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Working in a place were drinking is the norm

Old 04-07-2010, 02:03 PM
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Question Working in a place were drinking is the norm

Hi,

I work in a small company and drinking is considered as the thing to do, even by the bosses. Few glasses of wine during lunch, no problem. Coming in late for work still looking green, it happens! Calling in sick because you can't get up, ok but don't let it happen too often. Parties or events with the company, you just gotta have some...preferably lots! See what I mean?
Most of my co-workers start the week telling stories about how drunk/sick/hungover they got during the weekend...and how much "fun" they had. I think more than one has exactly the same problem I do, or is headed in that direction (just my opinion).

I've had my share and I know how they must feel very well (cranky-sleepy-finding it hard to focus- can't wait for the day to be over...), so I'm thinking I can use their stories, from now on, as fuel for my sobriety in some way, until hopefully one day they'll draw their own conclusions??

Does anyone have experiences to share on how to handle this? Would appreciate it!

Andi
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:31 PM
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I have never, ever worked anywhere like that and can't imagine it.

Would you consider changing jobs?
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:41 PM
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I had a job in my 20s and the partying was the norm. Also the hung over at work was normal too. I tried to sober up back then, but was unable to do so. I can't blame it on the place though because I know today it wouldn't prevent me from sobering up now. I am now ready to do the necessary work to stay sober and back then I was not.

If you can't switch jobs then do whatever you need to in order to hang on to your sober lifestyle. I agree that seeing and being in that environment now would help energize my determination to remain sober. Those people I worked with 20 years ago aren't drinking now and if they are then they are fighting the same battle. A body cannot withstand that kind of lifestyle for long.
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:46 PM
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Hi Andi

I work from home so I'm afraid I have no experience for you - I know others will though.

D
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:05 PM
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Unfortunately we're not the majority...

Originally Posted by Andi View Post
Hi,

I work in a small company and drinking is considered as the thing to do, even by the bosses. Few glasses of wine during lunch, no problem. Coming in late for work still looking green, it happens! Calling in sick because you can't get up, ok but don't let it happen too often. Parties or events with the company, you just gotta have some...preferably lots! See what I mean?
Most of my co-workers start the week telling stories about how drunk/sick/hungover they got during the weekend...and how much "fun" they had. I think more than one has exactly the same problem I do, or is headed in that direction (just my opinion).

I've had my share and I know how they must feel very well (cranky-sleepy-finding it hard to focus- can't wait for the day to be over...), so I'm thinking I can use their stories, from now on, as fuel for my sobriety in some way, until hopefully one day they'll draw their own conclusions??

Does anyone have experiences to share on how to handle this? Would appreciate it!

Andi
While drinking in the office is uncommon (outside special occasions), the prevalence of people telling their weekend drunk stories, weekly - or more - happy hours, and the prevalence of alcohol at company events is not. Everywhere I have worked since college has had a drinking "culture" and in retrospect probably exacerbated my problem. In fact, I just had a job interview TODAY and part of our conversation drifted toward martinis and wine prices! I just politely said I don't drink anymore, but still enjoy going out and redirected the conversation about what I like to do for fun. They said they admired me for it! It's very hard when everyone around you drinks, but what I read here once before is true, we're in the minority. Some people will respect you, others won't. If the culture of the company is such that it they can't respect you, it probably is time to move on. Good luck.
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Old 04-07-2010, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Andi View Post
I've had my share and I know how they must feel very well (cranky-sleepy-finding it hard to focus- can't wait for the day to be over...), so I'm thinking I can use their stories, from now on, as fuel for my sobriety in some way, until hopefully one day they'll draw their own conclusions??
Does anyone have experiences to share on how to handle this?
Hey Andi,

I don't know if you're wondering if it's ok to use their hangovers, drinking, etc. as motivation for you to want to stay sober or if you're wondering about maybe 'showing them the light' to a life of sobriety like you've chosen?

If it's the former, I am grateful every morning that I wake up clear-headed, particularly after social events such as the superbowl, st. patrick's day, etc. so if seeing your co-workers reinforces your resolve to not want to live like that, I'd say, whatever works and helps you. I wouldn't use this as the only thing to keep me sober, but that's me.

