October 20, 2009 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: Ask co-workers to choose new place

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar
 

Dear Annie: I am a recovering alcoholic with six months’ sobriety. Recently, I was hired at a new company. The job is everything I dreamed of, and my bosses and co-workers are great. The problem is, every Friday after work, they go to a bar to socialize.

I am always invited to join them, but since bars were where I did most of my drinking, it is essential to my recovery that I stay out of them. So far, I have politely excused myself from attending these gatherings, saying I have a previous commitment or an errand to run, but it is beginning to get awkward. I am aware that socializing outside of work can be an important part of an employee’s success. I don’t want to come across as standoffish or not a team player. But I also don’t want to jeopardize my sobriety.

Some people have suggested I sit in the bar and sip a soft drink. I tried it once and was so uncomfortable (and tempted to drink) that I had to leave. My AA sponsor thinks I should tell my co-workers the truth, but I’m afraid if I do, they might think poorly of me. Or worse, I might get fired. Any suggestions? – Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Dear Between: It is no one’s business that you are a recovering alcoholic. If you think your lack of socialization is a problem, consider telling your co-workers that you are a nondrinker and would love it if they could mix it up and go to a cafe or restaurant instead of the bar once in a while. You might also bring up this topic at your next AA meeting. Many of your fellow nondrinkers have lived through similar situations and may have some good suggestions.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.


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