Suggestions On Approaching A Co-Worker Who Appears To Have An Addiction Problem
When many people think about helping someone in their life get treatment for an addiction problem, they envision assisting a family member or friend. However, it's also possible that you may encounter a co-worker who appears to be struggling with addiction. While you could simply ignore the issue or perhaps report your suspicions to the human resources department, another approach is to talk to the person about his or her problem — and try to make the person see that treatment is the best course of action. Here are some suggestions on approaching this conversation.
Share What You've Observed
The first step toward approaching a co-worker who appears to be struggling with addiction is to share what you've observed, as well as ask if the person is having trouble. Try to think of concrete examples that could indicate the person has an addiction issue. For example, you might recount seeing the person come back from lunch late and with bleary eyes, as well as struggling to walk correctly. Say that you aren't judging the person, but that you're concerned about his or her health and you want to help. If you've dealt with friends who are addicts, you could say that you recognize this behavior.
Discuss Some Consequences
If the person seems receptive to the discussion and admits that he or she has a problem, you might wish to gently discuss some consequences that could arise if the person doesn't get clean. An obvious consequence is that the person could lose his or her job, but there are other things to discuss. You could also say that while other co-workers might not be aware of this issue, it's less than ideal if they do become aware eventually. An employee who is known to struggle with addiction could be treated unfairly by others or even by management.
Emphasize The Value Of Getting Help
Talk to the person about the various treatment facilities like Support Systems Homes that are available in the area or in the state and how they can help. The person may be concerned about taking time off, but the solution to such an issue may be extended paid medical leave. Depending on the company you work for, employees may be able to take paid leave for medical issues, and this could include attending a rehab facility for addiction issues. You could even confirm this detail in your employee handbook before you begin this discussion.