The HR Toolkit for Addiction in the Workplace

Next week, Compass Detox will be attending DisruptHR Miami. This event is a conference, of sorts, that brings together some of the top HR professionals from Florida and beyond. The purpose of this conference is to challenge those professionals to think beyond the normal HR structure, to confront them with issues, ideas, and situations that will spark thought, creativity, and leadership within their industries in tackling issues that some HR teams tend to neglect or shy away from.

We plan on bringing what is still a very stigmatized situation into the light at DisruptHR, and offering the solutions that these HR pros, and their peers, need when this situation becomes real.

Addiction carries with it some very unfortunate labels. Lazy, weak, careless, selfish, a liability. These words get tossed around a lot when the business world at large discusses addiction and the issues that come along with it. While none of these labels are anywhere near reality, they still exist and many opinions about a person are formed based around these labels when that person approaches someone for help or their identity as an addict is revealed in some way.

Why Me? | The Selective Nature of Addiction

Addiction is an epidemic that has run rampant across humanity for centuries. Helen of Troy was said to have utilized opium, given to her by an Egyptian queen, in helping to treat the Greek warriors in Homer’s Odyssey – “…presently she cast a drug into the wine of which they drank to lull all pain and anger and bring forgetfulness of every sorrow.” Roman addictions, as well as Spartan and Greek, are well documented. To go “berserk” is a term that comes from Viking Berserkers, a much feared warrior who would rush into battle mostly nude, no matter the weather, incredibly high on psychedelic drugs to cancel out all fear and pain during battle. Yes, addiction has quite literally been a part of humanity since the earliest days of our existence.

Yet, despite that, addiction is not something that runs throughout humanity. There are many millions of humans alive today who seem to be immune to addiction. No matter what they do, or what they try, when they tire of it, or they just don’t feel like it anymore, they stop. Just like that. They drop it, they’re done, they never think about it again, nor do they suffer side effects from stopping whatever “it” was.

Mucho, Mucho Amor

Daddy Yankee is going to have a stellar 2020. Or at least according to the legendary Puerto Rican astrologer Walter Mercado he will.

There are few things more vital to a recovering addict’s journey than friends, family, and traditions – both new and old. At this time of year here in Miami, and throughout most of South Florida, and even beyond, many New Year’s Eve parties would typically culminate with a gathering around the TV to view the iconic, and always entertaining, Walter. His predictions for the coming year would set the stage for many groups of families and friends. His voice and visage were more a harbinger of the New Year than any firework could ever hope to be. His aire was love, compassion, and light. He never brought a cross word or any ill intent. As 2019 came into being, he predicted that it would be a year of transitions that required strength. And now as 2020 knocks on the door, we understand a bit more about why his prediction for 2019 was true.

How To Love An Addict

Addiction not only rips apart a life, it does the same thing to the relationships and loved ones held most dear by the addict.

It is a very difficult thing to watch a loved one slip into addiction. Suddenly, someone that you once knew so well has become a completely different person, a person that you can’t trust, a person who seems to fight every helping hand and seek out every harmful situation they can possibly find, a person who pushes away love, a person who pushes away you. You know that this is the addiction working, taking control, but you can’t help but be affected by it. You can’t help feeling hurt, angry, helpless. You can’t help feeling like you want to give up.

And, unfortunately, many people do give up. They try and try until they’ve had enough – enough betrayal, enough rejection, enough hurt. Their addict loved one has hurt them so many times, maybe even betrayed their trust as well, that the need to protect themselves from more hurt and more harm has overtaken the love that they feel for this person who has been changed so drastically by addiction. And they give up. They cut ties, they banish, they forget, they toss aside.

Addiction at Work

There’s a stigma with addiction – that of the addict passing out in an alley somewhere, unable to move, barely able to function at all. While that image of addiction does come from a real place, there’s a far more prevalent face of addiction out in the world – that of the highly functioning professional. Drug & alcohol addiction knows no bounds. It is not a poor person’s disease, it does not care about race, religion, social status, or career. Addiction affects every tier of society. That fact can be very surprising to people on the fringes of the addiction disease. Below are the career fields that rank highest for addiction among the workforce. You’ll see that addiction really does run the gamut, and permeates some unexpected places.