Are There Employee Assistance Programs for Alcohol Abuse?
Many employees that have alcohol problems or other substance abuse problems frequently find themselves ducking and dodging their employers. Even their coworkers, when the occasional question gets asked, it’s a struggle to avoid and evade. So what can you do? What can you do if you know a coworker has a problem and can’t get help? For one, you can contact our Carolina rehabilitation experts for guidance on the next steps to take.
Employee Assistance Programs or EAPs were implemented to help employers ease the financial burden of employees abusing substances. While it seems like it’s only the employee who loses their job because of addiction feels the financial ramifications, often employers lose a valued member of their team. About 90% of alcoholics are employed, and it doesn’t matter if that’s at your local pizza shop as a delivery driver or as an executive with a Fortune 100 company. A job is often meaningful to both the employer and the employee.
Are Employers Required To Provide Support To An Alcoholic?
An EAP allows businesses to provide access to resources, and counselors that otherwise, the employee might not have access to. There is no requirement for businesses to provide an EAP. However, if you were formally diagnosed with alcohol misuse disorder, then you may have some protection to your employment or position under certain circumstances.
For example, if you were still able to perform your duties as your job demands with only reasonable accommodations, then you shouldn’t expect any problems. However, if you’re failing to upkeep with your treatment, missing days without notice, or putting yourself and others in danger on the job site, then you might have trouble.
Are Employee Assistance Programs Effective?
Some argue that EAPs give addicts too much of a safety net. That there’s something for them to fall back to, they know they have a job, and they can always reference the “help” they’re getting. However, people that make that type of argument are overlooking the correlation between sobriety planning assistance and the workplace. The human resources department or a manager can, at any time, check-in on the development and involvement of the addicted person.
Although employers aren’t privy to medical information, which is protected, they can get information about whether you’re showing up to the therapy that they’re paying for. So if you stop going, then your employer will know, and you lose any protection that you might have had as a result of your involvement in the EAP.
Is It Possible that Using an EAP Will “Out” You?
One of the more substantial fears that come with EAP involvement is that now, everyone will know. Unfortunately, most addicts are blind to the fact that usually, everyone else knows long before they do. Can you honestly say that if you drank on your lunch hour that no one could smell it when you got back to the office?
Or, if you drank in your car on your way home that no one noticed you pulling a bottle out from under your seat in the parking lot? Some people are more discreet than others, but if you need help, it’s likely that others have noticed your changes in personality, behavior, and maybe other signs of alcoholism as well.
How to Find the Right Type of Help for Alcohol Abuse
The trouble with using an EAP is that the employer provides the resources, but they may give you a list of resources to choose from. Typically an EAP won’t rely solely on free 12-step meetings ut instead get you in touch with a reliable counselor that specializes in addiction. A counselor or therapist might be a good start, but your path to sobriety demands a team of professionals guiding you through tough moments and learning to battle triggers.
Getting On Your Feet with an Out-Patient Program
An outpatient program allows people to still go through much of their daily routine, or at least minimally disrupt their work-life. Outpatient programs are built for people who often can’t get to inpatient programs or have learned that inpatient programs are largely ineffective. Instead of going away and hiding in a secluded area without any distractions or triggers, you’re forced from day one to confront your habits that feed your alcoholism.
You might realize that you enjoy that after-work drink with your team of coworkers. As part of an outpatient program, you will need to build appropriate responses and alternative behaviors from day one. You can work with your employer to change your habits, and possibly find some security in your job. Talk to Rehab Carolinas to determine if your outpatient options are the best choices for your path to sobriety.