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My Drinking is Affecting my Job – How Do I Stop Without Getting Fired?

by Jean

My drinking is starting to affect my job. I’ve been with my company 5 years now and so far I’ve managed to get by and hide my drinking pretty well I think. I’ve come to work not totally sober a few times and have taken various days off because I’ve been too out of it – but I don’t think anyone’s really noticed before.

Except two weeks ago, stupidly, I came to work pretty hammered and everyone of course picked up on it. My boss called me in and sent me home. Said if it happens again he’ll fire me. I know I can’t afford to slip up again, but I know chances are unless I figure out a way to quit, I will probably end up intoxicated at work at some point. I think I’m an alcoholic so I need to get help because I can’t let this screw up my career. But how do I handle this with work so I don’t get fired?


Hi Jean

Well done for coming to the realisation that you need help. That’s the first and often the hardest step for an alcoholic. Depending on the relationship with your boss, you may be able to be honest with him and tell him you have a problem, but you’re going to get it seen to – so would he please give you the time off to go get your alcoholism treated.

Or if you don’t think that will work, a doctor can provide you with a medical certificate to get sufficient time off so that you can get treatment for your alcoholism. Because a medical certificate doesn’t need to specify what condition exactly you are being booked off for.

The main thing is though – whatever approach you decide to use – is to make sure you actually do go and get help and make sure you commit to a new life of sobriety by working a program of recovery. Otherwise you’re just kidding yourself.

Most employers today are quite understanding about these things – and do have policies in place that require them to be supportive of staff in getting an addiction seen to. You’ll have to look into the specifics of that with your company though. But if you do stuff up again – realise they will fire you, and have every right to do so.

Don’t wait. Take action now and get your alcoholism seen to. Even more important than your job and career is your life. Good Luck. You can do it.

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