Work With It: Resumé Of A Functional Alcoholic On The Job

NOT from the juiced-box but appropriate for the post: Huey Lewis & The News – Workin’ For A Livin’

My Fellow Alcoholics,

Al K Hall, your International Functional Alcoholic Slurperson (FASe) addressing you, members of the Drinking Generation, concerning Functional Alcoholism in the office.

The subject popped up, not unlike my zipper during a Keira Knightley film festival, because of the Charlie Sheen drama that’s been floating around in the dregs these last couple weeks. (Like here, or here, or here.) Apparently he didn’t show up on the set for the filming of Two And A Half Men Monday or Tuesday last February 22 & 23—and the fact that he was absent on Monday wasn’t that unusual. This is how famous i wanna be, so famous that if i don’t show up for work for two days because of a binge, no one says anything.

Which means that, yes, i have a job other than maintaining this my humble Diary-a Of A Chronicle Drinker. Believe it or not, with the millions of dollars flooding in every day into The Bar None, i still have to hold down a day job. (After all, how much cover did you have to pay to get in here? Do you see any ads cluttering up the walls?)

i’ll have been working at the same company for 18 years come April 1st (no kidding). It’s not the best place for a guy who works at drinking hard, what with about 3 business lunches a week including all the wine i can drink plus a cocktail party every Friday evening with a fully stocked bar of beer, whiskey, vodka, gin and mixers.

My Experience

Not that my drinking has gone unnoticed. i’ll try to recap the highlights for you, but y’all gotta remember it’s been 18 years…

–> First couple of  years, i was just considered a guy who liked to live large

–> The powers that be laughed off my first few Friday night binges

–> After that, i started getting the rep of a guy who liked to unwind a little farther than the next employee; the first time the COO talked to me about my drinking, she told me she understood i needed to cut loose but i should remember not to cut loose too often or hard

–> One time i went to a post-lunch business meeting drunk and the clients were pissed off (and not in a good way)

–> About that same period, my boss called me into her office because the company’s employee representative told her i should be sent to rehab at the company’s expense; my boss and i both agreed my drinking wasn’t that extreme a problem

–> One day i finished work after lunch so drank a little more than usual during the meal; instead of going home i went to a corner bar, drank even more, then returned to the office, mistook one client for another and talked to him for five full minutes without realizing my error before my boss came and led me away

–> In recent months, my business lunches have been reduced to 1 a week

–> Friday night’s have been better because Miss Demeanor is here, i have the kids every weekend and i no longer associate with one of my associates who is also a permanent fixture at company functions

My Skills

Taking the chair in my own defense (simply because i’m too drunk to stand), let me say this:

–> My boss adored me for the first couple years; while i’ve since fallen out of flavor with her, she still admires my mad skills

–> In my entire life and three jobs, i’ve only called in sick because of a hangover once and that was 22 years ago

–> i am good at what i do; i’m in the top five of a 30+ team (that’s not boasting, just honesty)

–> i am very popular with a majority of the clients; in customer service questionnaires, i consistently receive rave reviews

–> i love my job and that counts. A lot.

My Education

The bottom line here is the same one i drew in my Bottomless Pitt post, where i analyzed relationships through the eyes of a functional alcoholic.

There comes a time when you have to make a decision and when even not deciding is making a decision. You have to decide what’s more important, your drinking or your job. If you choose the booze, then i hope you live long enough to find a career you can feel passionate about. If you choose your job then, like in any loving relationship, you have to make some sacrifices.

Here are some things that work for me and might work for you:

  1. i don’t drink on week nights if i have to wake up early the next day (my job has hours that are not flexible but change daily)
  2. i don’t keep any booze in the house and only buy what i’ll consume that night (laziness is stronger than my need to go out and buy more)
  3. i only buy my limit (my limit is a bottle of wine—if i drink just that i know i’ll be functional the next day)
  4. If i drink too much at lunch, i stay out of the boss’s way
  5. i don’t usually drink with coworkers (i drink at home: it’s cheaper, safer and less embarrassing)

Or you could be the kind of famous where they don’t care if you show up for work or not.

