Are Addicts Good Historians?

I have heard it said that justification, minimization and rationalization are tools that addicts and alcoholics use to keep themselves convinced that they can still use and not get in trouble. This is so true. During interviews I regularly hear these tools being used.

When addicts are ready to admit the truth those tools are not there. They own the problem and want to do everything that they can to be honest to get the help. Those negative tools are not heard in the speech of someone who honestly believes that they have a problem and wants to get well.

Justification example: “There are lots of other people in this organization that smoke dope too, not just me!”

Rationalization example: “I work hard, make good money why shouldn’t I be able to relax once in a while. What I do on my own time is my own business.”

Minimization Example: I know that they say I failed a breath test but that was because I was up late and had no breakfast. I need it to sleep once in a while so what the heck.  My reading was not high enough to fail a test for drunk driving. I could have driven my car and passed any test the police have!”

These are all signs of someone who does not want to stop but being caught is just an inconvenience for them that must be overcome.  A competent counselor can work with people that really want to stop and also help people see how bad the problem is but there are some addicts that will never stop no matter what is put before them.

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How to Recover

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This is a beautiful picture of how to get and stay sober.  You have to learn from others what to do in order to have a good garden.  Follow the one in front that knows the way to do it. There is nothing in the beginning and what is there has to be tilled up. You have never grown a garden before and it is hard to start as there is no momentum. Progress is so slow that sometimes you have to look at your neighbour’s farm to see what yours could look like if you put the work in. That gives encouragement and faith to keep going. The weather is not always fair either and it changes quite a bit. Some days you will be cold and wet and and you wonder how anything will ever grow.  Everything is flat and nothing is pretty. You need help to plow through and if you have to keep going a day at a time because  there is not going to be any produce to eat if you stop. Every step is built on the former and it is in order. You must till up then plant the seeds and nourish the seeds or you have nothing lasting.

If you don’t look after sobriety then the pests will come and destroy what you are building. You can decide to fall in love or find some other diversion but your garden will go to the dogs. It is constant work and sometimes you will want to quit because it is too hard and it looks like there is nothing growing at all or you can’t imagine waiting long enough for the little sprouts to turn into anything. You want everything to be grown today so you can eat the vegetables but reality is that sobriety does not work that way for anyone.

Even when the harvest comes and the produce is consumed there is always more work to do. You must repair the machinery and get supplies for the next season. Things break down and must be built up.  You have to get prepared in case something goes wrong and even then a bad storm could come and do allot of damage but because of the former work you will make it through.  Sobriety is like that.  If it was easy then everyone would be sober.

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What is Treatment for Addiction?

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What is treatment? Knowing an effective procedure to deal with substance abuse affecting the workplace is enough to know for a manager without having to understand the various types of treatment. It is helpful for managers and supervisors to be aware of the general categories of treatment but to find out and understand all of the treatment options is too much to ask and it is not necessary. What is necessary is that the worker gets appropriate help if needed.  This is the reason for the professional assessment procedure.

Some companies have sent their employees away for example on expensive 28 day programs but the employee continues to get into trouble. The manager may tell me that “they have already have had treatment.” Who recommended it, how did they know it was the right choice, was there follow up, did the employee accept the continuing recommendations from the treatment? These are some questions that could be asked about an employee who went for treatment. So there is more to treatment than being locked up for a month. That type of treatment is just a small part. What is important is what the employee does with the treatment afterwards. For that monitoring is required.

There are several categories of addiction treatment to be aware of if you are dealing with an employee that needs help. In-patient, out-patient, detoxification, aftercare and groups are the general categories.

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