Helping a work colleague with addiction UK

Help For My Work Colleague

Addiction affects people from all walks of life, including the workplace. You may have a colleague who is struggling with substance abuse or addiction. While you cannot force a work colleague to get help, there are constructive ways you can support them and encourage them into recovery.

Offer support and understanding  

The first step is to simply let your colleague know you care and are available to listen to them without judgment. Say something along the lines of "I notice you've been going through a tough time lately. I want you to know I'm here for you if you ever want to talk." Offering kindness and compassion can make a big difference.

Encourage them to seek professional help

Gently recommend they speak to an addiction specialist like us at Find Rehab. Say something like "You don't have to go through this alone. There are people who can help." You can give them information on addiction treatment services in the UK and rehab facilities from us. But remember, they have to be willing to get help for themselves.

Set boundaries around disruptive behaviour  

If your colleague's addiction is impacting their work performance or the workplace environment, set clear boundaries, but in a compassionate manner. Explain how their behaviour is affecting others and the expectations at work. If needed, involve HR or management to address performance issues.

Ask how you can support their recovery

Once your colleague has entered treatment or recovery, ask how you can best provide support. Some simple suggestions include:

- Checking in occasionally to see how they're doing   

- Not offering them drugs or alcohol

- Avoiding talking negatively about rehab/treatment

- Covering their work for them if they need time off for appointments

- Celebrating milestones and progress

Educate yourself on addiction  

The more you understand about addiction and recovery, the better equipped you'll be to support your colleague. Read trustworthy online resources, listen to podcasts, and watch videos to gain knowledge and empathy.

With patience, compassion and understanding, you can make a positive difference in your colleague's life and recovery journey.

Frequently asked questions

What if my colleague gets defensive when I offer help?

Some people in active addiction may deny they have a problem at first. Stay calm, remove any sense of judgment, and let them know you only want to help. Offer support again in the future if they become more open.

How do I set professional boundaries around inappropriate behaviour?

Be direct but compassionate. Explain clearly how their current behaviour does not meet professional standards. Seek guidance from HR on formal policies. Set the expectation that certain behaviours cannot continue and wont be tolerated.

What resources are available for addiction treatment in the UK?

There are many options in the UK, including: rehab facilities, outpatient treatment, support groups, counseling, medications, and helplines like FRANK or drinkaware. Give your colleague general information and let them decide which option is best for them.

How do I maintain a professional relationship after they enter recovery?

Treat your colleague with the same level of professionalism as before. Allow them privacy regarding their personal life. Focus on work tasks and goals. Check in every now and then to see if any adjustments need to be made to support their recovery at work.

Ready to dive in? Start your recovery journey.

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