It may be difficult to believe that doctors, lawyers, judges, airline pilots and Fortune 500 corporate executives suffer from addiction, yet it is important to understand that addiction is an equal opportunity disease affecting professionals in the same way as it does for everybody else.
An executive intervention is an excellent option for individuals who are highly productive and functional in the workplace and who suffer from the disease of addiction.
In these cases, the employers or partners of the professional are faced with the reality that addiction is a progressive disease, and that it is just a matter of time before the addiction causes productivity to decline, a work related accident or incident to occur, or deteriorating health, leaving the employer/partner no choice but to dismiss the once highly valued worker.
In the case where the employer is fully aware of the substance abuse problem, they can be a highly motivating force in the executive intervention. While it is preferable for the addict to make the decision on their own to accept treatment, oftentimes the addiction may be preventing any level of rational thought necessary to make such a decision. If the message delivered by the employer/partner at the executive intervention is grounded in complete support and with the assurance that the addict's position of employment will remain, provided treatment is accepted, the addict has an added incentive to accept treatment and begin the process of recovery.
There are situations where employers may not be aware of the employee's substance abuse problems. The family and friends are painfully aware of the addiction, yet the addict has been successful at hiding it from the workplace. The family may be justifiably concerned that it is just a matter of time before the addiction causes problems at work and jeopardizes the addict's employment status. In this case, the family must exercise great care in the executive intervention. It is ill advised to announce to employers and partners of the addict the existence of the addiction and the desire to go forward with an executive intervention without first consulting with an intervention specialist and discussing the risks and issues relative to any such disclosure.
Another issue that frequently appears in executive interventions is ego. I've intervened addicts on every level of the economic spectrum, and, for the most part, they have been charismatic and highly intelligent individuals. In an executive intervention, egos may have been elevated to a higher level. Advanced education, financial status and professional degrees and licenses sometimes create an additional defense mechanism that interventionists face in an executive intervention. As an example, it would not be unusual to expect quite a bit of negotiating and outright objections when intervening an attorney. The executive or professional status of the addict should not be construed as intimidating or a deterrent from going forward with the executive intervention. It does, however, illustrate the need for considerable preparation in the pre-intervention meeting.Perhaps the most important factor to consider if you have a friend or family member who is suffering from addiction, is that addiction is progressive (gets worse over time) and that it can be fatal (accidents and a multitude of health related issues). Simply put, good things don't happen to people suffering from addiction and the problem rarely goes away on its own.
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