How the Opioid Epidemic is Affecting the Workforce Across the Country

We have entered into a century where there is absolutely no doubt that drug and alcohol addiction is truly a very difficult and a very problematic issue in this country, one of which simply seems to take over and get worse and worse as the years go by, creating problems and difficulties above and beyond addiction left and right. Currently, one of the most serious substance abuse problems in this nation has been with the opiate epidemic and how it has affected the workforce.

Statistics of Addiction

The statistics of addiction are pretty grim, to say the least. Entire dissertations have been written on this subject and topic, but two of the most significant statistics have been included below for the sake of brevity:

  • There have been a lot of problems regarding drug and alcohol addiction lately, and there is no getting away from that fact. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the substance abuse problem is growing more quickly than it is being effectively addressed. This is measured by the numbers of people who become newly addicted to drugs and alcohol each and every year as compared to the numbers of people who are able to effectively beat drug and alcohol addiction every single year. Statistically speaking, roughly two hundred to two hundred and fifty thousand Americans are able to beat drug and alcohol addiction each and every year, which at first seems really great, except then when it is compared to the numbers of people who become newly addicted to drugs and alcohol each and every year. Roughly four hundred thousand become addicted each year, making it almost like taking one step forward and two steps backward.
  • One big issue with drug and alcohol abuse in this country is the sheer numbers of people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. When numbers are actually measured, the real data on this is actually quite terrifying. Case in point, there are currently twenty-three million and a half people in this country who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. That is more people than those who have ever been addicted before in the history of this country. Furthermore, it is a greater percentage of per capita addiction that has ever been experienced in this country. Case in point, currently about twelve percent of the entire nation’s population that is over the age of twelve is heavily and grievously addicted to substances. This is a greater percentage than has ever been recorded before, and the worry that this creates is pretty significant.

As readers can see from just these two points, U.S. addiction statistics are on their way up and this is a problem that is only getting worse and worse as each year goes by. Addiction rates in this country have never been as bad as they are today, and a big part of the problem has been just the simple increase in people abusing drugs and alcohol. For those who suffer from opiates, the fastest growing drug substance problem in this country, the key needs to be to utilize rehabilitation for those people.

Addiction Rehabilitation

When people become addicted to opiates, they more often than not end up losing their jobs because of their habit. This happens because they cannot keep working and be an opiate addict at the same time, and the opiate addiction wins over in the long run. Though substance abuse truly is a harsh and a debilitating issue of the very worst kind, it can and should be addressed with effective addiction rehabilitation. My message to all struggling addicts is that inpatient rehabilitation is the best approach for struggling addicts.

Remote Startups Allowing Recovering Addicts to Work from Home

In the 21st century, there are a lot of different ways to go into business, and there are a lot of different ways to make a career for oneself. For the recovering addict, this could not be a better situation. For people in recovery, their first priority must be their recovery and their sobriety. Their first priority must be their incessant willingness to get clean and to stay clean off of drugs and alcohol. Their first priority must be a steadfast insistence upon getting clean and sober and free from addiction once and for all and for good.

With this in mind, it becomes easy to see that anything else and everything else becomes a secondary goal for recovering addicts, and it becomes less important for them to worry about those other things.

However, there are still other things that the recovering individual needs to keep in mind and needs to keep their thoughts on. That is to say that there still needs to be a focus, a direction, an incentive, and a process of thought that the individual is going after if they want to create and ensure success for themselves.

When people are in recovery, they also need to think about a job, income, a place to stay, regular meals, etc. These are important factors in any recovery aspect that need to be taken into consideration while an individual is also keeping track of their recovery too.

Start Up Business

A lot of times, when a recovering addict is facing the prospect of reentering the workforce, they feel pretty concerned and nervous about this. Take for example the recovering addict who feels as though their workplace was a big part of the problem last time, and they are afraid that if they jump back into a workplace again that they might end up facing an addiction struggle all over again too.

This is a legitimate concern. A lot of addicts abuse substances socially, especially alcoholics. There is no surprise or concern here. When such individuals abuse such substances, they do so in a social setting, and a workplace is very much a social setting in a way. Recovering addicts often feel they need to avoid a workplace, for they fear that entering into that type of environment is going to be bad news for them. So, they take on the alternative, which is they don’t work at all, which is equally dangerous in terms of the threat of relapse goes.

This is where a startup business comes into play. A small business startup or a new business startup of some kind is a perfect option for a recovering addict, especially one that they can run out of their own home. A startup is something that is truly helpful and exciting and also completely avoids the social aspect of a workplace. Furthermore, with technology the way it is and the advancements of the internet, it is totally feasible to be able to run a business out of one’s home and off of the internet. Even if the business grows to the point where the recovering addict needs to expand into a commercial building, this will still not be the same as the stereotypical “workforce” type of setting.

When it comes to getting into and maintaining recovery, of course, the recovery has to be the first option and the first course of action taken here. The recovery itself is key, because without it the person is likely to just relapse back onto drugs and alcohol again, and that serves no purpose. With the above plan, a recovering individual can successfully and stably work towards freedom from addiction for life.

