At one time, in the not so distant past, it was considered reasonable and ok to hide someone’s symptoms of addiction no matter how bad it got. Co-workers and managers – they all did it! The problem is that the actual issue never got solved and that addiction just gets worse over time. Hiding someone’s symptoms hurts them and the whole company not to mention it is a very unsafe thing to do that creates liability. The addict never gets to see the mess that they are making and in order to recover they have to see their mess. If someone with a problem can be treated ethically then why would you want to hide their symptoms? To keep the workplace safe, addiction is one of those things that must be tackled.

Addiction in the Workplace

Ways to help individuals who experience problems is continually evolving and hopefully advancing. The help evolves because we as a society learn from our mistakes and our successes. We try to repeat our successes and minimize the mistakes. For example, as seen from popular television programs, interventions with addicts are becoming a common practice because they have a chance of helping a sick individual on drugs or alcohol. The intervention is supposed to break through the addict’s defense for enough time so that they see how pathetic they actually are and know that they do need help. Once they see this reality they can go into treatment and change. The way that interventions are carried out are evolving and being modified but the core dynamic is still the same. A break in the walls of denial for the addict, reality appears, and this jolts them into hopefully making a decision to change. Action comes out of that decision.

Every recovered person that I have ever seen or made contact with has changed, not because things were going good, but because things were getting bad. Something had to happen to them that pushed them into making a decision. I don’t believe that I have ever heard of anybody in my 30 plus years around the addiction recovery world who had a serious problem with alcohol or drugs that just decided to change for the heck of it. It does not happen that way.

The ability to work and make an income is very important to an addict. (Most addicts are working and are all around you) The workplace, if managed correctly, can have a tremendous influence upon a person with a drinking or drug problem.  Some companies set firm boundaries in their workplace around alcohol and drug usage because of the threat to safety. At the same time, built into the procedure was a method to treat people with problems ethically so that there is also have a way out and they addict is forced to look at themselves and reality is given a chance to sink in. They are basically given a chance to make a decision to change. The workplace can be a very effective place to help addicts.

This workplace is also where the addict can be detected and dealt with before other areas in our society become involved like the health or legal system. If the workplace has a practical procedure for dealing with substance abuse then they are in a position to help. I have seen many people recover because their workplace was using a system to help them. Employees that are involved in this procedure hear the message that something must change and from this simple cornerstone movement begins.


Addiction breeds a certain type of people called enablers. Enablers prevent the addict from seeing their problems so something has to change for the addict to get better. Enablers are created slowy and over time becasue of manipulation of the addict. If you are an enabler that wants to change then ask yourself what your responsibility is here in this situaiton. I believe that this is the key to helping someone with an addiction and the key to changing one’s own behaviour. Take your responsibility and give back what is not yours. You can’t change someone else but you can change yourself. It is not impossible but it is a process and you may need support. You may have a habit of acting and thinking in a certain way but it is just a habit that can be changed. You learn to replace ineffective actions with another behaviour. Information on this site can help you wether it is in the workplace or in your own home.