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Holiday Parties with Alcohol

answered 02:37 PM EST, Sat November 26, 2011
I am invited to my boss’s house for a Christmas party next weekend, as I have been for the last couple of years. All the other guys from the shop will be there also. I quit drinking a couple of months ago after I realized that it was really getting out of control. I have not told anyone this. I have been going to aa. Not long before I quit drinking I was working OT at the shop after hours by myself trying to finish up an order that needed to be rushed. I was drinking and I got kind of drunk and basically ended up really screwing up the burring and I cost the company like 5 grand when they had to redo it from scratch. My boss was pissed and there were rumors going around that I had been drinking and that was why I screwed it up so badly. My boss asked me point blank if I had been drinking and I told him no and he asked me if I had a problem and I told him no. I don’t think he believed me but he gave me another chance. He said if he ever found me drinking at work I would be fired.

I know that the party is going to be a booze up and I don’t want to drink but I think that if I don’t it is going to be really obvious that I do have a drinking problem and that I was drinking like everyone says I was the night I screwed the order up. I feel like I have to drink and lose my sobriety just to prove to everyone that I am not an alcoholic, which I am. My job is like a real good anchor for me right now and I feel like if I lose it I will really be in trouble. Not to mention that it is pretty hard for a machinist who is fired for drinking on the job to find other work after that. Everyone knows everyone in this industry. Should I just drink for one night and then start over again? I can’t think of what else to do.

Melissa Borlie Says...

Melissa Borlie M. Borlie
MHR, LPC

Congratulations on achieving sobriety at this time of year and for being concerned about this issue. The holiday season is a difficult time to sober up and a difficult time to maitain new sobriety. Christmas parties at work are a prime example of this difficulty since most of them involve alcohol and many involve excessive alcohol consumption.

Since you are attending AA, I hope you have a sponsor. This is the time you need the support of your sponsor and AA group. I would recommend discussing the situation with your sponsor and follow his or her directions. Together, you can weigh the pros and cons of drinking or how to maintain sobriety and your emploment at the same time.

I try not to recommend lying, but there are instances, like keeping one's job intact, in which it may be a good idea. You have a family event after that party which requires you to be sober. Be the designated driver. Take a "date" that really doesn't care for you drinking. Choose a "story" that best fits your situation (or is most believable to the people concerned), plan it out in advance and then stick to it the night of the party.

As a rule of thumb, I recommend avoiding situations with alcohol for the first 6-12 months of sobriety since these situations are usually too tempting to have "just one". That's the lie that alcoholism tells you--"This time you can have just one," or "This time it will be different than all the times before". If you drink this one night, can you make it back to AA and to sobriety? Can your sobriety afford to take that chance?

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Page last updated Nov 26, 2011

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