Many businesses gauge their success on revenue and company cost cuts. At A Better Today Recovery Services, we measure our success in the lives we touched and the message we spread. This week, A Better Today traveled to Washington, DC’s Society for Human Resource Management convention to talk to 20,000 Human Resource representatives from over 1000 businesses about saving lives and healing families.
We had a mission.
We wanted to convince business representatives about investing in their employees’ recovery, instead of terminating them for alcoholism and or prescription drug abuse. In this current day and age, there is only ONE degree of separation from someone you know who is currently suffering from addiction.
Their addiction does not reflect the skills they have in their field nor the dedication they have for their company. All their addiction shows is the current struggle they are enduring in this moment.
Instead of passing off a struggling employee or an employee’s loved one to an employee assistance program – who can only provide counseling- we spread message that A Better Today would put our heart and souls into providing one-on-one counseling, medical detox, co-occurring disorder and substance abuse treatment, and help him or her get in contact with a sober community in the area for a long lasting recovery.
We urged businesses to consider our individualized treatment programs over termination knowing that if they trusted us with their employees, we would return them with a new perspective on life, a new found sense of productivity, and perhaps a level a gratuity that their company took the time to care about them.
We only had three days to changed their minds about addiction and stifle the stigma that is ravaging the nation of our hard working citizens.
Day One: Stifling the Stigma
We knew what we were up against.
Volumes of policies and procedures that have been set in motion for decades forced HR representatives to give write ups and written warnings about reeking of booze and Monday flus from long weekends of binge drinking. We knew about zero tolerance policies, company suspension procedures, and revoked workman’s compensation for failed UA tests.
This did not discourage our efforts nor did it dampen our spirits. At this place and time, we were standing up to the stigma associated with addiction and reaching out to those that would listen. At first many companies recited their zero tolerance policies like a child recited the pledge of alliance. With pride and confidence.
Why wouldn’t they?
For years they were told that people suffering with an addiction made a conscious decision to use and abuse and if they valued their livelihood that they needed to shape up or get out. An addiction was a liability, an addiction meant they hired a shifty degenerate that lied on his or her resume to get a job, an addiction meant criminal. Who were we to tell them different?
Who were we to so boldly go against the grain that the media, ignorance, and social norms molded for us. We welcomed the challenge and made it our personal goal to in some way shape or form provide these people with another option besides resignation.
Day 2: Surprising with Compassion
We did not tell them they were doing anything wrong, because they weren’t.
It is the human resource representative’s job to make sure that he or she encourages a safe work environment for all employees without bias or prejudice. What we did tell the representatives was that they had a choice. A choice to provide their employees with a level of care that would encourage productive behavior to ensure they were a valuable asset to their company.
We asked them what they did when they discovered Bob from accounting had a drinking problem?
We asked them how they handled Becky from customer service’s plea to help when she realized her 18-year-old son was popping prescription pills like they were peez candies?
We asked them if this made Becky and Bob’s skills any less valuable to their company?
To our delight we saw hope in their eyes and to our satisfaction we knew we had reached them.
Day 3: Standing up to Addiction
We had planted the seed of opportunity in the minds of thousands, they have a choice to they themselves heal the lives of their employees and save the families of their company’s hard workers.
In hoards they gathered, inspired with the opportunity to providing their employees and their employees loved ones with more than disciplinary action, but a referral to a treatment facility that actually cared. A residential treatment center that provided a hand to hold while they went through medical detox, a treatment center that would help diagnose any underline co-occurring disorder like depression, PTSD, or bi-polar disorder- and more importantly- a treatment center that assessed their needs and focused on teaching how to maintain sobriety through relapse prevention and setting boundaries.
In three days, A Better Today educated, inspired, and opened the minds of thousands to an alternative solution to termination for substance abuse. Saving lives and Healing Families.