And that’s enough for tonight, i think i’ll retire for the evening.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

This post is dedicated to Jabba da Butt, who left a comment on my bArCADEMY AwkWARDS post. He pointed out that, while he appreciated the hot girls i often escort into The Bar None, it’d been awhile since i last posted a sordid drinking blog for those of us in here struggling with alcohol.

And he was right. My Diary-a Of A Chronicle Drinker was meant to address my functional alcoholism with the hopes that there were people out there who would either appreciate and identify with my plight, or at least have a good time laughing at me if they didn’t.

So this one’s for you, members of the D-Generation and fellow D.R.I.N.K.E.R.s (Drunks Really Involved, Now Known as Exiles Reunited). If you got something out of this post, you could always leave a comment sharing a moment with us when your drinking interfered with your work. Or you could simply say that this sincerity is more than self-serving (’cause i got a lot of practice at that) and that you do actually read these treatises.

Or you could tell me to shut up and post more babes. i’d understand that, too. 😉

18 thoughts on “Work With It: Resumé Of A Functional Alcoholic On The Job

  1. I worked for an electronics company for eight years and all of its functions were structured around alcohol. Tremendous amount were consumed and yet, as far as I could tell, most employees still continued to funtion (as well as egotistical, clueless salesbots can be called functional). This was only toned down a bit when the HMO stepped in with threatening rates over liability issues.

    My rules are that I never drink alone or at home and rarely when I’m paying. I never drink when I am my own transportation and there is no place to sleep it off. These things alone severely limit my drinking. My limit is when I’m drunk (yeah, I know that I am drunk before I am aware of it, but once I am aware, I stop).

    While my drinking has never interfered with my work, my work has provided me with my best tales of drunkenness (god, I love a no host bar almost as much as a descrete but generous bartender).

  2. Thanks for the input, Ken!

    Man, you’d think your current job would be perfect for a drinker. You just have to nip out behind a bush for a nip.

    i get what you lean about drinking alone but, ironically, it’s better for me if i do. When i drink in social situations i drink to the point that i lose my inhibitions and start buying rounds for everyone and drink without counting to be the life of the party. When i drink at home (technically not alone because Miss D is here and she may have 1 or 2 glasses of wine with me), and finish a bottle, it’s too much a pain in the ass to go out and get another one so i stop. If i drink in a bar, the next drink is three feet away and i lose tabs on my tab.

    If you get a minute, i’d love to hear some of your tales!

    Your discrete but generous Tender Bartender,

    Al K Hall

  3. Thanks Al for the dedication. Cheers.
    I applaud you for only missing one day of work because of the monkey. I wish I could say the same (too many missed in the past few years). That’s why I am “on my way back” and started a blog like you and many others (AADS) to help me get through it. Even if nobody reads it (hey, that’s okay) it does make me feel better to say things and get them out there. We all need support and the “traditional” ways are not for everybody.
    I certainly appreciate the comic relief to a topic of serious nature. We all need to laugh and see the levity in our situations.
    So I look foward to you next post of hot chics !!! — and the introspective healing rant.
    Thanks

    • Jabba,

      Glad you approve, brother!

      What’s your website? If you’re interested, i can plug it a little here. i get about 1500 page reads a day and bloggers from sites i’ve referenced have said my mentions directed up to 100 readers their way. Even if you don’t want me to push your blog, i’d still like to read it for my own personal pleasure.

      Thanks for patronizing me,

      Al K Hall

  4. LOL @ the signs up there!

    “You have to decide what’s more important, your drinking or your job.”

    It’s the Economy of Exchange, eh? And it’s been a process of learning along the way.

