It’s been reported that there are 16.6 million adults (aged 18 and older) who have an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). This includes 10.8 million men and 5.8 million women. Yet only 1.3 million people in this age group went to rehab for alcohol.
Alcohol is still the single most abused drug in modern society and the fact that it is legal may make it difficult to know when enough is enough and when family members should intervene with a loved one who actually has a serious problem. Especially if that loved one doesn’t want to hear it, as most don’t.
Alcohol abuse is much less tolerated in the workplace than it once was. But there it is also often difficult to approach an employee with a problem as we have become a litigious society. All manner of human resources techniques and requirements are now used in dealing with an employee who has demonstrated a problem with alcohol.
So, it isn’t necessarily that people aren’t aware there’s a problem, they’re more aware than ever thanks to amount of focus on this problem. Now, the problem is doing something about it. Or, how to do something about it.
Trying to ignore it and hoping it will go away is not going to help. Waiting for the person with the problem to suddenly realize it’s a problem is also not a good strategy. Something truly bad could happen in the meantime.
What companies now do is document everything potentially related to the problem – the number of absences, decline in the quality of work, office parties where the employee appeared out of control or demonstrated inebriated behavior, the fact that it’s every office party, or client dinner when this occurs. I know of one company with an employee who got exceptionally drunk at every office party and showed up the next day with a black eye, or some other injury, and couldn’t remember what he’d done after leaving the party. In more than one instance he had been arrested. In essence, it’s collecting evidence, it’s making the case. And it’s not a bad example for a family to follow. Approaching the loved one the day after an event, especially when he, or she, is hung over, isn’t going to go well.
If you’ve quietly kept a journal of these events and at some point can sit down and say, “You need to look at this. You have a problem, it’s hurting our family, and we need to do something.” Then leave it with him, or her, to sit with, to digest. Sometimes, when it’s all there, written down, it becomes harder to ignore. Now, an addict of any kind may react badly. It is important for them not to feel cornered, to know that you are coming to them from a position of love.
You may feel you need a professional interventionist to help. We, at Recovery Channel, can recommend many. But the simple fact is, there are still far too few people with an alcohol problem seeking treatment. And today, with the changes in insurance, it just shouldn’t be the case.
Contact us for any help or advice or guidance. We can also check your insurance for you to see what your benefits will cover.