Case Study : Alcohol Dependency

Case Study : Alcohol Dependency


The employee was referred to the Employee Wellness Programme by his manager after he tested positive for alcohol use at work. The referrer explained to the employee that the referral was not punitive, but rather a supportive measure to ensure that he receives the necessary support and guidance.


During the initial telephonic contact with the employee, he indicated that he had recently been drinking excessively as he was struggling to come to terms with the loss of his brother. The death of his brother was sudden and unexpected and left him feeling angry, helpless and hopeless. The employee was employed in a safety sensitive position and could pose a serious risk to the organisation should he attend to tasks while under the influence of alcohol. He was referred for face-to-face counselling and attended eight sessions with a registered professional. The therapeutic intervention focused on assisting the employee with the grieving process and providing him with strategies for dealing with alcohol.


Throughout the counselling sessions it was clear that the employee was motivated to stop using alcohol. Upon case closure, he had stopped drinking and was functioning optimally in both his personal and work domains.

Employee’s feedback

A counsellor called me and I must admit, I was quite rude but I couldn’t tell her that I do not want to go for counselling because I was concerned that I might lose my job or that they would share personal details with my manager. During the call the counsellor informed me that personal information will not be shared in the feedback report.

I felt a bit of the tension dissipate. We agreed that I would go for the first session and then I would make a decision on further sessions. That first face-to-face session was uncomfortable! He asked many questions and I wasn’t sure if it would be okay to be honest, but I was being truthful when I said that I didn’t have an alcohol problem, or so I thought. I explained to the counsellor that my brother recently died and that this had come as a great shock to me.

The second session was easier; for the first time I was able to tell someone how hurt and angry I was about my brother’s death and yes, that the alcohol took my mind off things. I attended eight sessions in the end and with each session I felt more motivated to stop drinking and be a better husband and father. My work performance has also improved as I can actually think clearly. Today, I can proudly say that I am sober and very motivated to stay that way.


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