Please help me deal with my friend/coworker who is an alcoholic.
June 15, 2011 6:21 PM Subscribe
How can I deal with an alcoholic coworker/friend?
posted by bookmammal to Human Relations (8 answers total)
A coworker/very good friend was discovered drinking at work yesterday. He was in a highly intoxicated state and admitted to me that he had relapsed. About six months ago he had shared with me that he was 5 years sober (I had suspected that he was in recovery but we had never talked about it previously), but I have strong suspicions that yesterday's relapse was not an isolated incident.
Yesterday's incident also started unraveling a huge web of lies that he has told me and others over the years. (Again, I had had suspicions, but didn't want my instincts to be true). He is also having financial difficulties and is estranged from his family.
Due to HR policy, he is able to remain on the job. HR has provided him with info about treatment, and has explained our paid medical leave policy. He is adament about remaining on the job, and claims that he is starting treatment again on an outpatient basis.
At this point, I don't feel that I can believe anything he tells me. He is a dear friend and I care about him, but I don't want to enable him any longer and I don't want to continue to deal with the lies. I understand that no one can force him into working productively towards recovery. I don't have any illusions that I can "save" him. We work very closely together, so our interaction on the job will continue. I love my job and don't feel that his behavior should force me into moving to another department. I have told him frankly that I value his friendship but that he has lost my trust.
How do I continue to interact with him at work? Do I try to limit our communication strictly to required work subjects? Do I immediately end our friendly interactions outside of the workplace (phone calls, texts, emails, etc) until I feel I can trust him again? And how will I know when/if that ever happens? I want to be supportive if he is attempting recovery again, but I don't know how to do that if I don't trust him. I am at a loss.
I truly feel that I am grieving the loss of a dear friendship. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.