I didn’t get into trouble every time I drank, but every time I got into trouble I had been drinking. This revelation, which I had early in my alcohol treatment program, is one of the key reasons I call myself “alcoholic”.
I was one of the lucky ones who drank alcoholically for years but never lost my job. I later realized that I had been very close to getting fired.
Problems At Work
The last six months of my drinking career I was working for a big company doing IT work. I was the guy who fixed computers and set up email accounts for new employees and such. My direct supervisor did not work in the building to which I had been assigned. My work assignments came to me via an electronic ticketing system. So, I was pretty well left alone as long as the tickets were handled efficiently, which they usually were.
The problem was that I also had to deal with people, which was a problem for me. It wasn’t that I didn’t like people. It was just that I felt so rotten every day that it was impossible for me to be pleasant. I felt bad every morning because I got drunk every night.
I was fairly good at my job so when someone complained about me the bosses took mercy on me and transferred me to a different building. Of course, it wasn’t long before I has another conflict with someone and had to be transferred again. Luckily for me, the company was big and there was a lot of room for me to be shuffled around rather being terminated.
As I look back I see that I was unbelievably lucky to have not been fired. My attitude was horrible and some of my outbursts were way over the top.
But I Don’t Drink AT Work!
I always felt proud that I never drank at work or during the workday. Drinking was an after work activity for me. This was always a big deal in my mind. The fact that I was working at a diminished capacity most days, and was basically useless on the worst days, really did not occur to me. The only time I showed up to work not feeling bad was when I was still drunk from the previous night.
My behavior was dishonest since I was not giving my employer the full days work for which I was being paid.
Just as I was lucky to not get fired, I was also lucky to find a way to not drink. For me, this took the form of an intensive outpatient alcohol treatment program. I worked during the day and went to the group in the evenings. It was difficult and inconvenient but it helped.
I no longer drink…and I no longer get myself into any (much) trouble!
Other articles in this series…