Addiction in the Workplace with Joseph Gardzina

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.7 million American adults (anyone over the age of 12) was battling a substance use disorder in 2017. Imagine how that statistic has changed in the years since, especially as we’ve navigated our lives through massive transformation and change.

If your organization has any number of people working within it, there’s a high likelihood someone is struggling with addiction. Some may be highly functioning, some may be getting the help they need and others may be staying silent in shame, unsure of the steps to take next. Addiction doesn’t discriminate and as humans, we need all the compassion and support we can offer each other, especially in our greatest times of need.

This week on the podcast, Joe Gardzina of Brazos Place and Adapt Programs in Texas is sharing how to avoid stigmatizing language when talking about addiction, how to be a supportive organization, and why we should lean on treatment and support rather than rigid consequences for those struggling with substance use.

Conversations are important, as is appropriate treatment and trauma-informed care.

This episode is as real as it gets and is an important one for anyone who leads people, whether you suspect substance use or not. The conversation is compassionate, intelligent and practical – love to hear what you think.

Listen on your favourite podcast player

About Joseph Gardzina:

Joe began his career in 1993 as a psychiatric technician at a Houston aftercare facility. Mr. Gardzina became an LCDC in 1996. Joe is Board Certified by the Texas Certification Board of Addiction Professionals. In addition, he is certified as both an Anger Resolution Counselor and US DOT Substance Abuse Professional. He has served as the program director for substance abuse treatment facilities in Houston, TX, and San Diego, CA.

Before founding ADAPT Programs in 2007, Joe worked for the Right Step in Houston as the Program Coordinator of their inpatient adolescent treatment program. He also was the Director of Programs for Phoenix House in San Diego, CA. In addition, he worked for the United Way for five years, serving as the Associate Executive Director. Joe and his beautiful wife Victoria are the proud parents of one child, William.

You can learn more about Joe by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Mentioned In This Episode:



people, employees, burnout, conversations, mental health, clients, folks, behavior, substance use disorder, addiction, support, employers, treatment, continue, called, workplace, addicted, drug, houston, business


Joe Gardzina, Lindsay Recknell

Lindsay Recknell  00:00

Welcome to season four of mental health in minutes. The podcast where we normalize mental health conversations at work, and share the strategies and tactics that make those conversations ones you actually want to have. I’m your host, Lindsay Recknell, the psychological health and safety advisor, a workplace mental health consultant, a speaker, facilitator and an expert in home. If you’re listening to this episode, you know, our people need us more than ever, and I know you want to support them, but maybe you don’t know the words to use to engage them in conversation, or how to respond when they do open up. That’s what this podcast is all about. My guests will share tactical, practical and simple ways to connect with your people. Let them know you care about them and are there to support them and believe in them enough to continue investing in their career and personal development. Each episode we’ll also discuss the future of mental health in the workplace, and the top ways we can engage our leadership in the workplace mental health conversation, and have them endorse and pay for a positive culture shift within our organization. It’s hard to put into words what the first three seasons have meant to me as a workplace mental health professional. I’m honored to learn from my guests and walk alongside them as they solve some of the biggest issues faced in their organizations today. One of these issues, dare I say the biggest issue I hear from leaders right now is that they and their people are suffering from burnout is syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress. Burnout is very personal to me. The first time I experienced burnout was November of 2017. And this experience started me on the path to learning everything I could about burnout and what I could do to prevent, especially at work, be assured you can stop the slide. Burnout is not forever, and you do have the power to come back from the edge of burnout, you and your people. I’ve included a few simple strategies and tactics in my free training try out a package of materials you can download for free right now from my website at mental health in Forward slash tryout. without too much effort on your part, you can get started engaging with your team and teaching them to stop the slide into burnout for themselves. Included in this training tryout, you’ll find two different lengths of presentations, a 15 minute and a five minute version, as well as the speaker’s notes for each along with a quick training video and a checklist to help you get started. Easy peasy. Just go dude mental health in forward slash tryout and download your free copy now. I’ll also link to the download in the show notes of this episode. Let me know how it goes. This week’s guest is someone I think you’re really going to love. Joe Gardena began his career in 1993 as a psychiatric technician at a Houston after care facility becoming an LCDC in 1996 and is board certified by the Texas Certification Board of Addiction Professionals. In addition, he is certified as both an anger resolution counselor and the US Department of Transportation substance abuse professional. He has served as a Program Director for substance abuse treatment facilities in Houston, Texas and San Diego, California. before founding adapt programs in 2007, Joe worked for the right step in Houston as the program coordinator for their inpatient adolescent treatment program. He was also the director of programs for the Phoenix House in San Diego, California. In addition, he worked for the United Way for five years serving as the Associate Executive Director, Joe and his beautiful wife Victoria are the proud parents of one child called William. Joe has so much to share, and I can’t wait for you to hear it. So let’s get going. Hello, welcome to the show. Joe, very happy to have you here.

