Saturday, November 6, 2010

DOT Compliance Training: Functional Alcoholic

Alcoholics in late stage addiction can still draw a paycheck, drive fork lifts, keep the books, and lead Boy Scout Troops. Until they have an accident or disturb your life in some way, you may be prone to using the term "functional alcoholic" to describe their drinking patterns. Stop using this enabling phrase. Have you heard anyone use the term "functional cancer". Of course not. That's because cancer is an "accepted" disease. We are still fooling around with alcoholism, but there are very understandable reasons for it. Centuries of misinformation dominate this problem, but in business and industry and in DOT drug and alcohol training we see supervisors and employees keeping these ill employees at risk for some of the worst calamities. From train wrecks to fender benders, enabling keeps alcoholics sick. The term functional alcoholic does have more precise meaning. It means "the drinking problem doesn't bother me." Actually, it really means the drinking doesn't bother you, "yet". If you do training with supervisors, this is a critical topic to include in DOT or Employee Assistance Compliance Training for Alcohol and Drug Education.