Enabling, the long road ahead.

So many people that I talk to have told me that they wished that they did not start down that road with an addict. Now they feel it is too late. One friend of mine buys cigarettes, alcohol and grass for his own 20 something son. He also pays his rent, high cell phone charges and hires lawyers to keep him out of jail. He also takes physical and mental abuse from this son he thinks he is helping. He is most times on edge wondering what the next crises will be. I foresee a very bad ending either for the son or my friend. Obscene and crazy you say? Ask yourself if you are doing anything to keep the addict from seeing their problems and try to see how it ended up this way. You see that you willingly let yourself be pulled along a path of bad help. Get some good information and learn how to get out of this trap before it hauls you in and sucks the life out of you like it is doing to my friend.

So, the term co-dependent is apt and accurate. It takes two (there may be many more) to form this sick relationship and it just gets worse and worse. When I question and expose it as bad help sometimes a bull’s eye on my head because I am upsetting strong systems and former beliefs by getting enablers to look at themselves. They don’t ever want to look at themselves because the sick addict has been the patient not them. “Don’t look at me!  I am the good one here! I am the victim, leave me alone!” Normal for a codependent, but yes, wrong if you want the addict to recover. The bad help has to go. They cannot bear that thought that they are perhaps part of the problem. Silly me for suggesting this.

Bosses, supervisors, society, parents, doctors, counsellors, spouses and children can all be sucked into this trap and I find my self fighting with this invisible monster which is helping to keep addicts the way they are. It is awful when it is seen for what it is and it is hard to rally against it without someone getting their feathers severely ruffled.

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How Do You Know if Your Employee is an Addict or Alcoholic

You don’t and you should not care either. If someone is working for you or you are managing them and they are doing a good job you have no reason to get into their business. On the other hand if someone is continually in the limelight for issues you may want to know if it is substance abuse related especially if there are signs. That could be dangerous and contrary to due diligence principles to ignore abuse of drugs or alcohol.

What are the signs? There are lots of them and you can look at this template on my web site or find your own. www.addictionconsulting.com  under the heading for supervisors.

The main thing is that you concern yourself with the safety aspect of substance abuse. There may be subtle signs that over time spell trouble for your organization and the employee.

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Action is the Magic Word


When I first see an employee for an assessment, I can’t tell from one meeting what the employee is going to do in the future. Some employees give the appearance of understanding that they need help but that can change when the meeting is over. Some talk a good talk but it is their action on the problem that tells me what they really think. I can’t predict the future but I can reasonably assume that if they have really caught on to some aspect of recovery that they look like they will continue this way. Sometimes they don’t. I look for action and some type of attitude change. I may ask during a follow up interview “What are you doing today that makes it reasonable for me to assume that you are not going back to your drug of choice?” I try to find out what is different this time. When I do ask this question I feel like I have heard every excuse that there is already until I hear new ones. I also listen to sincere promises from people based on what they are going to do in the future without having anything up to that point. Where is the action to go with that promise? There is the key to it.

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