Joe Gardzina  03:23

Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Lindsay Recknell  03:25

I would love to start the show off by having you share with us who you are and what you do.

Joe Gardzina  03:31

Okay, my name is Joe Gardena. I’m in Texas, south of Houston. We operate two separate companies. We have an inpatient medical detox and residential substance use disorder treatment facility called Brazzers place which has 56 beds, and it’s just a hairy monster. And then we have a separate business which is called a debt programs. A debt programs operates substance use disorder, outpatient services sort of all around Houston. Our business model is not that complicated. We just go to places where other people won’t go. So that’s essentially it. Those two programs work parallel in conjunction with each other. And we serve a couple 100 people a year.

Lindsay Recknell  04:14

You are doing very important work, especially over the last couple of years. I imagine has your support services changed over the last couple

Joe Gardzina  04:21

of years. I don’t know that our support services have changed our I mean, our training certainly has changed. I mean, we were so close to the border that we see a lot of we see a lot of fit now we see a lot of drug trends and uses before the rest of the country does just because we’re so close to the source. You know, Houston is a huge transnational hub for for drugs. So when they hit the Houston area and they change and they get converted into different analogs and different types of chemicals, and we’re usually the first folks to see that so we work pretty closely with the DEA and the FDA to kind of report What we’re seeing in real time.

Lindsay Recknell  05:04

I can’t even imagine the extra challenges that you would face because of that proximity as well. And although Have you seen? Have you seen a lot of changes in? I guess, the need for your services because of your proximity, especially over the couple of years, like have you seen usage increase? Have you seen changes in population?

Joe Gardzina  05:35

We’ve definitely seen, I don’t know that we’ve seen an increase and in usage of services, because we’ve always had, we’ve always had a waiting list, it’s just miles long, we have seen a change in clientele. You know, one of the things that, you know, the feds have really focused on closely is trying to shut down these illicit, they’re called pill mills, were essentially they’re run by sort of unscrupulous doctors, and they write these prescriptions all day for cash, feds have done a fantastic job of shutting those down. You know, the unintended consequences of that is, folks who we would never see in treatment in the past, are now in treatment, because they now do not have any access to the drugs that they used to be able to access through their, their, your their medical doctor. So, you know, once they’re addicted, they just don’t stop being addicted, because they don’t have easy access anymore, they go to the streets. So we’re seeing a whole lot more soccer moms, we’re seeing a whole lot more folks in treatment that we’ve never seen in the past. So our clientele is definitely changed.

Lindsay Recknell  06:34

That is, so I have a little bit of understanding of the world of addiction, having had some lived experience with the last four or five years. And one of the things that I have really learned in that time is that addiction doesn’t discriminate that our traditional stereotypical definition of somebody with a substance use disorder is not who is actually affected by this. And I think that there’s a message that I really want employers to hear. What thoughts do you have around addiction in the workplace?

Joe Gardzina  07:07

Well, it’s interesting, because in addition to owning this two companies, I’m also have some certifications through the feds, one of those is through the Department of Transportation. I’m what’s called a substance abuse professional. So essentially, if you are in a DLT regulated industry, and you test positive for any sort of drug, and you have to come see somebody like me, I have to assess you, I have to determine what your level of need is, if if there is a treatment need, ensure that you ensure that you’ve completed that referral, and then come back to me. So it’s been a little tricky, because on the state level, you’ve had a lot of a lot of laws change with the uses of marijuana. But with the Department of Transportation and the Federal Rules, marijuana is illegal is going to be illegal is never going to be legalized. So we get a lot of calls from folks who are like, Hey, I live in Massachusetts, but I took a job in Texas, and they won’t let me work because I’m positive for marijuana, but where I’m from, it’s legal. But you know, federal law always supersede state law. So that’s always a difficult conversation to have that regardless of what your state says, federal law is concrete, and it’s it’s not changing?

Lindsay Recknell  08:18

Do you support employers in navigating that or like giving them the language to have with these potential employees?

