3 Tips for Helping a Colleague With An Addiction

Watching someone struggle with an addiction can be hard. Especially if the person you know who’s trying to work through an addiction is someone you work with professionally, not only are you there to witness how their addiction is affecting them physically and personally, but you also can see how this problem is hurting their career. So if you have someone you work with that you’re concerned about or think they may have an addiction or substance abuse problem, here are three tips for helping that colleague acknowledge, accept, and act upon that addiction.

Look For and Document The Signs

Before you just make a decision on a hunch, it’s important that you know the signs of addiction and that you document those signs when they become apparent in your colleague. Promises.com shares that some of the most common signs that someone has a substance abuse problem are absences or tardiness, slipping job performance, unusual physical behaviors, overreacting to criticism and more. If you’ve noticed these in a colleague, keep a log of when the event occurred and what exactly happened.

Give Them Facts, Not Opinions

Approaching someone that you think might have an substance abuse problems can be very tricky. While you want to be helpful and supportive, you also don’t want to come off as being judgemental or accusatory. To help find the right balance here, Executive-Rehab-Guide.co.uk suggests making sure you only talk about the facts related to their addiction rather than your opinion on it. This means that instead of saying that you think they have a drinking problem, or what have you, you refer to your log, as mentioned above, and share how he or she has been coming into work late over an extended period of time or how you smelled alcohol on them during work hours. By sharing the facts, it will give them less of a chance to refute your points and hopefully come to accept your help.

Help Find Solutions

Even if someone is willing to admit and accept the fact that they have a problem, it can be hard to get the help necessary while still maintaining a normal life and work schedule. This can make many people unwilling to seek treatment. To combat this, Gwen Moran, a contributor to Entrepreneur.com, advises coming to this conversation already having researched some solutions for them. These solutions could include local support groups, treatment facilities, online help communities and more. Being presented both with the problem and potential solutions at the same time could make it easier to address the problem sooner rather than later.

If you’re worried that someone you work with may have an addiction that’s negatively affecting their life, use the tips mentioned above to help them get the assistance they need.