me to realizing that it's quit or die. Otherwise, I might have festered for another twenty years... who knows. Unemployment gave me the free time to double my liquor consumption and make a physical mess out of myself. To lose control within a year was heartbreaking--and it happened at such a pace that I could almost see it. It takes what it takes... you can't force it on somebody. The courts tried and failed miserably, my ex-boss tried and all I got out of it was eat breakfast before coming to work.

You already planted the seed... maybe it'll sprout in a year or so, like it did with me. An alcoholic brain is a hostile place to grow things...

& congrats on the 40 days.

-TB
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:21 PM
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I always think - back in my drinking days, how would I react being approached more than once by a co-worker when in that state?

I wouldn't have listened and I would have been nasty and I would been very proud and resentful...be careful Saphie.

Like others have said, you've already planted a seed by mentioning you're in recovery.

I don't see you can do more than that right now.

You have your journey and he has his.
Maybe one day he'll come to you, maybe not, Saph.

D
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:46 PM
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Thanks. You've basically confirmed what I already knew. He knows I'm there should he be ready. It's just so tough to see someone committing slow suicide (what we've all been doing) and just standing by. The guy is a Navy Veteran who saw active service in Lebanon. He's had three failed marriages and lost a son in a car accident. We all had our crosses to bear (however big or small) and alcohol made us forget until we woke up. I just hope he wakes up soon.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:48 PM
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I struggle so much with this...in my case it's a family member. I hear what everyone says about people having to make up thier own minds to stop and I think I would have been nasty to anyone who told me I had a problem, but...I don't know how I would have responded to someone actually offering help, not judgement. It is so hard to watch someone kill themselves, and should we? My family member is in her 60's, has a horribly distended belly in spite of how thin she is. She drives. A big SUV that has minor body damage all over that she can never explain. Would you want her in the road in your neighborhood? You raise a great question, Saphie. I wonder if your employer offers coverage for addiction treatment? When, if ever, do we step in and how?
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