If you're hoping that you might be able to help them change their ways, I'd advise against it - nobody wants or will really get sober until they want to. If we're truly focusing on our own sobriety, we won't have time (nor should we) to be concerned with trying to change someone else.

My apologies if I misread your question. I do think working in this environment while trying to build a foundation for a life in recovery will be challenging - not impossible I suppose - but it will require some real due diligence, particularly if there is peer pressure to join in the regular festivities that seem to not only be tolerated, but encouraged.

Look forward to hearing how it goes, Andi. Take care.
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Old 04-07-2010, 04:25 PM
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OMG Andi, Ugh!!!! I worked briefly at a place where the dispatcher drank so much on his down time that he had the shakes all day at work. The girl that I worked closely with was in and out of the bathroom, running out of the office to run "errands" and would take naps in the conference room or back of the office because of her hangovers. She'd also show up to work hungover and she wreaked of alcohol.

I was still in rehab at the time, part of the program was to start working before they "graduated" you from rehabilitation and I would get back "home" (my rehab) and report to my counselor on the day's events with those two.

Watching them made me grateful that I wasn't there any more, at least the suffering part. Other employees in the office made disparaging remarks in regards to their behavior. The girl was horrible. At one point she asked if she could live with me (Eeeeeek!!!!!!!!) because she couldn't afford her place any more, her electric I know for a fact was shut off on her...........NO WAY!!!!! Of course she'd invite me to go party with her as well. She was also a mental wreck, again, glad I wasn't there any more.

That job didn't last long. I quit while I was still in rehab so I could go find ANOTHER job because as well as the girl was a mess, she also constantly was yelling, attacking, rude, had no boundaries and was just off the wall. I just refused to subject myself to that any longer.

I wish you the best, I would think seeking a different place of employment might be better for you???? I don't know that I could have continued there. That girl was also supposed to be quitting and every week she'd show up and say "I'm going to be here another week." I couldn't wait any longer. What a mess!!! LOL!!!
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Old 04-07-2010, 04:42 PM
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Andi, I work in a restaurant, and most of the employees drink pretty heavily. Every morning somebody comes in complaining about something, or someone calls out sick, and I know it's because they got wasted the night before. You can just tell that some people are bi***ing and moaning because they feel like crap because they got trashed and didn't sleep well and have to be at work.

One girl today was absolutely going off about her home life. "F this" and "F-ing B" that and all sorts of stuff. Then she said something to the effect of, "Sorry guys, but I'm in a mood. You're just gonna have to deal with it today."

Rather politely, I replied, "Why don't you just chill out? Instead of the 8 of us having to deal with your crap, why don't you just cool off and make things easier on everyone?"

To which she said, "Whatever. I'm still gonna talk."

My response was something along the lines of, "Do what you gotta do, but don't bring us down with you. I'm in a good mood and I plan on staying that way."

She knew I was calling her out. She was trying to throw herself a little pity party because she couldn't control her drinking and felt like crap and she wanted us all to be in her world and play her little game. Without raising my voice or being an Ahole, I let her know that wasn't going to happen.

About a half hour later, she said, "I'm cool, Chris. I'm done talking. Everything's OK."

I said, "Everything's OK if you want it to be."

Also, I used to sit down with my co-workers for beers and shots after work. Now they all see me leaving as soon as I get off. I have better things to go do with my time. And people I've drank with the last 2 years keep making little comments like, "Man, I wish I could stop drinking." "You're doing such a good job! Keep it up!" "I wish I could get off and just go home like you."

They're seeing the changes I'm making in my life, and it's got some of them thinking kinda hard about their own. Most of them don't even know I'm doing AA, they just know I'm not drinking and I'm a lot happier and have things going pretty well right now. I've planted the seeds just by my behavior. I have a feeling some of them are going to want to discuss things with me very soon, and I'm just chilling, doing my thing, and I'll be there if that day comes.
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Old 04-07-2010, 04:57 PM
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I think working with a bunch of drunks might be a very strong reminder of where I do'nt want to go back to. Make their example one of your recovery tools and use it as a frequent reminder of the mess you are leaving behind you.
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:01 PM
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I work in an office where my BOSS is usually the creator of the drinking lifestyle and one who is sloshed/hungover. He is a daily drinker. I do not drink and everyone in my office knows it. They have never asked why.
I found that the alnon/acoa materials helped me learn how to develop boundries and keep them in recovery. I also steer clear of the office happy hours. I find a reason not to go and over the last year they stopped asking. I am a loyal professional employee. Thats all they need to know.

