CrossTalk is based on the premise that recovery life is polytely: frequently, complex problem-solving situations characterized by the presence of not one, but several endings. This writing represents decades of recovery and its application to life and how to get over it, into it or through it with spunk, levity and a good dose of reality. What? You want more than happy, joyous and free? Get over it. Just sayin’. – Mollé
Hey Ms. Mollé: I have a few years of sobriety and a good job. Over the past few weeks, a 24-year-old coworker has exhibited a drinking problem. He shows up late to work smelling of booze, hung over and basically useless. We work at a resort and interact with guests all day. This guy isn’t pulling his weight, yet my manager just attributes his behavior to age and inexperience. He says we should be more tolerant. My coworkers are aware that I am sober, but my manager is not. How can I address this without jeopardizing my job or appearing intolerant? Help!
Dear Ms. Intolerant,
Maybe our reasons for being intolerant are valid. But right now let’s not worry about what others think.
First, take your own inventory. Remember, “Whenever we are disturbed, no matter the cause . . .” (Twelve by Twelve, pg. 90), we have a part in it. What is your part?
Here is are guidelines I use for deciding if I need to open my mouth about anything: First, does it need to be said? Second, is it the truth? Third, can it be said with love and kindness? Fourth, does it need to be said by me? As you can guess, the fourth is usually where I have to let go of my ego and quiet the voice that claims I shouldn’t have to live with this injustice. Such drama!
Are the other employees uncomfortable with your coworker’s behavior? Why do you have to say something? Maybe this would be better addressed by another person. From a distance, the best direction I can offer is to be honest with yourself, check your motives and then try to be helpful.
Technically, this is none of your business. This is your manager’s problem. Yes, the issue may affect you, but it doesn’t mean you have to solve it. Try stepping aside and letting it unfold without your input. These situations tend to work themselves out. If all else fails, find a different job.
Dear Ms. Mollé: I feel stupid and should know better; but after a year-and-a-half sober, I relapsed yet again. I can’t stop drinking, but I don’t want to go back to AA. I don’t feel like I belong. I’m tired of people seeing my long blonde hair, my skinny body or my mom’s big blue eyes, then saying, “You don’t look like an alcoholic.” They don’t see me puking in the toilet or passed out in public bathrooms, the filth of my apartment or all the money I owe. My dad is famous – when people find out, they think I have everything. I was told to “hang with the women,” but that’s a joke. I called asking for help, but not one of those women came to help me. I’ve been to treatment twice, but obviously that didn’t work. What am I supposed to do?
Dear Where-Do-I-Belong Girl,
AA is not the only road to recovery. It is not uncommon for people to come into the rooms an overwhelming load of self-pity, self-loathing, despair – and a boatload of anger. Welcome!
I believe you are worth hearing some truth – my truth. Whether you like it or not is beside the point. We all tend to be hypersensitive to everything – especially in the first year of recovery. We are overly sensitive to what people say, how they say it, how they were standing/sitting when they said it; and we assume people are talking about us all the time. Listen, this is important: What people say and what we hear are often two different things. Our past painful experiences bolster our ego; the ego then puts up defensive armor and alters our sense of hearing and warps our perception of events. Just another smart reason to have a sponsor who can help you hear and see the truth.
So you don’t like women in AA? Get in line. We often see other women as the enemy, but the truth is we’re afraid of them. Don’t forget, when drinking, many of us burned other women.
I am going to take a guess that you were drunk when you called those AA women for help. When sober the next day, did you call back or make any other calls? Did you show up at a meeting (early) and with that same desperation, tell the women you were ready and willing to do whatever it took to stay sober?
It is worth trying again, but with a new resolve. Look for women who have Big Book-based recovery. It may take some humbling and persistent action on your part, but you are worth all the effort you can muster to save your own life.
Oh, and that whole thing about being too cute? You may be pretty, but there is nothing pretty about being passed out on a public bathroom floor. Nope, not pretty at all.
The viewpoints shared or any implied actions suggested by Mollé are the opinions and ideas of the author only and do not represent those of In Recovery Magazine. The implied action is offered openly and is never intended to replace the advice of a health care professional. You may send your dilemmas to Mollé at email@example.com.