Guide to Talking with a Job Applicant About Addiction History

We know now at this time that drug and alcohol addiction is a very serious issue and concern in our society, one of which is possibly worse now than it ever has been before.  We know and understand that this issue is actually huge and that it brings huge problems and crisis factors with it everywhere that it goes.

We know that since the turn of the century drug and alcohol addiction has stepped up and made itself into one of the single most if not the single most concerning and problematic issues in our entire nation.  We know that the issue with addiction as we have experienced it is certainly huge and that this is a crisis problem that will only get worse unless we do something about it.

From all that we know about how bad drug and alcohol addiction is, we can then extrapolate from that that, sooner or later as a business owner, you are going to come across someone who you are interviewing who has had a drug or alcohol addiction problem in their history.  Maybe this has already happened to you.  Maybe you already have some idea of how to support a drug addict in recovery.  Maybe you already know how to talk to an addict, or to someone who has abused drugs and alcohol in the past.  Either way, this issue has to be approached with care and consternation and a great deal of empathy too.

Addiction Support in the Workplace

Someone having a history of drug and alcohol addiction in their past is by no means a good reason to disqualify them from working for you.  By no means at all does that make sense.  In fact, the best way to address drug and alcohol addiction in someone’s past is to see how it can benefit them and how they can grow from it.

For me personally, I often try to find people to work in my businesses who are in recovery, because I know what they have been through and I know how capable they are now as a result.  I’m not the only one who does this too.  Follow these quick tips to ensure that you consider the recovering addict’s application correctly:

  1. Find out how long they have been sober for. The longer they have been sober, the less you have to worry, if you were planning on worrying at all.
  1. Find out what it was they were addicted to, and how much they were taking. Really get an idea of just how bad their addiction was, so you can get a feel for what they were going through at that time.
  1. Talk to them about how their addiction affected their lives and impacted them. Find out from them just what exactly they can take away from their addiction, and just what exactly they can actually learn from it.
  1. Find out what the person can bring to the table at your business, and how they are going to use their experience with their addiction to really dominate the marketplace that your business is in.
  1. Question the person closely as to their stability in recovery. Have they had any relapses?  If so, when?  Find out from them how stable they feel or don’t feel in their recovery.

Asking these questions and simply holding a conversation with the person should give you a really good idea as to how they are doing in their recovery.  Don’t be afraid to ask these questions too.  There is nothing wrong with asking them.  Talk to the person about it, and really get a feel for how they are doing in their recovery, and then make your final decision as to whether or not you want to hire them.  Most of the time you will want to hire them.

Rebuilding Your Credibility: How Recovering Addicts Can Prove Their Workplace Resilience

I understand that drug and alcohol addiction can create a real flat tire in one’s life.  Well, let’s be honest, it’s more like getting all four tires slashed at one time, and then still trying to drive to the destination that is your life.  Even long after regaining sobriety and long after patching those tires, people still look at you funny while you’re driving down the road that is your life.  For some reason, no matter how stable and relaxed you are in your recovery, people often still question your credibility.

Listed in this article are five ways that you can make a conscious effort to regain your credibility after beating an addiction:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, as this will remove the stigma and help improve your credibility. You can reach out to friends, family members or professionals.  It is a very human thing to do and shows that you are fully in touch with your recovery.  Your network will respect you for it and not judge you so much.
  2. Understand that life is change and that these things take time. Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable and is just a part of life, isn’t it?  For something as serious as addiction, it will take a while for those close to you to get over that and to grow out of the idea of viewing you as an addict or even just as a recovered addict.
  3. Sometimes you will fail, but you will always learn from whatever it is you are doing.  You won’t always be able to fully get your credibility back.  Nelson Mandela had a great quote on this topic that I have included here: “I never lose. I either win or learn.” Adopt that same attitude in life and believe me you will learn from every experience you have in recovery.
  4. Keep a positive attitude that lasts a lifetime.  Even if people do not accept you instantly, know that they will soon enough.  Know that they will come around soon enough.  Know that they will bring you back into the fold, and your confidence is what will bring that about.
  5. Be more decisive with people.  Be commanding and in charge, and people will respect you for it and start flowing you more credibility.  When something unexpected happens in your life, what is your first reaction to it? Do you take care of it right away? Do you ask someone for advice?  Both are okay. Or do you wail your woes to every single person you meet that day instead? That is not so great and will lose your credibility.

At the end of the day, it is sometimes a tricky prospect to regain your credibility after having just gone through addiction and after having put others in your life through it as well.  Sometimes it can be difficult to really accept people back in after experiencing this, but you really do need to accept them as the alternative is really not so great.

If you ever want to jump back into life and really take your life back, you need to be able to engage yourself in recovery that lasts a lifetime.  And to do that, you need to get your networks up and running again.  To do that, you need to regain credibility with the people you know and care about.  To do that, you need to follow the above tips and others to make it clear to people that you are not an addict anymore.  Do this, and you will win in the long run.

