An employee who is using drugs at work is a risky situation for any company. A failure of attention, even if it’s just for a minute, can create serious outcomes such as:
- Personal injuries
- Property damage
- Lowered productivity
Top 5 Signs a Coworker is Committing Substance Abuse in the Workplace
1. Changes in Behavior
A previously friendly and outgoing coworker may start to be isolated and less likely to engage with coworkers.
2. Long and Frequent Trips to the Restroom (or other unusual absences)
Individuals with an addiction will often seek out private places to inject drugs, sleep off the effects, or pass out. Bathrooms or broom closets or other private rooms that can be locked are places addicts will look for. The coworker might also be experiencing nausea, vomiting, or other side effects which could make going to the restroom more frequent.
3. Poor Hygiene and General Appearance
An individual with an addiction becomes more focused on obtaining, using, and recovering from side effects as time goes on. As a result, that person’s personal habits may decline and he or she may appear unhealthy. That person may come to work wearing unwashed clothes and not keep up with good grooming practices.
4. Repeatedly Making Mistakes
Addicted coworkers will make mistakes, whether they are actively using substances at the time or performing their job poorly because of lack of sleep or physical and mental stress. While not all of the mistakes may be major or serious, a series of small mistakes could indicate drug or alcohol abuse. It’s important to be aware of if these mistakes coincide with other signs of using substances as they could easily be overlooked and just seen as job stress.
5. Witnessed the Substance Abuse
Obviously, if you have witnessed your coworker using drugs or alcohol on the job, it is time to talk to a member of the Human Resources department or report it to your supervisor. If you are the supervisor, there are probably company rules governing how to handle such an incident.
What Can You Do?
Alcohol or drug use at work is a serious breach that should be handled quickly. But if you think that an employee or fellow coworker is using substances on the job, you need to approach the situation carefully.
It’s essential to follow your company’s codes of conduct relating to drug use to make sure that the appropriate action can be taken. Here are some steps you can take before reporting drug use at work:
Document Suspicious Activities
You will want to carefully document any suspicious actions if you suspect a coworker of using drugs at work. Unpredictable behavior, inappropriate comments, or failing to meet job standards and responsibilities should be written down with a date and time. This information will be useful if the time comes when you file a report.
Talk to the Human Resources Department
Your company’s H.R. department has special training and rules on how to take action when a worker is suspected of using drugs at work. Instead of going straight to your boss or a supervisor, you should start by talking to an H.R. department member. Your human resources department will be able to advise you on the correct steps for reporting suspected drug use.
Can You Ask an Employee if He or She Has a Drug Problem?
Before offering a job to someone, an employer may ask the applicant whether he or she is using substances, or has used illegal drugs or alcohol in the past–as long as the questions aren’t likely to bring out information about past drug addiction. This is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Similarly, before making the employment offer, an employer may not ask about the frequency or amount of drugs the individual has used in the past or whether that person has taken part in a drug rehab program. This information is liable to reveal a drug addiction.
However, after extending a job offer, an employer may ask about the degree of the applicant’s past drug and alcohol use as long as it is:
- compatible with business necessity
- would affect the individual’s ability to perform the essential duties of his or her job
If you are a supervisor, you will work with the Human Resources department or another higher management level to watch the individual and take further actions if needed. Still, there are some general guidelines you can follow to handle probable employee substance abuse.
When You First Learn About the Substance Use at Work
When you first learn about the suspected substance use or of the employee’s impairment at work, you should:
- Take the necessary actions to remove the employee from any safety-intensive work and gather evidence
- Send the employee for a drug or alcohol test if it is permitted by state laws and employer policies
- Don’t depend on hearsay or secondhand reports. Get your evidence from people or supervisors who have witnessed the behavior firsthand. Keep in mind the signs mentioned previously.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects certain people with disabilities and requires reasonable accommodation of protected employees. Furthermore, the ADA:
- protects employees who complete treatment for drug or alcohol abuse
- protects employees who have current alcohol dependency problems, whether they completed treatment programs or not
- doesn’t protect current users of illegal drugs
- protects an employee using legal drugs (such as pain medications) who develops an addiction
Employers need to be careful when dealing with employees with substance use disorder (SUD) issues. This is especially true if the disorder has an effect on the workplace such as job performance, behavior, or attendance. In those cases, the employee may be held to the same standards as any other employee.
