/ Worksite Wellness / In and Of the City: Defeating Addiction without Retreating from Life

In and Of the City: Defeating Addiction without Retreating from Life

Manny Rodriguez

A man covering is face with a bottle of alcohol

Addiction is not only a personal danger, with ruinous results for friends and families alike, as they endure an individual’s descent into emotional and physical destruction; it is also a threat to corporate wellness and office morale, where one employee’s struggles – that worker’s private ordeal of alcoholism, depression or other forms of chemical dependency – are very much a public battle of temptation and resistance.

All of which means businesses have a vested interest, as a matter of morality and simple economics, in helping their respective employees overcome addiction. For, without a sober and drug-free environment, a company’s greatest asset – the men and women who are the lifeblood of a corporation – can be just as toxic as the substances that pollute the body and poison the soul.

Solving the Addiction Problem

The answer to this problem is straightforward: Corporate wellness must include, for those workers dealing with addiction, a rehabilitative component; there must be a center that addresses the essence of addiction, enabling guests to regain their lives and avoid the otherwise high rate of recidivism that is an unspoken (but quite real) fact for most drug and alcohol rehab centers.

I write these words from experience, where, as the Founder and Executive Director of La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center (www.lafuentehollywood.com), I believe it is critical for such a facility to be both in and of the city.

Meaning: When the distinction between a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center and a five-star resort dissolves, when luxury and extravagance supplant sobriety and detoxification, then the victims are the guests themselves; the people weakened by despair, wrought by pain and wounded (perhaps permanently) by their inability to return to work.

So, yes, this issue is very much an inseparable part of corporate wellness.

And, while I ensure the comfort and privacy of each guest my colleagues treat, I believe it is crucial to create a haven for people that is not too far removed from the world they will reenter.

It is this invisible wall between the healing atmosphere of our center and the dynamism of a major city that gives our guests the one thing every person should possess and every professional should deliver: Perspective.

Without a sense of perspective, which is the ability to accept where you are and where you will return to, any transition from a rehab center to an office can be difficult (at best) or almost impossible (at worst).

The breakdown occurs because, and I issue this comment without any malice or disrespect (as if I should “compete” to win the favor of individuals in need of compassion), people leave a secluded oceanfront paradise . . . and immediately confront life in its entirety: The traffic, sounds, pedestrians, buildings and commerce of society – and they are unprepared for the sudden break from the land of majestic splendor to the streets of State and Main, so to speak.

As an issue of corporate wellness, companies need to be aware of these differences; they need to distinguish between the successful and the merely adequate, when directing an employee to a rehab center.

Reasonable Expectations and Consistent Outcomes: The 90-Day Process

Throughout this process, it is important to have reasonable expectations and some measure of, yes, perspective.

Over the course of 90 days, starting with residential treatment overseen by a psychiatrist and board certified therapists, followed by reintegration into occupational, social and family engagement, and concluding with sober community living and an Exit Plan for a fully independent recovery; with a structured foundation and reinforcement of the core principles necessary for healing, wellness can be the ultimate reward for workers and companies alike.

This outline, tempered by the intelligence and wisdom of professionals, is a way forward; it is a blueprint for leadership, and a guidepost for recovery.

It is, above all, a celebration of wellness.

About the Author

Manny Rodriguez is the executive director of La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center, a treatment center for men and women in the heart of Hollywood, CA that offers an integrated approach to overcoming drug and alcohol addiction through clinical therapy, 12-step involvement, nutrition, fitness and community support.

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