Joe Gardzina  08:30

That’s a difficult question. I because of the nature of the business that we’re in, we don’t allow it just for for obvious reasons. It’s, you know, you can you can say that lots of people have used marijuana in the past, and nothing bad has ever happened to them, and they’ve never gone forward in their addiction. And I think that’s fantastic. But I’ve never talked to somebody who admitted into our program who’s like, man, you know, I was addicted to heroin and cocaine. But man, once I started smoking pot, that’s when things got out of control. It never works like that. You know, marijuana has always in the beginning. And it is a gateway drug for folks who continue in their addiction. It just is, you know, it’s not a gateway drug for people who are not addicted, who don’t have addictive personalities are addictive traits in quality. So it’s very, it’s very complicated, and I don’t see it getting any easier for employers to navigate moving forward.

Lindsay Recknell  09:23

No, I absolutely don’t either. In fact, it’s probably going to get continued to get more complicated as maybe as state and federal continue to change and that continues to morph. It would be hard.

Joe Gardzina  09:37

I can see. I mean, I can see the wisdom on the federal side. I mean, on the you know, Department of Transportation side, those are all safety sensitive positions. So you know, do you really want somebody who’s smoke to join you know, walking into work and being at the control board with the benzene release valves and, you know, I mean, it’s, it really is a public safety issue. So, so I get it, I understand I understand their position. But it’s, you know, I think once states, once they figured out a way to monetize this thing, then all of a sudden it was okay. You know, because it’s a it’s a significant revenue source. So

Lindsay Recknell  10:12

the economics of the economics of the industry, so to speak, yes. So we think about employers, is there is there signs is there behaviors that employers can look for, for in their employees, where somebody may be struggling with a substance use disorder?

Joe Gardzina  10:35

Sure, it’s the same thing that we’ve heard for 30 years, you know, you have your your typical employee who, who suits up and shows up and produces quality work, you know, comes in early stays late, super high functioning, and all of a sudden, little telltale signs start to sort of show up, you know, they start showing up late for work, you know, they call in with multiple excuses about why they can’t make it in today. It’s kind of a joke in our business, that by the time you finished outpatient treatment, you’re gonna have blown all four of your tires, all of your water heaters in any and probably all your pets will be dead by the time treatment is over. Because that’s just, that’s part and parcel with addictive behaviors, making excuses and not being accountable. So as you see it progressed in the workplace. Other people start to know, other people start to notice and our our job has been, and it’s probably somewhat easier for us because we navigate this field on a daily basis is that we try to be super supportive when we do see those things. But it hasn’t always been that way. It really used to be when I first got into the field, it was, you know, if you use substances, and this was 19, I’ve been licensed since 1996. So it’s been a long time. You know, it was really those people. And those people are going to affect my good people, when really the message has become over time is that we’re all we’re all decent people. But we’ve all got our stuff, you know, when certain some people struggle in some areas, and some people struggle in others. But when you appropriately assess an addict, or an alcoholic, or a person with a substance use disorder, I try to get away from that stigmatizing language like addict or alcoholic. If they’re assessed correctly, and they’re priced in the right level of care, and they’re supported throughout the process, your chances of continuing to have a fantastic employee that you originally hired, and even better and more loyal and more supportive of your mission over time increases dramatically. But they’ve got to have the support in place.

Lindsay Recknell  12:42

I couldn’t agree with you more that the substance use disorder does not define the human does not define the individual. And with that proper level of support and care, they absolutely can get on that road to recovery. And so when you speak when you speak about the stigmatizing language, can we speak about that a little bit, because that is continuing to evolve? Again, many of you know, my last four or five years of of learning more about this, that has been something that’s really stuck with me is the language we use and the concept of person first, do you know about that? Yeah. Could you speak a little bit about that.