5 Ways a Recovering Addict Can Destigmatize Addiction During a Job Interview

One thing that I have learned very quickly as a result of working with recovered addicts, of operating drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation centers, and as a result of being recovered myself is that it can and often is very difficult for recovering addicts to get jobs. The stigma that is connected to addiction is a serious, deep, and very harmful slash against someone’s reputation and it is pretty hard to overcome, to say the least.

My hope is to see a change in the perspective of a recovered addict. I want people to start to not see them as recovered addicts but to instead see them as someone who managed to pull through a crisis issue and a difficulty the likes of which no one would want to wish upon anyone else. I would like to see this issue brought down a notch, and rather than having those who feel as though they can’t take life by the horns and win because of their addictions feel let down, I’d like to see these people build off of their recovery and use their previous experience as addicts to truly find something new for themselves.

Listed below are a few tips and tricks that I think recovering addicts can use to remove the stigma of addiction during a job interview:

  1. First of all, you can’t go wrong by giving the interviewer all of the data. Honesty is and always has been the best policy in these types of situations. So just be honest with them. Tell them everything there is to tell them. Give them all of the data. If they ask about your previous addiction, tell them about it, what you used, how long you used for, how long you’ve been sober, etc. A good boss will respect and appreciate the honesty and your willingness to talk about it. A bad boss won’t, but you don’t want to work for him anyway.
  2. Go over how you beat addiction. For every second you spent discussing your addiction, spend ten seconds discussing your rehabilitation and recovery from addiction. This will really put it in their mind that you are clean now and that you are a recovered individual.
  3. Go over facts and statistics on relapse rates, and show how unlikely it is that you will relapse based on credible sources. Use your recovery counselors and support network as references. Be very open and very willing for the interviewer to examine this area of your life.
  4. Sell yourself. Really pitch yourself at how, because of your addiction and your recovery and what that did for you as an individual, you will be able to be the absolute best employee that the interviewer has. Use your recovery and your past addiction to actually make yourself look more desirable, not less desirable.
  5. All in all, some people just won’t change their mind about recovered addicts, and you have to accept that. There are some people who you just won’t be able to convince that you are a qualified candidate for their position, no matter what you say or how you act or what you do. However, probably about thirty percent of interviewers are on the fence about it.

The above tips are what will help you win those interviewers over to your side of the fence. Probably about forty percent of interviewers won’t have a problem with your history at all, and about thirty percent won’t want anything to do with you no matter what you say or do. Use the above tips to your advantage, and you will win the majority of the time and be able to get the jobs that you want to get.

Parent to Parent: Should You Disclose Your Past Addiction

I can understand that this particular subject matter could get a little tense and it could get a little controversial.  As parents (speaking from experience) we all suffer and struggle trying to think with the decision on whether or not we should branch out and tell our children about our past addiction problems if we had them.  On the one hand, we think that it could be a good thing because it might put things into perspective for our young ones.  On the other hand, though we might be a little bit concerned at the thought of doing this too as it might cause us to worry that they might think less of us, or that they might justify their own actions based off of our past ones.

Some parents choose to tell their kids about their past substance abuse.  Some choose to keep it hidden in an effort to protect them.  The honest truth of the matter is that I don’t think there is anything wrong with either decision, especially if it is made in the right way and that the parents have fully looked at and explored both options in their minds and how each route could go down.  In that case, I support parents of both sides of the coin.

What My Advice is on the Matter

Here’s what I think about it.  I personally believe in an all-out in the open, no subtleties, no withholds, no lies, no secrets type of approach to parenting.  I want to know everything about my kids, and since that is what I want from them, I am willing to afford them the same courtesy.  I feel it is only fair if I am asking for my kids to tell me everything that I, in turn, tell them everything.  That sounds fair, right?

Of course, I do have some contingencies.  I don’t tell my kids about my past unless I think they are ready to hear it, and I always consult with their mother before I do so.  That is my policy.  I feel as though children have a right to know all about their parents, just as parents have a right to know all about their kids.  In truth what it really comes down to is when you go about telling them about your addiction past and how you go about telling them about it and under what circumstances you tell them about it.  That is ultimately what it all comes down to I feel.

With this in mind, I invite you to come to a decision on which you think is the best decision.  I invite you to arrive for yourself a conclusion as to what you think will be best for your kids.  Consider points like:

  • “What have they heard about me so far and what kind of effect did that have on them?”
  • “Are they old enough?”
  • “Are they on the verge of experimenting with drugs and alcohol themselves?”
  • “Have they already started abusing drugs and alcohol?”
  • “What would be the pros to be telling my kids about my addiction past?”
  • “What are the cons to me telling my kids about my addiction past?”

If you write all this out and make a list and answer all the questions honestly and truthfully then it will be pretty clear to you and plain to you what you need to do to effectively address this situation.

As a last note, I strongly encourage you to consult with your spouse on this matter. Whether your spouse is the parent of your kids or not, I strongly encourage you to involve them in this process and the overall decision too.  After all, it is just as much his or her responsibility to raise the kids as it is yours, so they should have a say in the matter just as much as you should.  In the end, a final exercise to do to decide which is the best decision is to think on it and work it out in your head and to try to think about how it could be successful and workable and what might happen that might make it unworkable.  Whichever direction you are leaning towards after that will be the right choice.