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How Do I Stop Drinking When I Work in Food Service?

If you work in the food service industry, it may seem like alcohol is everywhere. In many cases alcohol is, in fact, all around you when you are at work. Whether you are a server, a restaurant manager, a hotel employee or a bartender, you probably handle alcohol at some point during your work day. Unfortunately many people who work in the food service industry begin unhealthy habits of smoking, drinking or even experimenting with drugs. Alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse are particularly problematic in the hospitality industry. If you are having problems with alcohol, it may be time to seek help. It is important to learn how to avoid temptation in your line of work.

Why Is Alcohol Such a Problem in the Food Service and Hospitality Industry?

The United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ( notes that food service organizations struggle with one of the highest substance abuse problems compared to other industries. Drug and alcohol use tend to happen more frequently in the hospitality industry and can result in job loss, absenteeism and greater problems for both companies and families. Some common factors that can contribute to substance use in the industry include the following:

  • The hours worked
  • The availability of alcohol
  • The drinking culture that is present among hard-working hospitality employees
  • The stress of the job
  • The variations in pay and “down times” in the industry
  • Personal reasons including family problems, mental health struggles, trauma and history of substance use

Treatment for Bartender’s Alcoholism

The bartender and many members of any company wait staff have constant access to alcohol. Bartending is a stressful job, and bartenders are often surrounded by drunk or disrespectful people every day. Bartenders hear many problems, yet they must work quickly and always keep smiling. Bartender and server pay can vary from night to night, and vacations are usually few and far between. It may be tempting to have a drink or two, but this may lead to problems with alcoholism that can ultimately destroy your life. The following are a few things you can do to steer clear of alcohol on the job:

  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of alcoholism. Call our helpline, and speak with a recovery counselor who has heard almost every alcoholism story and scenario possible. Our recovery counselors can help you know if your drinking is normal and even provide you with a brief evaluation over the phone
  • If drinking is a problem, avoid spending time at work after the bar is closed. Consider finding new ways to take a break or associating with other employees who do not drink
  • If you feel overly tempted, try to avoid spending time alone or unwatched around the alcohol
  • Seek support through groups like alcoholics anonymous. Call us to find a support group near you
  • Don’t spend time with drinkers on your day off. Take a break from temptation
  • Consider exploring a different career. Many reputable rehab programs can help you explore career options during treatment
  • Seek support and help

Get Help to Stop Drinking Now

If you or a hospitality industry employee you know is struggling with alcohol or drug use, you can call our helpline for confidential support. All calls are free, and we can help you and your loved ones find a better future through quality treatment programs. We are here 24 hours a day, so please call now and speak with a real person who understands what you are going through.