An Alcoholic Amongst Us: Why is management turning the other cheek?

Drunk Star
Drunk Star (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes.  Have ANOTHER drink…


There is this guy that works in my office that has been boozing up a storm for quite a few months now.  He drives to the office drunk. He drinks during the day at his desk which means he staggers around the office babbling shit, then has a drink at lunch and drives home intoxicated at the end of the day.

When I asked his good friend why he is doing this, I was told that he is having a “tough time at home”.

I’m really sorry to hear that, really I am, but come on…  He is not the only guy in the world having home troubles.  Having problems at home (or not) does not give him the right to put others’ lives at risk while driving around the city – especially around our office where there are 4 schools.

My friend, when you had children, you gave up the right to self-destruct.  You want to be an adult, then you need to grow up.

But the more I think about it, the more I questions what bugs me more?  The fact that he is driving to and from the office intoxicated endangering the lives of others while he does so, or that I just found out that all the managers in our area knew about him, and have chosen to do nothing about it.

Within 2 days of finding out that this was an ongoing problem and not just a once-off event, I was determined to not turn a blind eye, and one evening I was working late and all the managers were sitting together talking about him when I wandered over and demanded they do something about it.  I told them that if he came to the office drunk tomorrow that I would call the police.   Their response to me… They told me that something was done, and he no longer drinks.  Okay.  I’ll believe that when I see it.

I am 2 years into my MBA program and if I’ve learned anything its that there are certain responsibilities that leaders have to take on and while not yet a manager I certainly could not sit idly by while he drives around the office hammered.  G-d forbid he hurts or kills someone…

Another thing that always bugged me about this guy is that he is one mean unfriendly son of a gun.  When I first started working there back in 1997, my team leader asked me to transfer an account to this guy and not knowing otherwise, I did just that.  The next morning as I was taking off my jacket in the morning at about 7:30am, he appeared at my desk and told me that was refused to accept the account and that regardless of who told me to forward it I will NEVER send accounts to him.  Not trying to be a wise-ass and trying to figure out if it was him, or an unwritten rule I asked him a few questions to which he angrely responded that if I continued to “press the issue I’m going to use you to test whether or not our windows are safe when I toss you up against it and hopefully through it.


He was serious.

Oddly, now that he’s boozing, he’s REALLY nice to me.  He’s like, “hey buddy. What’s up? How’s the kid? Everything OK?” Makes me wanna hurl. He’s a nice, social, slobbering drunk, and a real prick when sober. I caught him trying to go to the women’s bathroom and had to steer him the correct way.

So I waited for an extra day and first thing in the morning I witnessed said individual staggering towards the kitchenette carrying, not one, not two, but 4 empty bottles of water to fill up.  As if water covers up the smell of booze.  Just the sight of him acting like that makes me angry and ill.  How dare he insult our intelligence by coming to work like this and how dare management put their heads in the sand as if everything is ok.

I see a trend here.  The ostrich-effect… tuck your head in the sand and hope it goes away.

So I had a chat with him… Told him I was worried and that something had to be done.  We have a fantastic employee assistance program and I have referred others to it, and he told me that his wife had left him and taken their 2 kids.  He was really fond of the kids.  I asked him to please promise to not drive to the office drunk and mentioned that the police were aware and would be waiting to see his condition when he came and when he left.  I really felt for him.  He was half the man he used to be.  He had lost a lot of weight and had gone for that angry prick to a man who had nothing to live for.   He sat at his desk that morning, emptying his drawers and throwing out his junk.  I watched him at around 1pm walk into our section manager’s office and I could hear crying.

2 hours later a taxi came and away he went.  I never saw him again.

(update: he passed away in the summer of 2009 a lonely and broken man after being fired from his job for drinking – not my doing, but his.  Rumour has it he was being followed by the police who pulled him over the day before I spoke to him.  It was the 5th time he had been pulled over that week and his license was already suspended.  He was suspended from the office prior to an investigation.  Then he was fired.  I’ve never seen an individual self-destruct before in a matter of weeks.)


One thought on “An Alcoholic Amongst Us: Why is management turning the other cheek?

  1. Anonymous June 10, 2006 / 4:46 pm

    I can’t believe you almost saw him go into the women’s washroom. Curious as to why? I actually knew about his drinking before you found out. Back in March, I was in the hallway going to the washroom. He came out behind me. I entered the washroom, and then shortly after I entered the cubicle someone came in to the washroom reeking of alcohol. And I had not encountered anyone else in the hallway except for him. I thought maybe I was imagining things. I was so creeped out that I ran out, washed my hands and left. I never did confirm if it was him, but your post indicates that maybe I wasn’t dreaming…. He has in the past asked me out (which I thought was wierd since he’s married) and he used to comment on my body and how he would “rock my world” and “treat me like I should be treated”. We used to hang out a lot and he’d buy me a lot of lunch and some presents… Odd place we work… I think he was doing that to a lot of girls. It was the liquid courage.


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