The Role of Workplace Support Groups in Sustaining Recovery

Anyone who has struggled with addiction will tell you how difficult it can be once the decision is made to get on the path to recovery. Before the recovery process can adequately begin, there needs to be a support network in place, and this can be one of the most challenging steps. Drug and alcohol addiction makes people feel excluded from many aspects of society because of various generalisations and stigmas that hold towards substance abuse. However, as each year goes by, more people are able to understand and empathise with people suffering from substance abuse disorder. This has led to the emergence of workplace support groups in companies all over the world. These initiatives provide the support that someone needs to sustain their recovery, helping thousands of people every single day. 

What is a workplace support group?

A workplace support group is generally considered a safe space within a workplace for people to discuss highly personal topics and get support for anything they might be struggling with in or outside of work. It can come in the form of one-on-one or group discussions, depending on the employee’s personal preference. Each company with a workplace support group will have its own way of running it, and it will be tailored to the specific needs of its employees. Besides being a safe and supportive environment for individuals within a company, workplace support groups bring several additional benefits to a business’s culture, well-being, and productivity. If the concept of workplace support groups is new to you, you will be truly amazed. 

How workplace support groups enhance the workplace and the lives of everyone in it

It goes without saying that the more positive a workplace is, the better it runs, and the happier people are to be there. Workplace support groups are possibly one of the most positive things an employer can introduce to the workplace, so what exactly are the benefits? 

Creates a supportive environment – We have all been part of a workplace that makes us feel unappreciated at some point throughout our lives. Not having the relevant support can cause us to loathe our jobs at the best of times. Knowing that there is a safe space to discuss sensitive topics dramatically enhances the environment for everyone, even if they don’t need to use it. 

Reduces Stigma – One of the primary kickbacks when tackling substance abuse disorder can be the general stigma that people have towards it. The presence of a workplace support group encourages everyone to understand addiction and relinquish any judgment they once had. Being accepted can massively improve a person’s chances of successful recovery. 

Provides structure and security – When someone wants to overcome substance abuse disorder, they require a safe and structured environment. Having a workplace support group encourages people to become proactive in making a successful recovery plan. 

Promotes positive peer pressure – We often deem peer pressure to be a negative thing, but it doesn’t always need to be that way. In a support group, people are there to encourage each other to stay on track and steer them away from relapse. This can be one of the most crucial tools a workplace can have if an employee is in the process of addiction recovery. 

Improves communication – Substance abuse disorder can be difficult for some people to talk about. Whether it is the person dealing with their addiction or someone who has never been around drugs or alcohol, workplace support groups make it much easier to have a conversation about the subject, which helps people develop confidence and understanding and makes everyone feel comfortable. 

Reduces stress – A workplace can be a source of stress for many of us, but creating a positive and caring environment reduces it for everyone. Knowing that measures are in place to take care of employees goes a long way in creating morale throughout the workplace. 

Educates employees – One of the biggest problems with substance abuse disorder is a lack of education on the subject. Many are told that people on drugs are bad, but that simply isn’t the case. Everyone is susceptible to substance abuse disorder, so it is crucial for people to understand precisely what it is and how it occurs. 

Provides professional development opportunities – A workplace support group can also give employees a chance to participate in professional development training. This can massively improve employees’ lives and the workplace’s reputation. 

Act as legal protection – Anyone who runs a business will tell you that the more legal protection you have, the better. Providing a supportive environment for employees if they are struggling with substance abuse disorder or any other external issues can safeguard a company in multiple ways. Depending on the circumstances, if a safe space is not provided within a company, it can make them liable for prosecution. 

Improves employee retention – Everyone wants to work in a supportive environment, and providing a workplace support group is one of the best ways to create one. Employees are much more likely to stay with a company when they know they will be supported no matter what. 

How a workplace support group promotes and sustains recovery

As you can see, a workplace support group can dramatically enhance the atmosphere of a workplace. Still, it is also important to know how important it is for a person suffering from substance abuse disorder. 

Builds confidence – One of the reasons people with substance abuse disorder struggle with their confidence is the lack of support and understanding from those around them. Confidence plays a massive role in addiction recovery, and the more often people feel it, the more likely their recovery will be a success. 

Provides a chance to practise and develop coping skills – One of the significant causes of relapse is not knowing how to deal with triggers. A support group offers a 

place where people can discuss coping mechanisms and come up with ideas on how to deal with cravings as they come about.  

Helps with reintegration – When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they can often feel like an outcast. It is common for people without the correct support to struggle with reintegration once they have finished their rehabilitation program. If there is a support group within the workplace, people feel comforted, enabling them to easily adapt to their old life. 

Promotes general well-being – Coming out of rehab can be an intense experience. Often, close friends and family members are so focused on avoiding relapse they forget about a person’s general well-being. A workplace support group provides a place for people to focus on this in those times when others might forget to. 

Reduces relapse rate – Relapse can happen for various reasons, but the most challenging time for people who have overcome substance abuse disorder is roughly one year after their recovery starts. By this time in a person’s recovery journey, close friends and family are usually convinced that the addiction has completely disappeared. This false sense of security means a person’s support network becomes weakened. However, if that person has a workplace support group, they will have precisely what they need to help them abstain throughout one of the most difficult stages of recovery. 

Challenges and considerations

While workplace support groups offer a tremendous amount of support for employees, there are some challenges and considerations to keep in mind. 

  • It is essential to ensure absolute confidentiality is maintained. Breeches of privacy and trust not only have legal implications but can hinder a person’s recovery.
  • Workplaces must adhere to legal and ethical guidelines if they are providing support for employees in recovery. 
  • Workplace support programmes need to be considerate towards an individual’s needs and often be tailored to accommodate everyone.
  • Everyone who participates in a workplace support group must never feel pressured into doing so. 
  • It is a good idea to complement a workplace support group with counselling, employee assistance programmes, and other addiction treatments.

Do you need help and advice concerning addiction recovery and your workplace?

As you can see, a workplace support programme can offer fantastic benefits to everyone. However, there is undoubtedly much that needs to be considered. If an employer is interested in starting a workplace support group, it is essential for them to seek guidance from a fully qualified professional. Workplace support groups can enhance the likelihood of success in a person’s recovery journey, but it must be done correctly. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse disorder, it is imperative to find the proper support within all social networks as well as professional help and guidance. At Calm Rehabilitation Centre, we know how tough the journey can be. Our team consists of highly qualified and experienced staff who are there to support people in every possible way. From giving guidance to starting or approaching workplace support programmes to providing professional help in achieving abstinence, we are waiting to help. 

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