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Why Supporting Recovery is Good For Business

Companies, no matter their size, are becoming more proactive in recognizing the economical and cultural benefits of being better informed about substance misuse and ways to support talent who are seeking help. Unfortunately, stigma still exists around substance misuse and mental illness creating significant challenges for people who are in need of support. A recent survey found that 42% of people believed addiction was a moral failing and 65% said it is a justifiable reason to fire an employee, both of which we know not to be true.

As Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation states, “Today, the stigma of addiction is seen as
a primary barrier to effective addiction prevention, treatment and recovery efforts at the individual, family, community and societal levels.”


Substance use disorder is a chronic disease, not a moral failing. There are ways you
can fight the stigma and support recovery at your workplace:

  • Talk openly about addiction & recovery
  • Pay attention to your language
  • Be supportive of others
  • Know the facts
  • Celebrate recovery


The way we talk about substance misuse matters. By changing our language, we can help reduce the shame and stigma associated with this disease:

  • Instead of “addict”, “junkie”, “druggie” say “person with substance use disorder”
  • Instead of “abuse” say “misuse”
  • Instead of “dirty” say “actively using”
  • Instead of “clean” say “in recovery” or “substance-free”


Here are some additional ways to engage employees and support recovery at your company:

  • Participate in one prevention or recovery focused community event each year
  • Provide stress management, wellness, and self-care education
  • Establish a relationship with a local recovery community organization (RCO) as a resource for employees
  • Provide a variety of non-alcoholic options at company wide events (everyone will enjoy tasty non-alcoholic options)
  • Encourage healthy after-hour activities in addition to or in lieu of happy hour
  • Send anonymous employee surveys to ask for feedback and suggestions surrounding the recovery friendly culture you’re seeking to build

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