Below is text taken from the instructor's guide that accompanies the PowerPoint training program for the Drug and Alcohol Training Course for Supervisors. (This information is also presented here to enable search engines to better find this page, hence it may appear a little wordy.)► The key to effectively managing troubled employees with alcoholism or drug addiction problems (or any personal problem) is to focus only on job performance issues like absenteeism, behavior, or quality of work.
►Avoiding discussions about whether an employee has a drug or alcohol problem and avoiding the need to decide what kind of personal problem exists, if any, results in more alcoholic and drug addicted employees being referred. The EAP staff completes the assessment and determines the diagnosis.
► Employees with alcoholism or drug addiction problems do not usually appear with stereotypical symptoms. Dark glasses, drunk on the job, disappearing in the bathroom, stealing money, wearing long sleeve shirts in the summer, or other popularized stereotypical behaviors are relatively rare. (Editors Note: Many alcohol and drug training programs offer too much inaccurate and stereotypical content that perpetuates myths. We eliminate myths from training.)
► Employees with alcoholism or drug addiction problems eventually demonstrate their inability to keep their personal problem from interfering with job performance standards. Referring employees to help, based upon ongoing job performance problems is called constructive confrontation and is the preferred method for motivating alcoholics and drug addicts to get help when they have job performance problems.
► Supervisors should never diagnose employees or try to determine that a diagnosis does or does not exist. Often this is an internal or even subconscious process on the part of the supervisor.
►Attendance and availability are time-tested measures for identifying troubled employees. Alcohol and drug addictions affect an employee's ability to get to work on time due to their uncontrollable effects.
Drug and Alcohol Awareness Training and Online Drug and Alcohol Course
►As a drug or alcohol problem worsens, employees will take greater liberties to be away from the work site reasoning that it won't be noticed, won't matter, or that circumstances will minimize the obvious absence.
►Employees with alcohol (and/or drug problems) are absent three times more than other employees.
►Binges, or the effects of alcohol or drug use on days off characteristically affects timely arrival at work on Mondays or days after holidays. Absence on Fridays may occur as a result of money being available on Thursday which enables the addict to drink or use drugs.
(Editor's Note: There about 11 handouts with this drug and alcohol awareness training program. It is not necessary that you use every one, but definitely distribute all of the handouts on alcoholism.)
►Longer periods of absence from work are frequently associated with a
growing problem. The lack of a structured and predictable disciplinary
process helps the employee take greater liberties. Cocaine users in
particular simply "do not care" about anything else while they are
►Employees must manufacture believable reasons that do not repeat,
particularly if their absences are frequent and classical reasons like
"a flat tire on the way to work" has long since been overused as an
excuse. Believable reasons will therefore begin to appear improbable.
Frequently, lateness will be blamed on other people, family members,
► Discussing an employee’s possible drinking or drug problem invites a
discussion about what to do about it. Such discussions lead the
supervisor to accept the employee’s plan for getting help. (Editor's
note: This is a tricky area for many supervisors because they often
believe they can counselor a worker whom they have know for a long time.
In the drug and alcohol training, we put a special emphasis on topic.)
►Employees with alcoholism or drug addiction problems may seek help from
time to time, but is frequently the wrong help, half measures,
misdirected, not professionally monitored, or just improper.
►Employees will always seek help that least interferes with continued
drinking. Searching for a doctor who prescribe cross addictive, cross
tolerant medications are a good example. All lead to the same result
--- a continuation of the drinking or drug problem. (Editor's note: Follow up is all about behaviors. One cannot believe what an addict or alcoholic "says" about their treatment. This drug and alcohol training and awareness course program places an emphasis on proper ways to view these symptoms.)
► Addicted employees practice their defensive skills with many people,
particularly family members. The supervisor is no match for a “one on
one” with the alcoholic or addict. Such employees are efficient at
“comparing out” of the diagnosis and explaining in rationale terms why
they don’t have a problem.
►Even recovering alcoholics will have little success at convincing those
they supervise to get treatment or attend AA meetings. This is an
inappropriate role for the supervisor who is not being paid to get
involved in such discussions.
► Enabling allows an alcoholic or drug addict to avoid responsibility
for the direct or indirect consequences of a drinking or drug use.
Enabling is something that people do who are in relationships with
alcoholics or drug addicts. These could family, friends, and of course,
coworkers. As long as you are in a relationship with an alcoholic or
drug addict, it will be very difficult not to enable.
► Enabling may be covering up for a coworker, protecting the coworker
from consequences, accepting excuses without requiring changes in
performance, loaning money for financial problems, drinking with the
alcoholic or using drugs with the addict, failing to act on disciplinary
action after it is threatened, or letting your own drinking or drug use
interfere with your decision to take a stand and deal directly with
your employee's job performance problem.
► Enabling, simply put, buys the alcoholic’s next drink, or the drug addict’s next dose.
Important Helpful Links:
Purchase the Drug and Alcohol Training Course for Supervisors
See a "marked" handout from the Drug and Alcohol Course