Executive intervention can be the key factor in convincing a substance abuser to recognize they have a problem and agree to commit to professional treatment. When most Americans think of substance abuse, they do not imagine executives of large companies. Rather, they imagine disheveled people barely keeping their lives together. This stigma works against anyone struggling with substance abuse, but executives in powerful and influential positions often struggle acutely with the effects a substance abuse problem can have on their professional reputations.
What Is Executive Intervention?
The intervention phase is a critical turning point in any addiction case. An intervention is an opportunity for the friends and loved ones of a person struggling with substance abuse to recognize the need for treatment and agree to enter rehab. During an intervention, participants tell the subject of the intervention how his or her behavior has impacted their lives. They express their support and desire to see the subject recover. However, navigating the intervention process for an executive or anyone in a position of power can be a daunting challenge.
An executive intervention is essentially an intervention held in a professional setting rather than a personal one. When company leaders notice a fellow executive’s substance abuse problem, or a usually high-performing employee begins showing signs of an addiction, an executive intervention may help more than an intervention with friends and family. These interventions can also be quieter overall than personal interventions. In fact, most executive interventions involve confidentiality agreements in which all participants agree to keep everything discussed strictly confidential to preserve the subject’s reputation.
This kind of intervention benefits the subject of the intervention by encouraging him or her to enter into rehab with the promise of job security following recovery. It also helps the subject realize that the most common reasons professionals and executives avoid discussing their substance abuse habits are not grounded in reality. Most companies would prefer to help a struggling employee or executive recover and return to work in better health as opposed to firing that employee and making the situation even worse.
Reasons Why Many Executives Do Not Seek Substance Abuse Treatment
A person does not need to hit rock-bottom before he or she needs substance abuse treatment, and people with substance abuse disorders rarely kick their bad habits without professional assistance. Many executives struggle to accept their need for substance abuse treatment, owing to misconceptions about substance abuse, what it really entails, and the nature of their work.
- Alcohol is a common staple of American social life, and many business functions, meetings, and celebrations involve alcohol consumption.
- Many executives feel that since they do such important work and still maintain productivity, their substance abuse habits are not a big deal.
- Executives may fear damage to their reputations if word of their substance abuse were to become public knowledge. They may also fear demotions or removal from their positions as some companies enforce strict policies concerning proper executive behavior and any action that could potentially damage those companies’ public reputations.
- Executives are responsible for the major decisions within a company, and some may feel their jobs are too important to take time off for rehab. This same mentality can affect employees at various levels within a company, compelling them to be as productive as possible and to hide their addictions as long as possible.
The substance abuse recovery process is in all cases very difficult. A family-oriented intervention for an executive or high-level employee with a substance abuse problem may not be as effective as an executive intervention hosted by a professional interventionist.
High-Functioning Substance Abuse
One of the major roadblocks facing professionals struggling with substance abuse disorders is high-functioning substance abuse, or the ability to maintain an addiction while still meeting personal and professional obligations. For example, a tech employee may be extremely productive at work due to Adderall abuse, which eventually leads to a crash. Another example would be the executive who comes home from work every day and pours a drink to unwind. Eventually, the habits these individuals perceive as necessary to maintain their professional success come back to haunt them when those habits blossom into full-blown addictions.
Staging A Successful Executive Intervention
When company leaders decide to stage an executive intervention, they must take several factors into consideration and plan accordingly.
- Organizers should decide on an appropriate venue for the intervention. For example, they may choose to set aside a conference room for a few hours to stage an intervention in the workplace.
- Company leadership should come up with a well-rounded plan for the professional future of the subject of the intervention. One of the major concerns of most people in this situation is losing a job due to substance abuse. Intervention participants should make it clear that the position will be waiting for him or her after rehab.
- An executive intervention should involve a professional interventionist who can host the meeting, help participants prepare, and encourage constructive discussions.
The major difference between an executive intervention and a personal intervention is this: the subjects discussed during an executive intervention are work-related. An individual who is suffering professionally due to a substance abuse disorder will likely find these discussions constructive and inspiring, especially if his or her major concerns with seeking treatment stem from the fear of professional repercussions.
Find A Professional Interventionist
Professional interventionists know how to approach executive interventions using proven methods. An executive intervention is not something a company can do off-the-cuff. These discussions require extensive preparation, ensuring that everyone involved is on board and willing to help make a positive change in a colleague’s life.
If you are considering an executive intervention for a member of your company’s C-suite or for a high-performing employee struggling with substance abuse, it is essential to find a professional interventionist with verifiable credentials, extensive experience with various types of substance abuse, and the resources to arrange a constructive and successful executive intervention.