But normality doesn’t exist for addicts and alcoholics. To them, the demands of business and family and responsibility are an abnormal world. Denial, broken promises, excuses and alibis are part of the condition.
An intervention is an attempt to yank them back into the real world. It’s a meeting where the alcoholic or addict is suddenly confronted by close business colleagues, family, and friends.
They can end horrendously badly if not properly planned. Good intentions are not enough. Life is not a feel-good reality TV show.
So, first things first.
At Recovery Direct, before the intervention, we’d look at both the employer’s and the employee’s total circumstances.
(Bear in mind that Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act considers alcoholism and drug abuse as forms of incapacity that shouldn’t be dealt with in terms of the company’s disciplinary code).
Even – and this is crucial – is the intervention likely to be successful?
We bring in our trained, experienced social worker to work with the people who’ll be present. Each family member, friend, and colleague should prepare. In a caring way, they usually cover four areas: an example of the alcoholic or addict’s behaviour that has harmed them or caused problems; the reasons why they believe the person is an alcoholic or addict; why they wish the person would address the problem; and the consequences if he or she doesn’t, whether it be termination of employment, divorce, custody of the children, or withdrawal of friendship. (It’s important that people are prepared to follow through on these actions.)
Only then is the real intervention possible.
We facilitate that, guiding the discussions, avoiding recriminations, exposing the addict’s denials. Hard things will be said. There are real dangers of psychological hurt to all concerned.
But a successful intervention – now that is a beautiful thing, in the feelings of relief and hope and new courage. Staff and family and friends walk away with an entirely new lease on life.
The hardest part in any addiction scenario can be asking for help.
Item 10 of Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act alcoholism and drug abuse are considered to be forms of incapacity and should not be dealt with in terms of the disciplinary code of the company. Employers therefore have to attempt to assist the employee in overcoming his or her dependency problem and recommended that the employee participates in a registered addiction rehabilitation programme.