Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Drug and alcohol addiction is a serious issue, which can unfortunately plague a family business. An addiction can result in true unrest in an otherwise well-functioning and successful family business. Situations in which the person with the addiction plays an integral role in the operation of the family business or the addiction is affecting someone who is expected to lead the business in the future are especially critical.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for the members of a family to either ignore or enable a family member with an addiction. Not wanting to “rock the boat” and potentially cause an already precarious situation to become worse is typical for many family businesses. However, no matter how the family chooses to handle the person with the addiction, the problem is not likely to go away on its own.
Not only does the person with the addiction need treatment, but the family does as well. It’s important to find appropriate therapy for everyone involved. While it’s important for an addiction to be conquered, it’s equally important for family members to learn how to cope and also to face the issue head-on. Denial about an addiction can easily result in the downfall of a family business.
Early Intervention Is Important
Nobody wants to admit their family member has a drug or alcohol addiction. While it might be easier to deny that the addiction exists when the family member is rarely seen, it becomes more difficult to ignore the problem when the family member is expected to be a contributing member of a family business. Some of the signs that a family member has a drug or alcohol problem include:
- The family member makes excuses for not being at work at time or at work for an entire day
- Constant bickering between the addicted family member and others about his or her work habits or work ethic
- The family member comes to work looking sloppy or has poor personal hygiene
- The family member is unable or unwilling to complete work related tasks
- When confronted about a drug or alcohol addiction, the family member denies it
When signs of a drug or alcohol addiction are noticed, it’s important to address the issue right away. It can be easier to combat an addiction in its earliest stages. Anyone involved in a family business that is concerned about another family member should seek the advice of a family elder as soon as the problem is noticed. If professional guidance is needed, it’s important to seek help as quickly as possible.
Know How to Handle Denial
Not only might family members be in denial that one of their own has a drug or alcohol addiction, the person with the addiction might also be in denial. If this is the case, finding a helpful support group or therapist is important. A support group or therapist can help teach family members how to handle the situation and how to avoid enabling the person with the addiction.
Decide How to Handle an Addiction Before It Happens
Your family business might be lucky and will never have to deal with a family member with a drug or alcohol addiction. But it’s impossible to know if a problem such as this will arise in the future. Protect your family business by addressing the issue of addiction in your family’s governance agreements. A governance agreement is something that might never have to be used. But if a drug or alcohol addiction does surface, you will be happy to have a pre-determined document that states how the situation will be handled. A governance agreement is something that provides a family business with peace of mind.
Does Your Family Business Need Help?
Family Business Matters has extensive experience providing guidance and advice to family businesses dealing with issues related to a drug or alcohol addiction. With many decades of experience, we understand the wide variety of challenges that families face as they work together to build, grow and sustain a thriving family business generation after generation. Through conferences, continuing education programs, family business retreats, speaking engagements and private family business consulting services, Family Business Matters has assisted more than 450 family-owned businesses around the world chart their way through family business issues of all shapes and sizes.
For more information on how Family Business Matters can help your family business survive and thrive, please contact us today at (970) 948-5077.