One of the most vexing workplace issues is how to deal with the so-called problem drinker. Many months or years go by before an employer is forced to confront the issue, which typically manifests itself in poor work performance that is often shielded by well-intentioned co-workers. And when the crunch does come, the employer must take steps to accommodate the drinker because the received wisdom of the last 50 years in North America tells us that alcoholism is a disease. But is it?
British writer Andrew Barr says it isn’t. Furthermore, he says alcohol is far less addictive than caffeine, that alcoholics can be taught to drink responsibly, and that Alcoholics Anonymous-style abstinence programs are thoroughly wrongheaded. The disease-model of alcoholism has no basis in scientific fact and simply encourages many drinkers to play the role of a victim instead of admitting that they have a significant personality flaw. AA-type programs, which require total abstinence from booze, are more about brainwashing than medical treatment and lead to binge drinking for the majority who cannot stay the course, Barr says.