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When You Suspect a Coworker has a Substance Abuse Problem

When You Suspect a Coworker has a Substance Abuse Problem

A person I worked with had a problem with alcohol and the whole office knew about it except me. I can’t smell so I didn’t notice what the others did, but in a way that was a good thing. It seems as soon as we tag someone as having an alcohol problem, we don’t seem to see anything else about the person, just the problem.

I sat next to her and worked with her for a few months so got to know her. I thought she had the potential to be a great assistant except for her low self esteem and she would put herself down when she made a mistake. I tried to encourage her, but she couldn’t seem to see her own potential. One day she just up and quit. I was mentioning to some colleagues that it was too bad she left as she could have been good with some encouragement. They seemed surprised that I didn’t know she had an alcohol problem because they told me you could smell the booze off her every day, but of course I hadn’t noticed.

I know another assistant who is a recovering alcoholic (I’m told you are never fully recovered) and she said I could share some of her thoughts below:

“There absolutely is a stigma still attached to being labeled an alcoholic or a recovering one.. it requires a firm culture that discusses recovery openly and strongly support it -both in action and written policy. This is usually a lot of “talk” in companies..but little real support for it… in my experience.

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