‘Functional Drinkers’ More Common in the Workplace

More and more employers are choosing to offer alcohol in the workplace. Some workplace environments offer a full selection of drinks for their employees, while others actually maintain bars on the worksite for certain functions or in social situations. In addition to having the potential to cause serious liability issues for the employer, allowing and even encouraging on-site alcohol consumption can have serious consequences, such as increased rates of:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Drunk driving
  • Violent behavior
  • Rape

Having alcohol available at work can also present a problem for recovering alcoholics or for those who are at risk for alcoholism. Is workplace drinking a problem for someone you care about?

Who’s at Risk?

If alcohol is allowed in the workplace, it’s important to understand that this can be detrimental to everyone but especially to those who are at a high risk for alcoholism. Potential alcoholics who have alcohol readily available in the workplace may become dependent on drinking to get work done or to socialize with others. If you know someone who exhibits one or even several of the risk factors for alcoholism, encourage him or her to avoid drinking at work or, if drinking is very prevalent in a particular work environment, to consider finding employment elsewhere. Some risk factors for alcoholism include:

  • Regular occurrences of binge drinking
  • Starting to drink at an early age
  • Having close family members with alcoholism or substance abuse problems
  • Having mental health problems
  • Regularly spending time with heavy drinkers and/or alcoholics

The Warning Signs

If someone you work with and/or care about is regularly using alcohol at work, especially if it’s to the point of excess, you have a right to be concerned. You should be particularly concerned if that person also exhibits some of the warning signs of alcoholism, which include:

  • Expressing feelings of guilt or shame over drinking habits
  • Regularly drinking more than planned
  • Being dishonest about alcohol consumption or minimizing the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Drinking in order to feel “normal” or “relaxed”
  • Blacking out after drinking
  • Neglecting work, home, or other responsibilities in order to drink or because of drinking
  • Drinking and driving
  • Continuing to drink in spite of legal problems caused by drinking
  • Drinking alone
  • Relationship problems due to drinking

What You Can Do to Help Your Loved One Heal

If you suspect that someone you care about may have a drinking problem brought on by alcohol being available in the workplace, your first instinct might be to blame the workplace or to demand that your loved one stop working in that establishment. That, however, doesn’t address the root issue.

Instead of focusing on what caused the alcohol dependency, focus instead on what you can do to help, such as enrolling your loved one in our treatment program here at Axis and helping them to put an end to the problem. Call now for more information.