Category: Workplace addiction

What happens when addiction rears its ugly head at work?

For individuals who are able to function at a very high level despite an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it is often co-workers who are the last to suspect or know of a problem. Earlier this spring, I heard the story of a sales person who was an alcoholic. She recorded the highest sales figures in her region and was given an award for this honor at a national company conference. In front of peers and superiors, she took the stage to accept her award, which was a weeklong tropical vacation. She left no doubt in anyone’s mind, as she stumbled to the stage, slurred her words and stumbled back to her seat, that she had far too much to drink.

While a situation like this is quite embarrassing, it can be chalked up to several things – for someone who does not drink often and has a low tolerance, this could be the effect of a glass of wine or Champagne. This event, after all, was a celebration.

As the story was told, the woman received her award and booked her vacation. Midway through the trip, the company officials received a call from the resort informing them of an issue. The woman was being asked to vacate the hotel due to drunk and disorderly conduct on property. Upon returning to work the following week, she was dismissed from her position.

When we see our co-workers day in and day out, we may detect there is a problem. However, in this woman’s case, she worked in outside sales. She did most of her work in other people’s offices, often having lunches or dinners with clients, many involved having a drink. Her clients loved her and never reported seeing her overindulge. However, the company did not feel they could take the risk of exposing business clients to an incident similar to the company conference or vacation.

While each work environment and culture is different, many corporations offer support through a substance abuse policy. If you think about major sports organizations such as the National Football League or Major League Baseball, players who are identified as having illegal substances in their system are often suspended and mandated to treatment before they can play again. Future violations may have stronger penalties, but the initial report often results in an attempt to help. Meanwhile, other corporations may have a zero-tolerance policy. Companies who mandate substance abuse treatment for employees can also make recommendations of residential (inpatient) treatment, or outpatient if the employee is expected to continue working during the treatment period. They may even designate a specific treatment center.

Related blog:  Addiction in the Workplace

Pathways can work with employers and provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.


Reforming Recovery

Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Healthcare, recently released an article about reshaping how we view substance abuse treatment. Statistics provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse claim that more than 23 million Americans are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Of this, ONLY 11% receive treatment. Other stats she cited state that of those in recovery, 40-60% will backslide or relapse.

Related Blog: Recovery from Drugs and Alcohol is a Process

Chair and co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute, A. Thomas McLellan, compares the addiction treatment process to a washing machine, churning clients through the system before they’ve had a chance to heal. He is quoted as saying, “There are no 30-day diabetes programs, and they certainly don’t have graduation ceremonies.”

As the community accepts the fact that substance abuse is a chronic disease, treatment providers need to tailor programs to treat this model. This would include changes to the emergency treatment, residential services, housing with restorative services, case/care management, medication assisted treatment, cognitive interventions and family support.

At Pathways, many of these facets are already standard in treatment plans. While a 28-day stay is available, Pathways’ Extended Care program allows clients to stay 60 or 90 days to not only learn the basics of recovery and how to use the tools, but to spend more time dealing with the core issues that have led to their addictive disorder. Pathways provides a weekly aftercare group session for those who stay in the area, and counselors can also guide clients to local sober living facilities that will reinforce and support long-term abstinence. Cognitive interventions using evidence-based techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Moral Reconation Therapy and Rapid Response Therapy®, are all part of the Pathways milieu. Finally, family sessions not only provide relatives with a sense of progress, family members learn about the disease of addiction, the dangers of enabling, relapse triggers and warning signs.

To learn more about Pathways, visit or call 855-349-5988.

In The Media: K-2 Spice Dangers

Pathways to Recovery is part of the First Step of Sarasota, Inc. family of treatment programs. PJ Brooks of First Step Sarasota recently gave an interview about the dangers of the popular “K-2 Spice” drug. Though many first time users are under the impression that it is similar to marijuana, K-2 contains many dangerous chemicals, many of which have never been identified, and users can experience hallucinations, an increase in heart rate and body temperature, which can result in hospitalization and in some cases death.

For more information, click here to read the MySuncoast article and watch the clip.

Related Blog: What Are Designer Drugs?

Addiction in the Workplace: Part 1

When most people begin abusing drugs or alcohol, they are often employed and able to function balancing all of life’s roles. Sometimes, the effects of substance abuse appear at work before family members notice. Attendance and punctuality are often the first signs of a problem, but job performance and peer relationships can also be indicators.

Many companies offer Employee Assistance Programs linking employees with local treatment resources. When outpatient treatment is insufficient, individuals seeking treatment should verify their employer’s substance abuse policies before seeking residential treatment. In many cases, employees can apply for leave from the Family Medical Leave Act to protect themselves during their time away from work and in treatment. Typically, this leave is unpaid. Again, before pursuing this option, the employee should become familiar with the company’s policies. While an employee cannot be terminated because of the request to seek treatment, some company policy’s state that any employee with a substance abuse problem will be terminated.

-Related blog: Trauma and Addiction

If you or someone you know is seeking residential substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways at 855-349-5988 to learn more about our 28-day and extended care programs.