If layoffs come my way I wouldn't be too upset. I'd rather work in a healthier environment. Its a good paying job otherwise. Bottom line is that I OWN MY RECOVERY. So I am there for professional reasons. If its a particularly 'bad' day with drunk o boss. I hit a meeting. I don't vent about it to many people. Primarily my close friends in recovery.

I pray. I know the prayer to lift the obsession/compulsion works because I hear him pour his drinks and then my attention is redirected to something work related. My stinking thinking does not take over.

Also, my recovery counselor taught me vigilant in learning and recalling the basic text of 12step program and that will carry me thru. It really does work. I remember the Four Horsemen and my last relapse.... I have to 'arm' myself. My family runs/owns several restaurants and I can't hide in a bubble. In my office job, if I have to...I take a long lunch and go see recovery people.

Oh and keep your feelers out for new job...what better time to look than when you have one?

I hope this gives you hope.
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:11 PM
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hi Andi I'm Tommyg and I a recovering Alcoholic also new to this site. Had lot's of experience with Booze and drinking on the job. You see I owned a Restaurant and Bar.
Actually when I started going to AA in the Early 80's I would go to a meeting and was so Pinked Clouded that I would go back to my place and try to get the ones that i thought drink to much to come with me to AA. I did!!!! My bartender kept reminding me that was How she made a living and come to think of it you do to. When the obsession and craving left me don't really remember when probably after that ultimate plea to HP to save my life. I knew I was done with the stuff. So I continued to work in my field around booze all the time for the next 20 years. Didn't want it, but had to remember i was only one drink away from another drunk. So HP will handle those co-workers. Pray for them and ask HP to put someone across your path so that you may share your experience strength and hope with them. We all have growing pains and that's the best experience i know of.

Good luck
Peace
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:18 PM
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While my working enviroment was not as permissive or
toxic as yours.......I did make a change to protect
my early fragile sobriety.

Less stress....less money...more regular hours...no drunks.
.....Worked out great for me.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:23 PM
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Hi Guys,

Just read through all you posts, thanks for your ideas an thoughts.

I'm definately going to sleep on it, but since I had some energy to do some household chores after work (thanks to being sober!!) it is time for me to get some rest on my side of the globe.

Day six is...
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:16 PM
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Hi Anna,

I'm not going to change jobs just yet, have been there 4 years now and luckily it isn't all bad. So am willing to give it a try with my newfound state of mind and see how that works out. Wish me luck!
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Horselover View Post
I had a job in my 20s and the partying was the norm. Also the hung over at work was normal too. I tried to sober up back then, but was unable to do so. I can't blame it on the place though because I know today it wouldn't prevent me from sobering up now. I am now ready to do the necessary work to stay sober and back then I was not.

If you can't switch jobs then do whatever you need to in order to hang on to your sober lifestyle. I agree that seeing and being in that environment now would help energize my determination to remain sober. Those people I worked with 20 years ago aren't drinking now and if they are then they are fighting the same battle. A body cannot withstand that kind of lifestyle for long.
Yes Horselover, that's what I'm thinking. When I first started there 4 years ago, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, all drinkers and party people...whoohoo! Maybe now I can turn it around to help me stay sober, since it is not heaven but hell.
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by HumbleBee View Post

If you're hoping that you might be able to help them change their ways, I'd advise against it - nobody wants or will really get sober until they want to. If we're truly focusing on our own sobriety, we won't have time (nor should we) to be concerned with trying to change someone else.
Oh no I'm not in a position to change anyone's ways and just trying to focus on getting myself straight. I repeat to myself often: there's my business, their business and the HP business. What I might be struggling with is the idea of "using other peoples misery in order to get better myself", if you know what I mean?
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