What is Alcohol and Other Drugs Abuse?
Dear Dr. Steve:
I was recently referred to my Employee Assistance Counselor by my supervisor at work.
My supervisor believes that my work performance is falling off sharply. In my written
referral to the Employee Assistance Counselor she wrote that there has been a sharp
increase in absenteeism, a pattern of returning from lunch late at least once a week, a
noticeable pattern of leaving work early on paydays, a decline in production output, an
increase in production of waste materials, and a noticeable decline in how well I get
along with my co-workers. I told my counselor that my supervisor has it in for me,
she watches me like a hawk, and pounces on every mistake I make. I have an explanation for
every time that Ive missed workexplanations I might add that my wife can
verify. I think my supervisor is trying to get one of her friends transferred
to our team, but to do so, she would first have to get rid of me. Its clear to me
that my supervisor and my Employee Assistance Counselor are trying to make me out to be
some kind of an alkie which I know Im not. I know Im not an
alcoholic because I can function just fine. I have one full-time and one part-time job. I
pay my bills on time. I raise my children. In fact, when it comes to alcohol, I can take
it or leave it. Theres no way that Im an alcoholic. How can I get this witch
of a supervisor off of my case?
You can have a problem with alcohol and
other drugs without being diagnosed as an alcoholic. It is possible that you abuse
alcohol and other drugs without being physically and/or psychologically dependent on
alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol abuse is the continued use of alcohol and other drugs
despite experiencing adverse interpersonal, emotional, behavioral, occupational, legal,
and/or spiritual consequences as a result of your drinking and drugging. So let me
answer your question with a question of my own. Do you continue to drink and drug despite:
1.) Experiencing adverse consequences to your financial, legal, occupational,
familial, interpersonal, emotional, psychological, physical, and/or spiritual well-being
as a result of his drinking and drugging?
2.) Your friends, workmates, and/or family members experiencing adverse consequences to
their financial, legal, occupational, familial, interpersonal, emotional, psychological,
physical, and/or spiritual well-being as a result of your drinking and drugging?
If you answered yes to either one or both of the above questions then its safe to
say at the very least that you abuse alcohol and other drugs.
two important points for you to consider about what I have just asked you. First, I asked
you whether or not alcohol and other drugs are a problem for you based solely on
whether or not you continue to drink and drug despite experiencing adverse
consequences as a result of your drinking and drugging. For instance, do you continue
to drink despite getting a DUI, being written up at work for drinking, being warned about
losing your job if certain behaviors continued, suffering health problems that are caused
by or inflamed by repeated use of alcohol and other drugs, being told not to mix certain
prescriptive drugs with alcohol and/or other prescriptive drugs, the realization that your
drinking and drugging is inflaming an interpersonal situation with family, friends, and/or
work place relationships.
put, alcohol abuse can be determined by evaluating specific, concrete, empirical
data that is measurablenamely, the adverse consequences of your drinking
and drugging and the continued use of alcohol and other drugs despite those adverse
consequences to your legal, financial, occupational, interpersonal, physical, emotional,
psychological, and spiritual well-being.
second point I want to make is to be inferred from what I did not ask you to answer in my
question above. I didnt ask you how much and how often do you drink
and drug. The point that I want to make about not asking you how much or how frequently
you drink and drug is that alcohol and other drug abuse is not measured solely by how
often and how much one drinks but by what happens to an individual as a result
of their drinking and drugging.
sake of emphasis, at the risk of being redundant, you are abusing alcohol and other drugs
if you continue to drink and drug despite experiencing adverse consequences
that occur as a result of your drinking and drugging. Adverse consequences can occur
whether or not you infrequently drink and drug small quantities of alcohol and other drugs
or frequently drink and drug large quantities of alcohol and other drugs.
Please remember that it is best that a qualified healthcare provider make the appropriate
evaluation of your drinking and drugging!
how to prevent and recover from chemical dependency as well as the aftereffects of
chemical dependency on you and your family. Read Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. series of
Insanity to Serenity.
as much as you can about the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction.
2.) If you do have a problem with alcohol and other drugs, contact a qualified healthcare
provider to help you develop a plan for how to best treat your problem with alcohol and