A man or woman with a drinking problem should be given help. They are suffering from a deadly disease which in the UK will kill nearly 9 thousand people this year. More generally, addiction to alcohol or alcoholism, as it is often referred to, is a problem at all levels of our society and in its organisation of work. Addiction is like an iceberg individually and collectively. What we see is as nothing compared to what lies beneath. The people impacted by the illness in an individual, start with the family who see more of the illness and the destructive behaviour, then the friends, then the co-workers and finally the employer becomes aware. The employee is frightened, burdened by guilt and wants to conceal his illness and continue to drink and or use. That is his only relief. That is the anxiety medicine.
NHS data on the size of the problem
Like the iceberg, for each one that is known there maybe another nine that you know nothing about. Here is what the NHS say: “Alcohol-related admissions to hospital have grown by 17% over the last decade – in 2016/17 there were 337,000 estimated admissions – 2.1% of the total. Alcohol-related harm is estimated to cost the NHS in England £3.5 billion every year.”
What can employers do
So, how can good employers large and small respond? Generally, by a systematic engagement with the problem and that starts with understanding its nature, scale and how we can deal with it. Today most large organisations public and private understand most of this but it still needs to be said for many smaller employers, rightly, are primarily focussed on their business activity and not fully aware.
AA with its 85 years’ experience and millions of recoveries is ready to engage with any organisations who are keen to return valued employees to a productive healthy life. We have education, training and support for HR and other work-related support services. Our Chit System enables employees to demonstrate to HR and other professionals attendance at our meetings as part of an agreed recovery programme.
Have a look at our Videos for Professionals .
The largest, most rigorous independent study on Alcoholics Anonymous to date shows that AA can help people get sober, stay sober, drink less, and suffer fewer negative consequences of drinking, all while keeping health care costs down. The video below is of scientists John Kelly (Harvard/MGH) and Keith Humphreys (Stanford/VA) discussing their findings published 3/11/20 by the Cochrane Collaborative.