Company policies relating to substance use are subject to the ADA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations in addition to any state workplace drug testing and any other laws that are relevant.
Can You Get Fired for Having a SUD?
Although the ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, it does not include someone who is currently using illegal drugs as an individual with a disability. Under the ADA, an employee can be terminated if he or she is using drugs or alcohol on the job if the substance use:
- Affects performance or productivity
- Creates an unsafe job environment
However, if your employer discovers that you are going to substance abuse treatment, you can not be fired for taking time off to enter treatment. Under the ADA, chemical dependency is a disability. The law doesn’t consider past mistakes. If you voluntarily enter addiction treatment, you can’t be fired for going to treatment or for past mistakes that resulted from drug and alcohol use.
What are the Effects of Substance Use at Work?
- threaten public safety
- hinder job performance
- threaten the employee’s own safety
- Are much less productive
- Take three times as many sick days off
- Are more likely to cause injury to themselves or someone else
- File five times as many worker’s compensation claims
And the results of one survey showed that:
- 9% of heavy drinkers were absent due to a hangover
- 10% of drug users had missed work because of a hangover or the effects of drug use
- 6% had worked while they were still drunk or high in the past year
- 11% of heavy drinkers missed work in the past month
- 18% of drug users also missed work in the past month
Economic Impacts of Substance Abuse in the Workplace
The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) has estimated that the loss to American companies because of drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace is about $100 billion per year. The associated cost of redirecting company resources to substance abuse issues that could have been used for other things is not even included in that number. Likewise, it also doesn’t include the elements of “pain and suffering” that can’t be measured by money.
Drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace is a huge expense for employers in this country. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. (NCADD) has determined that the cost of drug use is $81 billion each year.
In an attempt to only hire people who are sober, and to discourage the use of drugs at work, employers spend a lot of money on pre-employment drug testing. However, in spite of the testing by employers, NCADD estimates that 70% of the approximately 14.8 million Americans who abuse substances are employed.
The U.S. Department of Labor has stated that when the problem of substance use in the workplace is challenged by creating all-inclusive programs, it is a win-win situation for employees and employers. A study of the economic impact of treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) in Ohio revealed significant improvements in job-related performance as seen in:
- 91% fewer absences
- 88% fewer issues with supervisors
- 93% decrease in mistakes
- 97% decrease in on-the-job injuries
All companies, large or small, can enforce a workplace substance abuse policy that can reduce loss of productivity and encourage a safer work environment for all employees.
Do You Need Treatment?
Are you struggling with a substance use disorder? Are you having problems getting through the day or night at work? Don’t put your job and, more importantly, your life, in jeopardy. Florida Center for Recovery understands the life-changing and life-threatening effects of substance addiction. That’s why we have a variety of substance abuse programs for different types of addictions and programs for different people such as a program for pregnant women, or for First Responders.
Don’t wait for an ultimatum. You can turn this around and live a fulfilling life again. If you’re concerned about how this may affect your employment, talk to one of our admission specialists. We can help you with contacting your insurance company, verifying and negotiating coverage, and take care of the paperwork. Contact us today and we will take care of the rest.
The most complicated relationships in life can be with those we actually choose. The people that form our romances and with whom we live with and marry. These people are unlike family members or friends with whom you may have an emotionally committed relationship with but don’t select for their romantic compatibility. These partnerships require more work from both partners, not just on a day-to-day basis but also throughout different stages of your significant other’s lives.
