There are a number of warning signs, for an employer that someone on the payroll may be dealing with substance abuse. They include frequent absences, disappearing from the work site, declining work performance, and attitude changes just to name a few. One symptom that I have observed, yet never seen mentioned, is skipping work on payday.
Recently, I was standing in the take out line of a local restaurant. The man behind me, asked the employee behind the counter about another male who worked for this establishment.The employee’s response was that their mutual acquaintance, had called to say he would not be in. He added with a snicker, that this man always missed work on payday.
Their conversation brought back memories for me. Beginning at age 14, and for the next 20 years I was employed in professional office settings. In 1989 I began working as a nurse assistant. My goal was to eventually become a licensed nurse. After the birth of third child in 1992, my plans changed.
During my 3 years in the health care profession, I noticed something that I had never encountered while working in a business setting. A number of people would call in sick on payday. Sometimes, I would see co-workers at 2:00 p.m. looking healthy when they picked up their checks. Within the hour, before the 3:00 pm. shift began, 4 or 5 of these individuals would have called in sick.
Money, is a serious trigger for addicts. I have watched men and women, operate normally for an entire week, or two, and on payday their addiction kicks in big time. As soon as money is in their hands, they are on the move The craving for their substance takes over to the point that they risk and often lose jobs because they cannot help themselves.
As a minister I have counseled wives, who are praising God because they believe their spouses are showing signs of kicking crack cocaine. Their lives seem normal for 14-15 days, and on payday all hell breaks loose, and the cycle begins again.
The National Center for Alcohol Abuse released a report in 2007, indicating that close to 20% of all alcoholics are high functioning. This means they are able to keep their addiction secret to most people in their lives. They go to work, church and live their lives seemingly normal.. Nestled between the full blown alcoholics/addicts, and those who are high functioning, are the ones who binge on payday.
I had a male relative who was married with 3 children and working 2 full time jobs. He said he believed he was called to be in ministry. One day he shared that he was OK Monday through Friday, but from Friday evening until Sunday morning it was as if something took him over, and he could not control himself. This relative was paid by both jobs on Friday.
Not long after this, my relative promised his wife he was going to watch movies with her and his children. He left home going to the store, and ran into some get high buddies. They went swimming at night while drunk and high, and my family member drowned.