Many people may want to know how to help a co-worker that may be an alcoholic. A large majority of America’s workforce is alcoholic. Recent studies show that 7% of Americans drank alcohol at least once during a workday. They usually drank at lunch. With that said, 15% of Americans have been affected by the effects of alcohol while at work. This means that these individuals either drank at or shortly before going to work. They may also have been hungover.
“1 in 5 workers who have been affected by the effects of alcohol while at work binge drink at least once a month. 11% of these individuals reported weekly use.”
Alcoholism in the workplace has a profound negative impact on work quality and productivity. Studies show that alcoholics will miss 34% more workdays than non-alcoholic workers. That’s a significant sum. Those who are nursing a hangover are more likely to call in sick last-minute and are more likely to produce poor quality work. They make more mistakes and may be less cooperative with other employees.
If you’ve noticed a coworker making a pattern of coming into work smelling of alcohol or acting as if he or she was drunk, it’s time to step in. If you don’t, their situation will only worsen and their addiction will spiral out of control. This article will look at the steps on how to help a co-worker that may be an alcoholic.
Recognize the Signs of Abuse and Addiction
First things first, just because you suspect that a coworker may be an alcoholic, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true. Before you approach your coworker, you must confirm any doubts that you have and have solid proof. To do this, you must educate yourself on the signs of alcohol abuse.
Some of the telltale signs to look for include:
- Unexplained or unauthorized absences from work. As mentioned before, alcoholics tend to have more sick days and tend to miss more work than non-alcoholic workers.
- Performance issues. This includes missed deadlines, faulty analysis, unmet production quotas, careless or sloppy work, and more.
- Relationship issues. Alcoholics can easily become argumentative, short-tempered and belligerent. They may start to have strained relationships with other co-workers.
- Behavioral signs. Can you smell alcohol on your coworker? Or, maybe he or she has a staggering and unsteady gait or bloodshot eyes.
It’s important to note that just because someone shows one of these signs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is an alcoholic. Pay closer attention to your friend to see if you can get any solid proof.
Figure Out What Resources Are Available
Once you’ve confirmed that your coworker is an alcoholic and needs support, you should consider the type of resources that are available to them. Your human resources (HR) department may have more information regarding this matter. They may even have policies in place to help these individuals.
In general, you can take a look into the following two types of programs: Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and Human Resources Programs.
EAPs can help employees sort out a wide range of problems. They offer short-term counseling services, and can even refer employees to the right alcohol addiction treatment program. EAPs offer confidential services. You should speak with an EAP consultant or get more idea of the type of programs that your company’s EAP can offer.
You should also look into the programs that your company may have put in place. If you are a supervisor to the coworker, confronting the individual about getting help may be your responsibility. In this case, you’ll want to sit down with an HR rep to make sure that you’re approaching the situation in the right way.
A good thing to do may be to look for drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs that are in the area. Amethyst Recovery offers a wide range of services for those who need it.
Learn More About Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment Programs
While looking at the substance abuse treatment program options that are available, you’ll likely run across two terms: inpatient and outpatient care. The level of care that the client receives is particularly important if they are employed.
Those who need an intense level of supervision and care will benefit from inpatient care. With this type of program, clients will move into the addiction treatment facility for the entire duration of their treatment. This means that they will have to take an extended leave of absence. They will need to spend their time focusing on recovery and not on work.
Those who opt for outpatient care will only need to travel to the rehab center whenever they need treatment. Due to this reason, they can usually schedule their treatment around their busy lives. Those who opt for outpatient care are usually able to continue to go to work. They may, however, need to take on a smaller workload.
Speak with the Coworker
The next step is to speak with the coworker and to have an intervention. This part is the trickiest and — often times — the most emotional. Addiction is a sensitive issue, and you must be sure that you are discussing it in an appropriate way. Staging a successful intervention is not easy, and you might want to hire an intervention specialist to help you get your point across.
There are many different ways to stage an intervention. Most people will usually rely on the 5 most popular intervention methods. Regardless of how you approach the situation, all interventions have one objective in mind. They are designed to get a message across to the alcoholic in a kind and sensitive manner. The alcohol abuser should not feel attacked.
At the intervention, try to encourage your coworker to get help. Let him or her know that you have noticed changes in his or her behavior and personality. Tell the individual how concerned you are about his or her health. This is also a good time to lay out the different treatment options that are available.
Considerations for After Treatment
Once your coworker has completed an addiction treatment program and is ready to return to work, it’s usually a good idea to have a back-to-work conference. This conference is usually attended by the employee, a supervisor, an addiction expert, HR personnel and an EAP counselor.
If you are the supervisor, make sure that you schedule this conference in advance. You might want to go through some main talking points with other people who will be at the conference.
The back-to-work conference will usually discuss the coworker’s progress with recovery and what he or she may have experienced while in rehab. This is also a good time to see whether any changes need to be made. For example, some workers may need closer supervision while others may need to lay off traveling for some time, as it is too stressful for them.
It’s also important to discuss a coworker’s followup care at this time. Ask them whether they need any additional support and what the company can do for them. It’s also important to ask the employee about whether he or she is getting additional support from a 12-step support group or from a mutual support group.
Amethyst Recovery Can Help
Does your coworker need some help to overcome alcoholism? Refer him or her to Amethyst Recovery, and we can assist him or her return to sobriety. We offer a wide range of addiction treatment programs, from inpatient programs to outpatient ones. Our addiction experts will assess and analyze the condition of each patient to determine the type of care that he or she needs.
We offer a private environment for alcoholics to recover. Our treatment facilities are state-of-the-art, pristine, clean, comfortable and inviting.
If you have any questions or concerns, leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.