Addiction or substance abuse can be one such factor that affects a long-term romantic relationship dramatically. Can a marriage survive drug addiction? It is possible for a relationship to survive addiction; however, it is not an easy feat.
How Addiction Affects a Relationship
Anyone that has had a loved one affected by addiction can tell you that the addiction was extremely destructive to his or her relationship. The pain of addiction affects all individuals that are associated with the individual suffering from a substance use disorder. Many people think of addiction as only affecting the individual suffering from addiction, but the destruction is much more widespread.
When someone you love is suffering from a substance use disorder, it can be difficult to remember the person that he or she was prior to the addiction. The disease of addiction can ultimately change many people’s behaviors and character traits. It can also lead to numerous problems that you will both ultimately end up having to face.
In many cases, addiction does not occur immediately. It may take years for the problem to develop.
Addiction in Marriage
- Could have been an issue that was hidden for some time
- Might have appeared to be harmless or normal at the beginning
- Can develop after being together for several years
- Could also develop after a short period of time
- Might be something you refused to acknowledge as an issue
- Completely unknown at the beginning
The pursuit of drugs and alcohol can come before anything in a marriage, including the partner and children. It doesn’t matter what they choose to abuse – alcohol or illicit substances like heroin – it will always take priority over other commitments such as family life.
A person with an addiction disorder is compelled to use any number of things regardless of their feelings because the disease of addiction tells them something is missing. The addict cannot live without his or her substance of choice, so no talking could convince him not to drink again. This causes many problems within the relationship and family life.
Common Problems When a Marriage Faces Drug Addiction
- Job loss or income loss
- Absent from normal family or social functions
- Decreased interest in the relationship
- Withdrawing from regular hobbies or activities
- Increased confrontations and arguments
- Lack of trust between the family
Because of the difficulty that comes with facing a partner’s addiction, many relationships that do so do not survive. Understandably, being the wife of a drug addict can feel shameful, and ultimately, it’s easiest just to leave. However, if you’re determined to have your marriage survive drug addiction, there are steps you can take to help improve your current situation. But your partner will need to be willing to try to overcome the addiction and find treatment.
How Can a Marriage Survive Drug Addiction?
When addiction takes over a marriage, you may hardly recognize the person that used to be there for your every need. Perhaps they were once supportive and loving; now, their mood keeps everyone walking on eggshells.
Someone suffering from addiction may ultimately sacrifice anything in order to satisfy a drug or alcohol craving. If you are currently in a marriage to someone suffering from addiction, it’s important to consider the following items regardless of whether you plan on staying in the relationship or not.
Take Care of Yourself and Your Family First
Start by making sure that you are taking care of yourself and your family first and foremost. When was the last time you took care of yourself? You might be surprised to find out how much better your life can be when we remember what matters most.
Did someone say “massage,” and then you think, “I could never afford that”?
Maybe it’s been too long since you and your kids went out to eat? Do something for yourself! There is nothing wrong or selfish about loving yourself and your family. Selflessness leads us into a more fulfilling future.
Do Your Research on Addiction
Addiction is a disease, and the more you know about that disease, the better-equipped your family will be to effectively guard against pain.
It’s important for families of addicts to fully understand what it means when someone contracts this terrible illness. They can then learn to stop blaming their loved ones or themselves for any alleged moral weakness which led them to addiction. It might be painful at first to acknowledge the problem, but it’s important to put that in the past.
Instead, focus on strategies like forgiveness. Research has shown time after time that forgiveness not only helps heal broken relationships but also prevents further damage.
Depression and anxiety stem solely from negative thinking. Finding a way to move forward with hope and forgiveness will ultimately help heal your relationship with your loved one suffering from addiction.
Acknowledge that the Problem Exists and Avoid Denial
It is a shame that addiction has such a harmful effect on loved ones, especially as it can lead them into incredibly painful downward spirals. For this reason, many family members and friends tend to turn their heads when they see what’s happening with their loved ones.
