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Flying Drunk – How Alcohol Almost Destroyed an Airline Pilot and 93 Other People

Posted Nov 13 2009 10:02pm 1 Comment

If you were searching for proof that your drinking before or during work is not hurting anyone but yourself; the new book Flying Drunk by Joe Balzer is an eye opener to the dangers involved in drinking. As the Flight Engineer on a commercial airline flight, Mr. Balzer, along with the Pilot and Co-Pilot, was arrested for flying drunk with 91 passengers and crew aboard the aircraft that he was responsible for getting safely from Fargo to Minneapolis.

As we’ve discussed in a previous post about alternative alcohol treatments , alcoholism is a progressive disease that forces most people to hit bottom before they get help. For professionals, it’s important to realize that you are in the grasp of alcohol before the loss of your health, family alienation and or the loss of your job. In Mr. Balzer’s case, getting arrested for being intoxicated at the controls of a passenger jet was his bottom and it resulted in a federal prison sentence.

While most people may not directly put other lives in danger by succumbing to their cravings for alcohol; the risk to your career and the consequences can be the same. You could hurt yourself or another innocent person while driving to work or make mistakes that would jeopardize your career path.

Many in the financial and insurance industries could also make compliance related mistakes that, while sober, would not have occurred. The important thing to do is become aware of the warning signs of an alcoholic and have the courage to reach out for help. There are many confidential alcohol treatments available that don’t require in-patient care. Please get help today.

Comments (1)
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Thank you for mentioning Joe's book, Flying Drunk. Joe Balzer can relate to the recent news about 3 different pilots showing up to work while under the influence, because he already lived it - 20 years ago, when he was one of three Northwest pilots arrested, tried, and convicted for flying a commercial airliner while intoxicated. Today, Joe is a recovering alcoholic and pilot for American Airlines, and author of the new book Flying Drunk. His mission now is to educate people about the warning signs and dangers of alcoholism, and keeping airplane passengers safe. If you would like to learn more about Joe and his book Flying Drunk, please visit or
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