Create welcoming environments for recovering addicts in the office

Work Relations with a Recovering Addict

Your good friend who works a cubicle over from you is in recovery. In fact, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 70% of the almost 15 million Americans who abuse substances are employed. And the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence says Marijuana is the most commonly used and abused illegal drug by employees, followed by cocaine, with prescription drug use steadily increasing. Maintaining good relations that are both comfortable and welcoming with your coworkers that are recovering addicts is important.

That can prevent them from joining you (or joining in) at the beer-soaked Super Bowl party, after-work drinks, or even alcohol-laced Christmas parties so what can you do to bond with them that doesn’t involve that social lubrication known as alcohol?

How do you know which of your workmates are in recovery if they haven’t actually told you? An article on Inc. discusses how to spot an addict.

Signs of Addiction

  • Worsening personal hygiene, being disheveled
  • Slurring speech
  • Somnolence (that’s drowsiness for the non-medical among us)
  • Being moody or irritable
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Spending time behind locked doors
  • An alteration in the quality of work
  • Asking for less work or special consideration much more than usual for unexplained reasons
  • Unexplained absences

The first thing you should do, especially if you’re in management, is to set boundaries. They’ll be respected by the person in recovery and will set a baseline so that you’re not disappointed by, nor wind up, enabling the person in recovery

Steps Suggested by US News�

Treading Lightly

Planning for Denial

Consider Intervention

Avoid Enabling

Put Policies in Place

Offer Support

But what if you’re not in management? Setting boundaries is still a good idea but there are so many other things to do to bond with the person in recovery that doesn’t include alcohol.

Maybe you can throw an alcohol-free work party. How do you go about doing that?

Making a Welcoming Environment for Addicts

Make It Clear

Like any party, you want your guests to understand what they are coming to.

Pick a Theme

Whether it is White Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day lawn games or Roller Disco Party, have a theme and go all out with it. Having a holiday theme will help guide you as you plan your non-alcoholic evening.

Drinks for All!

Come up with a few mocktails that all guests will love; whether it’s a non-alcoholic blood orange mojito, a fresh hot apple cider, or a house made Pinata Surprise (recipes here!), make sure they look great and taste better.

Fill Their Stomachs

Depending on your theme, have a handful of appetizers and hors d’oeuvres like baked brie, mini latkes, or cold shrimp cocktail.

Party Fun

A ‘self-made photo booth‘ is always an exciting addition. If your party is outside, get your fire pit cranked up and build a s’mores station. It will make your guests feel like kids again.

The Memorable Moment

What sets a party apart from others is creating a memorable moment that no one will forget.

Have a Festive Blast

Alcohol is not what makes a party, it is the spirit of those who attend. Turn on some music, grab yourself a mocktail, and jump into a few Photo Booth pictures.

Maintaining Relations with Recovering Addicts

But you don’t have to focus on the bigger, ‘obvious’ choices (like alcohol-free everything). As Carly Benson puts it, redefine what fun means to you:

‘Taking the time to see what feels good and brings you joy will help you redefine how you view and have fun. When we take a step back from what we used to do for fun, we realize we can be entertained in healthier ways, which bring us more happiness and peace. Feeling peaceful is definitely the jam once you get sober and you’ll find there is truly nothing better.’

If you’re a good friend to a co-worker who’s in recovery do NOT:

Sabotage them

Remind them of what they used to be

Engage in conflict

Instead, maintain a calm and professional demeanor throughout; treat your co-worker as you would have them treat you, and don’t worry about treading on thin ice. If you’re doing your best to understand, then they should accept that innocent mistakes will be made. And just like that, your work relations with a recovering addict will bloom.


Casa Capri Recovery

Our program offers the highest quality care for women struggling with addiction and co-occurring conditions.

We are fully licensed by the State of California and our treatment center is accredited by The Joint Commission – the standard of excellence in quality programs.

Casa Capri Recovery is Proud to be an 

Approved Anthem Blue Cross and

Tri-Care Provider


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If you or a loved one has a substance addiction, please give us a call today at 949-535-4998. It’s time to heal your heart and find true happiness. Our admissions team is always available to talk and answer any questions you may have about our Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs at Casa Capri Recovery for women.