Sometimes pretending there isn’t actually anything wrong just seems easier than going through all of the trouble of fixing things or perusing recovery themselves. This will ultimately make you more miserable in both cases.
So, can a marriage can survive drug addiction? Yes, but not by ignoring the existence and magnitude of the problem. You will not be doing any favors to yourself, your family, or your addicted spouse by downplaying or avoiding the problem altogether. It’s important that the family as a whole acknowledges the problem that is addiction and faces it as a team moving forward.
Stop Any Enabling Behavior
Spouses who enable their partners may tell themselves that they are helping or protecting them from addiction. However, by enabling the behavior that is abusing drugs, it becomes easier for a person to continue on with those abusive and harmful practices.
As long as you’re enabling your spouse’s drug use habits, then your spouse will not stop drinking or using drugs even if he or she has considered quitting. A person’s actions have consequences, and doing something out of misplaced responsibility can be detrimental to that person learning his or her lessons. Stopping enabling behavior reinforces the need for treatment because there would no longer be anything supporting the destructive behavior that is substance abuse.
Common examples of behavior that enables drug addiction include:
- Lying to law enforcement officials regarding a drug addict’s whereabouts
- Making excuses to friends or family regarding a drug addict’s behavior
- Calling into a drug addict’s job or school with reasons for absences
- Giving drug addicts money to purchase drugs or alcohol
- Continuing to provide drug addicts with the resources in order for them to abuse drugs or alcohol
Find a Support Group
Finding support as the significant other of a person who is suffering from drug addiction can be tough, but you are not alone in this fight. There are many people who understand what your life looks like now because of addiction. There are opportunities for help for the whole family!
The Nar-Anon or Al-Anon groups provide support to families like yours by giving them the opportunity to heal together. Such support groups can also provide guidance to people dealing with an addict’s behavior. These types of support groups can even help you and your family understand the disease of addiction better.
While gaining such education and support, people that attend addiction support groups get the opportunity to hear from other individuals in similar situations. Hearing such stories can help people in families and relationships with addiction like yourself remember that they are not alone in their battles.
Professional psychotherapy can also help people in marriages with a person that suffers from substance addiction. Psychotherapy is an especially helpful coping tool for people that are ashamed of their romantic relationship due to it involving substance abuse.
Individual therapy is a private counseling session that gives patients the opportunity to be honest about their emotions. A therapist can help individuals stay on track and maintain focus on what’s important.
Can a marriage survive drug addiction? Yes, as long as it has the right tools to move forward.
Recognize Codependent Behaviors
The longer a man or woman lives with a spouse who suffers from substance addiction, the more the addiction will affect that man or woman and his or her family. This is because addiction affects the entire family. Thus, the more amount of time spent dealing with the actions associated with addiction, the more it will alter behaviors and the character of your family as a whole.
Unhealthy emotions about a spouse who suffers from substance addiction can come up like panic attacks. For example, spouses of people that suffer from substance addiction may constantly ask themselves questions like, “Why is my spouse staying out so late without calling?” Such questions can cause spouses of people with substance addictions to display obsessive behaviors.
When you find yourself constantly stressing out about someone else’s everyday actions, even if that someone is your spouse, it’s a sign that the relationship is unhealthy. In fact, stressing about the daily actions of someone that you are in a relationship with more than yourself is a sign of codependency.
If you find yourself or any other members of your family demonstrating such codependent behaviors, you should work to change them. Learn about codependency and how you can make gradual changes to stop exhibiting such toxic behaviors.
Find Treatment or Resources on Addiction Treatment
One of the ultimate goals of a spouse of a person with substance addiction is to get that person’s husband or wife into treatment. This goal will be difficult to achieve though without support.
Even if you have the best intentions and your spouse agrees that he or she needs help, a drug or alcohol addict’s whims are capricious at best. So don’t wait too long after your spouse agrees to receive addiction treatment to start taking action.
