Addicted individuals exist all around us. In a sense, we all have some form of addiction, whether it is healthy (like exercise) or not so healthy (such as popping Vicodin like it was candy). It is an unfortunate state of affairs that for the most part, people in the workplace who have addictions tend to lose their abilities as they fall deeper and deeper into the cycle of addiction. While a lot of business owners would find it all too easy to simply wash their hands of the situation and kick the addicts who are not performing well to the curb, this is not necessarily the best way. After all, nobody is perfect, and firing people does not help them, especially when it feels like “kicking them when they’re down.”
When you consider that an addict is not a bad person, but merely a sick one, it seems downright cruel to just throw them out of your company because of their addiction. Would you throw someone out because they had cancer, or because they had diabetes or AIDS? If you would, you deserve to (and when the lawyers get their hands on you, you will) have terrible things happen to you. If you are a reasonable human being, however, you will at least make an effort to help the addicted individuals who are in your organization.
Of course, part of the recovery process is up to the addict themselves. You can not do it for them. However, you can help them through allowing them a leave of absence, directing them to a site like Rehab-Interneational.org, and reassuring them that this matter will stay private and will not impact their future employment with you. If they are reassured that their job is not in jeopardy, and that you care enough about them to be kind, they might just have the boost they need to get through the hellish experience that they are going to go through.