As we head back to the office, Happy Hour shouldn’t be part of work culture

My mother died of alcohol-related causes when I was 18.

Throughout high school, I resented alcohol and focused on sports. I didn’t have my first sip until I turned 20.

My drinking escalated when I started to work. Drinking after work was viewed as the norm. And, I wanted to be seen as normal, especially as I was starting my career.

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Even though there wasn’t pressure to drink at after-hour events, everyone was doing it. Skipping out felt like a disservice to my career. My attendance showed a commitment to the company and allowed me to build a rapport with my peers and managers . I didn’t want anyone thinking I was odd or difficult by being the only one not drinking.

Work happy hours eventually triggered relapses and a downward spiral of addictive behavior that bled into my personal life. The relapses turned into DUIs. After my third arrest, I became a felon and when you’re a felon, it’s hard to build a career.

Alcohol just didn’t take my career. It almost took my life. The only reason I didn’t end up a statistic is because of the treatment I received and the current job I have in the recovery field. I don’t have to worry about trading my sobriety to climb the corporate ladder. My employer cares about my well-being, and everyone’s companies should too.

More than a third of Americans don’t drink. Maybe they just don’t like the taste or it’s for religious reasons. But, for many of us, it’s actually a life-or-death decision.

Now that people are heading back to the office, it’s a great time to redefine company cultures. You don’t have to put a dramatic end to work happy hours if you never bring them back in the first place.

Mike Beese, Chicago

Too many Republicans detached from reality

SE Cupp noted in her column last week that ” … evangelicals also disproportionately took up dangerous conspiracy theories that threaten our democracy.” She wrote that 74% of white evangelicals believe that Donald Trump’s Big Lie is “mostly or completely accurate,” but “only 54% of non-evangelical Republicans do.” Only 54%?!?

So, more than half of non-evangelical Republicans actually believe Trump won in 2020? Is that supposed to be better news?

Similarly, 67% of evangelicals believe the “Deep State” tried to undermine the Trump administration, versus 52% of non-evangelical Republicans.

Finally, “fully 60% of evangelical Republicans believe ‘antifa’ was mostly responsible” for the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, compared with 42% of non-evangelical Republicans.

Like Cupp, I find it extremely unsettling that so many Republican evangelicals hold beliefs so out of touch with reality. Since many of these people are considered “extreme,” it is not that surprising, especially since Trump has been encouraging such beliefs, with great success.

But I also find it extremely unsettling that a significant proportion of the supposedly “non-extreme” non-evangelical Republicans also hold beliefs that are simply not true and have no basis in reality. These people are all a threat to our democracy.

Bob Chimis, Elmwood Park

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