Finding the right addiction treatment program can take some time. Start researching programs as early as you can to see what fit’s your addicted spouse’s needs when it comes to addiction treatment and recovery.
What should a person expect when he or she goes into treatment? Also, what should a person bring to rehab? You’ll want to prepare with all the common questions and answers regarding addiction treatment programs so you can support your spouse in his or her addiction recovery journey.
Coordinate and Intervention
To stage an intervention for a spouse with a substance addiction, get together with other people close to him or her like friends, family members, and perhaps even coworkers. Together lovingly but firmly confront your spouse about his or her addiction. Each person that participates in a substance addiction intervention needs to let the person with the addiction know how his or her addictive behaviors are affecting everyone else’s lives.
The goal of an intervention isn’t to be vindictive or to punish a person for his or her addictive behaviors. It’s simply so that people with substance addictions can understand on a personal level how their addictions are affecting them and those around them.
Interventions are great times to let spouses with substance addictions know that their substance abuse will no longer be tolerated. This is also the time to tell individuals with substance addictions that they need help. Thus, explain that treatment is a person’s only alternative in life as the people surrounding that person will no longer allow substance abuse to continue.
Set boundaries regarding a spouse’s substance abuse if he or she refuses to get treatment. Such boundaries can include:
- Ending the relationship/getting a divorce
- No longer providing financial support
- Suspending visitation of children
- Forcing that person to leave the shared residence
Don’t give up if your spouse refuses treatment. Remember to enforce the boundaries that have been put in place before leaving.
In many instances, an individual doesn’t believe that his or her actions will not be tolerated. Once a person who believes this starts to feel the consequences of his or her actions though, that person will ultimately ask for help.
Be Supportive of Positive Changes
Your spouse may be going through intensive treatment, but that doesn’t mean you should stop supporting him or her. You could take care of yourself and your family by giving your addicted spouse something to look forward to when coming back home.
Being positive and continuously providing your addicted spouse with support throughout his or her addiction treatment and recovery journey can provide him or her with the motivation for change. IN the long run, such positive and supportive behavior will even help you begin to be able to focus on yourself without distractions.
Your participation in your spouse’s addiction treatment journey is crucial as a spouse. Thus, continue to remind your spouse of the value of his or her sobriety and how his or her family is cheering your spouse on.
It’s difficult to make such a large change and focus on rehabilitation. By reminding your spouse of what is important though, you will help keep him or her on the right path.
Develop a Relapse Response Plan
Relapse can happen to any person. Thus, it’s good to have a plan in place if it occurs. Make sure you and your spouse are both clear on that plan.
First things first, relapse response plans should involve the spouse going back to treatment.
Also, make sure that you are protecting your family by providing it with the following:
- An alternative safe space away from the relapse
- Money set aside in a bank account that the spouse suffering from addiction cannot access
- A list of loved ones or sponsors that can assist the spouse within a family that suffers from substance addiction
- A safeguard for assets that can’t be sold or leveraged against
Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Remember that relapse is common. Thus, hopefully, if a relapse does occur, the behavior is quickly acknowledged, and your spouse gets help right away due to your relapse response plan. If that is not what happens though, you need to be prepared to make the best decisions for your family.
Does Your Marriage Need Professional Help to Survive Drug Addiction?
So, can a marriage survive drug addiction? Well, finding the right addiction treatment program for your spouse can feel overwhelming. As difficult as it may be to suffer from addiction, being the spouse of a person that suffers from substance addiction and is left with all the responsibility at home is equally as stressful.
If you are the spouse of a person that’s in recovery from substance addiction, you are not alone. There are plenty of treatment and post-treatment options that can help you and your family to recover from substance addiction as well.
Florida Center for Recovery (FCR) offers family therapy during addiction treatment to help heal people from the trauma of addiction. Our team of addiction treatment specialists here at FCR understands the fragile nature of addiction. Thus, your family is in good hands with our team. Contact us here at FCR today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs.
