I may have been sober for double-digit years. Or I may have quit this morning, desperately hoping yesterday was my last drunk.
Drinking may be against my religion. Or it may have led me to a higher power through AA.
Whether I work with you in a boardroom or emergency room or situation room or courtroom, someday you may walk into a meeting room in a church or community center looking for help with your drinking and find me there. I will help you.
I may have been one of the 102,000 U.S. adults who seek treatment for alcoholism this year. That may have saved me from being one of the 3 million people around the world who die this year from alcohol-related causes.
It may threaten my sobriety, serenity, and life when the office emphasizes drinking in work-related social activities. Or it may not faze me a bit. I may in fact enjoy being the designated driver.
My past drinking, abuse of expense accounts, and lost productivity may have cost the company dearly, part of the $249 billion annual cost of drinking in the United States. If I am in recovery, that experience may help save a coworker from going through the same costly pattern.
I may have begun abusing drugs by taking Adderall as a “study drug” in college. Or I may have gotten hooked on crystal meth so I could hold down two blue-collar jobs in the recession. Or I may be struggling to free myself from the deadly undertow of opioid addiction.
When you casually lament a hangover or recount binge drinking it may unnerve me. Or I may get a kick out of it and tell you that you are an amateur.
When shouts ring out on a Thursday or Friday that everyone at our workplace needs to or has to, or really should drink alcohol, I may or may not speak up to tell you that alcohol landed me in the hospital or jail.
I may or may not speak up to tell you that I feel awkward and unsafe when peer pressure to do something that would endanger me is yelled at me in front of others while I work.
But whatever else I may or may not do, I don’t drink and I do work here. If those two facts need to be reconciled, we have some heavy lifting to do.