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Addressing conflict in the workplace, specifically dealing with an employer’s drug and or alcohol addiction, can be a very scary experience. Building a positive relationship with an employer is what all employees hope to accomplish when accepting a job.


Many companies and agencies have employees that become like family to one other and spend much of their lives in the workplace together. Becoming close with your boss is a great gift of commitment, to act as security and most of all for your boss to have trust in you when things are either falling apart or coming together.


Stress in a workplace, with pressures of producing, providing and keeping people employed, as well as meeting the expectations of a given company in a management position can be challenging. Witnessing and experiencing many episodes of drug and/or alcohol use with your boss can be traumatizing. You can feel powerless, become consumed with keeping it a secret from others, and feel somewhat responsible for fixing the situation.


You can become part of the problem in the workplace by witnessing your boss high on drugs, intoxicated on alcohol, while other employees are laughing and talking behind your boss’s back. You may find yourself defending your boss’s drug and/or alcohol use -- justifying, rationalizing, minimizing, and lying in order to cover up his self-destructive behaviors. By doing so, you are enabling and keeping him sick, reinforcing his own denial.


It is important for you to contact a professional to seek help and support and not be part of the problem. Sometimes, it takes a person who is close to someone to break the cycle of addiction. Consider that your boss has a distorted view of his self-destructive behaviors, and the only way to address the truth is by asking for help.


There are many professional interventions facilitated for employers, mostly resulting from referrals from Employment Assistant Programs (EAP) and motivated by employees opening up about their employers’ drug and alcohol use. It is important for workers in these situations to call Intervention Canada in order to gain the best approaches, using professional services. You can be the person that can help your boss, knowing that you are making the right decision and that you no longer need to live with these behaviors in your workplace.


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