When someone who is suffering from alcohol abuse starts to contemplate recovery, they are oftentimes worried or even scared. They might be worried about entering into treatment and leaving their life behind for a certain period or they might be scared at the prospect that they won’t be allowed to drink anymore. Sometimes their fear of getting clean and sober outweighs the benefits of doing so and they decide not to get help.
If you are someone who is contemplating alcohol abuse recovery, instead of thinking about all the things you can’t do anymore focus on some of the positives of getting clean and sober. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you might enjoy about living a clean and sober life.
No More Hangovers
As much fun as you might have drinking, the consequences of it are usually not very much fun. A prime example of that is the next day’s hangover. Chances are, if you have drunk at all in your life, you have experienced the next day hangover. The pounding headache, the dehydration, and the nausea are the price you pay the next day for your drinking the day or night before, and let’s face it, who wants to deal with that. One of the great things about not drinking anymore is you don’t have to deal with those awful hangovers.
You Don’t Have To Try and Remember What Happened Anymore
In addition to dealing with a hangover the next day, chances are you probably have to mentally retrace your steps or try and remember what happened the day before, especially if you are regularly getting blackout drunk. For those that are regular heavy drinkers, you know the feeling all too well of waking up the next day and wondering what happened the day before or where your keys, phone, wallet, purse, etc went. Having to call around to find out where you went and then call those places to see if they have your lost items is no fun and sometimes you never even find them. When you are sober you don’t have to worry about making those next-day calls because you didn’t go out drinking the night before and can remember everything you did.
No More Shame Or Regret
When you can’t remember what you did the day before when you were drinking, you don’t know if you did something that you might have to apologize for. Or, even worse, you wake up and realize you did or said something terrible the day before. This can lead to feelings of shame and regret.
Even if you didn’t do something that you might have to apologize for, you might regret your drinking when you wake up with that hangover or you might feel shame because you went out drinking instead of doing something else that you were supposed to do. Getting clean and sober means no longer having to apologize the next day for something you did the day before when you were drunk. It also means no longer having to worry about what you might have done or said or feeling regret for putting your drinking above other more important things.
You Will Have More Money
Drinking can be an expensive habit, even for those who aren’t suffering from addiction. For those who are addicted to alcohol and need a lot of it, it can be a significant financial drain. Even if you are someone with the means to be able to afford to buy as much alcohol as you want and it does not affect you financially, think about all the things that you could be doing with that money instead.
Imagine if you were clean and sober and no longer needed to buy alcohol. If you are someone who is struggling financially due to your alcohol consumption, getting sober might just be the thing you need to get out from under those financial constraints and be able to afford things that you need. The items that you couldn’t afford while you were drinking are items like rent, food, clothes, etc.
You Will Be Able To Look At Yourself In The Mirror Again
When you first start drinking, everything might seem fine. It might start with just going out after work with some friends and having some drinks to blow off steam. However, as the abuse gets worse and worse, it can get to the point where you look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person looking back at you.
This can be a scary thing to have to happen and might even be the final straw that gets you to go to treatment. When you stop drinking, you can wake up every day and look at yourself in the mirror and be happy and proud of the person looking back at you. Being sober allows you to rediscover who you are as a person and take back control of your life.
Are You Interested in Alcohol Abuse Recovery?
Making that decision to get clean and sober and finally admitting that you have a problem is not an easy one. It can also lead to feelings of fear and anxiety and you might also have a lot of questions. The good news is, you don’t have to go through any of it alone.
At Florida Center for Recovery, it is our goal to make the entire recovery process as easy on you as possible. We will sit down with you and answer any questions you may have and create a treatment plan custom-made for you and your needs. After all, it is our goal that everyone that leaves our facility goes on to live a happy, healthy, and sober life. If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol addiction and could benefit from treatment, contact us today.