How to Help a Co-worker if you Suspect they have a Substance Addiction?

Getting hired is only one aspect of being employed. Taking direction from a boss. Doing well at the job you are hired to do are other aspects. In many places of employment, part of a position is the camaraderie made with co-workers. But what happens when you suspect that a co-worker is abusing alcohol or other substances? Being caught between wanting to  help and remaining within the boundaries of professional working relationships with co-workers can be unsettling.

Recovery First, an American Addiction Centers treatment facility, offers help to those in need who are battling an alcohol use disorder or a substance abuse disorder. Located in Hollywood, Florida, the treatment center is just the type of welcoming setting for those who need to separate themselves from their home environment.

So what signs would you even look for to know that a colleague is suffering from substance abuse?

The signs:

  • Angry outbursts.
  • Defensiveness.
  • Shame and guilt.
  • Paranoia.
  • Anxiety.
  • Isolation/withdrawal.
  • Bloodshot/glassy eyes.
  • Watery eyes/runny nose.
  • Decreased job performance.
  • Tardiness/absenteeism.
  • Implausible excuses for behavior.

Not knowing when to say something or if you’re correct in your assumptions, may cause you to be hesitant to move forward and say anything. After all, you don’t want to cause a co-worker to lose their job or bring any unnecessary negative attention towards them if it’s not warranted if the assumptions aren’t true. Nor do you want to feel you’re interfering in a situation that goes beyond overstepping professional boundaries even if they are true.

So, how do you know when you’re enabling unhealthy behavior and a silent cry for help?

Potential enabling behaviors in the workplace:

  • Not reporting symptoms/behavior to your supervisor.
  • Promising not to say anything when you know the truth.
  • Clocking in for the impaired person to hide tardiness from supervisor.
  • Creating excuses for poor performance or unacceptable behavior.
  • Reassigning individual’s duties to others or doing them yourself.
  • Not holding person accountable to employment policy standards.

Recovery First Treatment Center is a solution to an individual struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. Not only do they offer multiple levels of care, such as medical detox, residential treatment, intensive rehabilitation,  intensive outpatient program, and a partial hospitalization program, but they even offer aftercare planning to help individuals remain on the path of long-term sobriety.

The therapies offered:

  • Pain management therapy. Individuals learn ways to better manage pain.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. Individuals learn to pinpoint and modify negative behaviors and thinking patterns.
  • Process group therapy. Individuals receive encouragement from peers/therapist, as well as discuss their everyday struggles.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy. Individuals learn new skills and how to apply them to the real world.

If you do have legitimate cause to believe that your co-worker needs help because they appear to be struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, review your company’s policy so that you take the steps that are in line with standard and expected protocols. At the end of the day, the goal is to save a life so that they can live a healthy and productive life in recovery. And Recovery First Treatment Center is a great place to start.

You aren't alone. You deserve to get help.
Recovery First is located in Hollywood, Florida, which is easily accessible from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Our small groups means you get more one-on-one support and make stronger connections with the community. Take the next step toward recovery: learn more about our addiction treatment programs near Florida's Atlantic coast or learn about how rehab is affordable for everyone.