Alcoholism and the Workplace

Alcoholism is prevalent in the workplace. It affects all age groups, and socioeconomic classes – professionals, priests, and plumbers alike. Alcohol is often used to relax after work, to “seal the deal” during power lunches, or as an eye opener to start the day. In a society that has normalized the use of substances, even glamorized it – the crossing of the line into alcoholism can often be a slippery slope or, depending the individual, a dive off a cliff. Once the line is crossed, where alcohol becomes a necessity rather than for enjoyment, life changes, and drinking becomes part of a daily, inescapable routine.

Alcohol begins to affect daily functioning. The effects of alcoholism cause relationship issues, absenteeism, an inability to focus, poor job performance, and health issues that can be psychological or physical. Drinking before work, taking extended lunches and early happy hours can become a daily occurrence. An individual’s life is overpowered by the will to drink, nothing else matters.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the financial impact of alcoholism and alcohol abuse in the workplace is between $33 billion and $68 billion per year. The OPM estimates that absenteeism is four to eight times greater among alcoholics and alcohol abusers.

Besides the financial impact on a business, alcoholism in the workplace frequently can have a negative effect on co-workers. Erratic behavior missed deadlines, and careless work habits can strain working relationships. Some employees may feel pressure to put their jobs at risk by covering for a co-worker who is under the influence of alcohol.

The Federal American with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects alcoholics from immediate termination because alcoholism is a debilitating illness. If an employee’s job performance is suffering because of alcohol abuse, an employer is legally required to discuss the situation with the employee and offer time off for rehabilitation or some other type of assistance. If the employee does not seek treatment and performance problems continue, the employer can request voluntary alcohol tests and may terminate an employee if he or she is not alcohol-free.

If your life is starting to become unmanageable, you may be ready to take the first step. Admitting you may have a problem can be the hardest part. You may be feeling great guilt and shame, or there may be great pressure for you to keep your drinking secret because it may impact your company, your employees, and their livelihood.

There is a Solution

Hotel California by the Sea offers the ideal destination for alcoholism treatment for a wide variety of professionals. Our staff has many years of experience helping professionals from some of the world’s leading companies. We have a unique ability to provide discreet and personalized treatment for alcoholism and other types of substance abuse. Our consulting physicians are Board Certified and have many years experience with alcoholism and addiction. Our counselors and intervention specialists are available to help professionals commit to treatment, and our recovery process includes multiple therapeutic processes that we will help bring balance to your life and career and a reconnection to your friends and family. Get back to the life you knew, the person that you were meant to be.