Joe Gardzina  13:22

So I can just tell you how the field has evolved, you know, in my perspective of how it’s evolved in a treatment used to be, you know, we’re talking high dollar white collar, very expensive treatment for years and yours, and yours was behavior, behavior, behavior, behavior, it was nothing but behavior, there was no consideration of the issues that led you to that level of use in the first place. It was all about kind of, let’s start at the end, let’s start at the end what we’re seeing with your behavior, and let’s just focus on that, which is important. You know, obviously, there, you know, our clients are, you know, they don’t always behave in a real pro social manner. You know, they tell us they manipulate, you know, it’s their job in their mind to protect what’s most important to them, and that’s their substance or their drug of choice. So they’re not going to be honest with you all the time. You gotta be prepared for that. But I think without getting too far in the weeds, I think a lot of times I think on a higher level, you know, I see a lot of folks with like Dow and Aetna and some of the behavioral health folks, really focusing on specific training with their employees about this is how we deal with these folks. We’re gonna have to treat them holistically. We’re gonna have to treat the whole person substance use does not define who this person is forever. In Yeah, I think there are a lot of folks that are doing good work with that. I think there’s also a lot of folks that pay a lot of lip service to that and secretly when the doors are closed or like, oh, that drunk or that, you know, that drug out there, you know how they are, you know, they’re never going to get better. And it’s just fundamentally not true. The data shows that if you know that it’s, there’s always an open question about is it a disease or not, and people much smarter than they have been debating that for years, you know, what I can tell you, what I know to be true is, whether it’s a disease or not, if you treat it as if it’s a disease, you treat it as if it’s chronic, it’s progressive, and it’s fatal. And you treat it in an ongoing fashion, like a disease, it responds positively. If you don’t treat it like a disease and treat it like a whole person issue, then you’re going to continue to see the behavior.

Lindsay Recknell  15:38

It is so refreshing to hear you speak because I am of this very similar opinions of you that if we can treat, we can treat it like a disease, we can recognize the human underneath, underneath at all and in their in, in their ultimate goodness as human beings and that this is something that is happening happening to them, because of whatever reason, but the whole, the whole idea of kind of trauma informed care what happened to you to get to this place as opposed to God, what’s wrong with that person? You know, and I think

Joe Gardzina  16:19

it’s a really big deal. I mean, trauma informed care, Whole Person Care holes, you know, centered, centered care, there’s a million different, there’s a million different approaches or descriptions for it, it’s really just about, okay, obviously, this client is exhibiting behaviors that aren’t, that aren’t pro social, and that don’t appear to be normal. But why is that, you know, as opposed to, they’re an alcoholic, if they’re an addict, and you know, that’s just how they behave. And that in the field has really changed tremendously. And I’m proud to be a part of it, you know, over the past 20 or 25 years, we the, the language has changed. And as the language has changed, and we’ve treated people as a whole person, our outcomes have been better. So I mean, we have more people getting better now, because we made the change, you know, we can’t look to the client all the time to be the change agent, because they didn’t come to us because they’re well, you know, they came to us because they have issues and they’re sick. And we need to help them help them get through that we don’t need to be jumping there with them and be a part of their illness. So

Lindsay Recknell  17:24

how do you help employers to understand this?

Joe Gardzina  17:28

Um, conversations like this, I think are important. You know, I generally get a lot of calls, after, you know, there’s already been some sort of HR intervention, the client has failed yet another drug test, or an alcohol test, he’s not supposed to be used to drinking or using on the job, obviously, what do we do, what you do is you should have called me six months ago, when this first started, and you should have had that very uncomfortable conversation with the client or with the employee about, hey, this is what we see. You know, this is the you that we hired, this is the you that we’re that we’re currently dealing with, we don’t know what’s going on. But clearly, we have some suspicions, we’re going to drug test you consistently, until your behavior changes, we’re going to offer outpatient treatment services to you. And we’re going to see how you respond. People are scared to have those conversations, fundamentally scared. And I understand that as an employer, there’s once you know you’re accountable. And a lot of people don’t want to be accountable. And so they don’t want to know, it’s much easier just to kind of put that in a box and say change your behavior, we’re going to terminate your employment. But our experience has been good employees are hard to come by. I mean, really high quality, high functioning folks who get it are passionate about our work, they’re hard to find. So it we’re really we’re really the you know, we’re in the self defeating loop. If we don’t try and help our employees through that process. And every once in a while we run into one and we just have to, we have to have that conversation. And yeah, it’s uncomfortable. It’s scary. It’s It’s uncertain. It’s not what they train you for in college. But you got to address it and you got to be you got to be upfront and honest about it and how it affects how it affects the work that you’re paying that employee to do.

Lindsay Recknell  19:31

And that is what this show is all about is is helping to normalize those kinds of conversations at work because they are super, super important. And if we think about it from the perspective of the person who is struggling, they are not doing these behaviors intentionally. They want to do good work, they want to feel supported and non judged and all of those things and so, my belief is that we’re if we have those kinds of conversations, we are helping to Support and validate and show how important that person is to, to us as humans to our overall organization. And like you said earlier, it is only going to breed that loyalty and desire to do better because they feel cared for and supported.