    I like your strategies of what to do (under “My Education” up there), but I don’t mind saying that you started a lot of those, or maybe practiced them more faithfully, since I got here. I mean, I remember writing to you and calling you on the phone before I lived here in Yeah-man, and you were not always observing those principles. Also, you did not really kick in with them very much until there was the punched in wall, too, at that corner bar. I think that woke you up a little bit, too, and then also after I had to stop drinking once I lived here. We did not do well getting drunk together, and it became obvious that better ground rules were needed, just like at work, too.

    So, I guess I want to take a little bit of credit that it’s not just your job that matters, it is the people in your life, too, that have influenced how and when you drink. I think things would have worsened at work if I weren’t living here — or at least they would have not gotten as controlled as they are at this point. Also, your eldest son has had a lot to do with slowing down on Friday and Saturday nights — he reacts so badly with the drunk you — and my not drinking at all, much, I think also influences you. When it is just a party of one, it is not as much “fun.” Or, at least less encouraging to ramping things up, huh. Overall, though, it really has been your personal choice to decide that your job and the people in your life do matter to you enough that you make and keep rules for yourself around drinking. They don’t work 100% of the time. This past Friday was a reminder that you don’t always keep those rules. But, you do really put a lot of conscious effort into making and observing those kinds of rules for yourself, and they work a lot better than just continuing on as you used to. Yeah, it is about as functional as things can be when being an alcoholic. I still don’t know if I can say that alcoholism in its very nature is “functional,” but you do manage to hold your professional life together fairly well at this point, especially because you are good at what you do and you respect your job and its environment/work ethic. If you did not respect and like your job, and if it were not as personally fulfilling (your boss and clients really *do* like the level of work you do, and you are very good at it, and I know that gives you personal satisfaction) I know you would be a lot worse about drinking on the job.

    I really like that Jabbathebutt gave you inspiration to come back to the original premise of this blog: to examine the functional parts and alcoholic parts of your existence! This was cool to read and also made me aware of just how much progress you have made to keep the FUNctional parts of your existence alive and well. I am so glad. 🙂

    Your,
    Miss D

    • Thanks D,

      Glad I can help. I think thats what most of us are here for…inspiration. And thanks to Al….some laughs too!. I do appreciate a glimpse ito Al’s “situation” and being true to the roots of the blog. Just wrote a “book’ entry on my blog so I am going to keep this short….or my two fingers I use to type with may fall off.
      Peace out.

    • Sweetness,

      i keep having the impression that you think i’m excluding you from this blog…

      i try to reference you here and it’s no secret that you are the source of the inspiration for me to be better. i’m sorry i didn’t reference you in this post as i did in the relationship post…

  5. (BTW, sorry I have been so lame about commenting. I have been reading, as you know, but I have had a lot I have been doing on my own blog and reading and responding to other writers here in Yeah-man, too. While I love the movie reviews and appreciate the time and humor you put into the Dregs, I really hope that you can post something like this once a week, to keep coming back to the drinker that is YOU. I think this kind of writing/observation is where the heart of this blog really beats, and I like it when you write this stuff. I also like being able to put my 2 cents in as the almost-wife of Al, too, on these kinds of posts. BTW, when *are* you going to look into how we might accomplish marital bliss, eh? I kinda wish we could afford to just go to Vegas already, lol, and get it goin’ on.)

  6. Al? What are your thoughts on the breathalyzer book project? There is the possibility for so much win here! For example, I’m thinking of devoting a section to the problem of determining one’s maximum BAC before the onset of whiskey dick. Or how to use a breathalyzer to determine if you have what it takes to win proposition bets like: drink 1.75L in 24 hours without vomiting or dying. (I estimate 90% of the population would die. 5% of the population would barely complete it. 1% of the population could drink a handle in 24 hours and walk away sober.)

  7. I re-read my comment, and think it kind of sounds know-it-all and has way too many second-person “yous” in it. I still stand by a lot of the ideas about which I wrote, but I am sorry that it sounds like Miss Smartypants instead of Miss Demeanor!

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