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Six Ways to Sabotage Your Employee's Recovery

Posted by Daniel Feerst on

Supervisors want to keep their workplace happy, healthy and productive, and part of that is keeping your organization

DOT supervisor statements that sabotage treatment

free from employees from being drunk or high on the job. However, once a worker gets help for their addiction, the battle isn’t completely over. Recovery takes time and effort, and supervisors may unwittingly hinder their employee’s success. Here are six ways you may be sabotaging his or her recovery. Can you think of any more?

1. Hyper vigilance. Especially if you are an adult child of an addict, you may be conditioned to be hyper-vigilant. This means that you watch your recovering worker’s every move to determine if they have slipped. Although the employee does deserve some scrutiny, overdoing it could make him uncomfortable enough to relapse.

2. Inflexibility. People in recovery know there are certain things they need to do right away if they are thinking about using. These tools include going to a meeting or calling their sponsor. Not allowing your employee the time to do these things may hinder his recovery. At least for the first year or so, give him the flexibility to get the help he needs.

3. Not completing DOT supervisor training or reasonable suspicion training. You’ll get tips on how to support your employee in recovery with the proper training. Even if you are in recovery yourself, you’ll receive new insights from this specialized training.

4.Trying to be the employee’s sponsor. A man can’t serve two masters. Remember that you are his supervisor first. Modeling good boundaries is helpful to someone new in recovery. Allow the employee to get his support in recovery from a sponsor.

5. Overreacting to a relapse. Addiction is a disease, and relapse is a commonplace symptom. Although you need to follow your organization’s protocols for drug or alcohol abuse, continue to support the employee if he slips a time or two, especially in early recovery.

6. Discussing your own ignorant ideas about addiction, especially trying to convince your worker or employee that they are not alcoholic in order to overcome your own alcoholic denial.

In treatment, employees are intensively educated about three things: 1) the nature of the disease of addiction; 2) What to do in order to arrest the illness; and 3) What not to do in order to arrest the illness. This information is based upon the best research and the experience of millions of recovering addicts and alcoholics. Involving yourself in discussions with employees that negatively influence what they have learned is one way to sabotage your employee and facilitate a relapse.

Recovery is a slow process where sometimes people take one step forward and two steps back. It’s important to remember that addiction is a disease. Addicts need time and appropriate support in all areas of their life to be successful. As a supervisor, you can make or break their success by your actions. The fact that the employee has sought help- is a promising first step. Appropriate boundaries, flexibility and specialized training will give you the tools to manage him in a way that will equal success for both him and your organization

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