Joe Gardzina  20:16

Absolutely. And it’s not just our employees, I mean, a lot of times, you know, it’s kind of the Forgotten epidemic. And all of this is that how families are affected. So we have, you know, we have employees who, whose families are sort of in the midst of, you know, whether it’s a spouse, or a brother or sister or a child, who, you know, we want to be supportive of the family member, and that family member behavior, who’s active in their, in their use, directly affects our employee who’s not using it all. So we’ve got to be, you know, we’ve got to be supportive, and we’ve got to be, we’ve got to have uncomfortable conversations there too. That, you know, we care about you, and we support you, and we want the best for you and your family. But you have to understand that what’s going on at home, it’s almost impossible to not bring it to work, but you have got to limit that as much as possible. Because you have a responsibility to the employer, you have a responsibility to the family. So we’ve got to be firm, we can’t be overly sensitive and say, Oh, whatever happens happens, and just come tell us and we’re going to be flexible, because that defeats that defeats our, you know, our mission as a business. You know, we’re here to help other clients, we can’t chase manage our own employees, we’re here to case manage our clients. And not our not our HR department. So. So yeah, it’s a struggle. It’s definitely a balance. I had a mentor a long time ago that said, you have to maintain a rigid standard of flexibility. And that made a lot of sense to me. Now. You know, when I was younger, I’m like, Oh, this guy has no idea what the hell he’s talking about. But now it makes perfect sense, I get it every case is different. And HR doesn’t lend itself to addiction and mental health issues. It’s it lends itself more to specific events. And this is what happens. And this is how we address it as a company. And our employee had a wreck in a company car, what do we do with no feelings or emotions involved with that? It just is. But with mental health and substance abuse, there’s feelings, and there’s motions, and it’s uncomfortable, and it’s just a different beast, altogether.

Lindsay Recknell  22:25

Oh, I’m so speaking of that flexibility, because that, that resonates so strongly, especially over the last couple of years, the number of conversations I have had with HR around how to adjust policy, how to adjust governance, to embrace the need for flexibility, because as you say, our world continues to evolve. And I almost think we have to build flexibility in we can’t manage by exception, we just have to build flexibility in sure how the heck do we do that?

Joe Gardzina  23:03

In, I can only speak to our business. And then prior to COVID there was no way that people were going to work from home, I just wasn’t gonna allow it, you know, you’re gonna, you’re gonna come to an office, you’re gonna do the work, you’re gonna see the client face to face. Because that’s what we pay you a significant amount of money to do, we’re going to support you in the process, we’re going to give you everything that you need to be successful, but you’re not doing that from home, and not an option, not going to happen. So March of 20, everything changed. We had clients that weren’t coming in, everybody’s walking around, sort of, you know, everybody’s full of misinformation, nobody really has accurate info, nobody knows what’s real, and what’s not as far as COVID is concerned, and it really forced us to have uncomfortable conversations with ourselves internally as a team. And what I came to find out about it was, I mean, over time, our production has increased, the more flexible we’ve been in allowing people to split their schedule up and work from home. But I had a tremendous fear that people were going to people are going to be at home, and they’re gonna be bathing their dog, and you know, cleaning the garage and not taking care of the company’s business. And what I found is that’s really just about me. It’s really about, you know, my perception, my own fears about what employees aren’t going to do, or will do. That I had to, you know, our HR folks really caught with me and said, Listen, we hire professional people to do a professional job, we still have the ability to measure their effectiveness and how they contribute to the company. Let’s give it a try. And I’m glad we did. Because I was scared and I wasn’t flexible. And I was close minded. I didn’t want to do it. But I’m glad that I’m glad that I kind of got out of my own way and just let it happen because it’s been a positive thing.

Lindsay Recknell  24:58

And I think that that’s an extra variants that so many would echo be. Because when we don’t know, we don’t know, until we’re forced to make a change that we can adapt with. And

Joe Gardzina  25:13

our business is a little different in that. I feel like and maybe this is selfish and self centered, and maybe a little narcissistic, but I feel like our I feel like our employees represent me. I mean, I started this company, out of my trunk, essentially driving around doing groups trying to save money for that first office. So I’m very protective about the work product. And I’m very concerned about it not being what it needs to be. And I there was no way that I could assume that if you’re working from home, that the work product is what it’s going to need to be. But I was wrong. And our clients love it. Absolutely love it. Our attendances increased, our revenues increased. We’ve opened two additional offices in the midst of a pandemic when everybody’s shutting down. So live and learn, you know, be open to be open to change.

Lindsay Recknell  26:07

But isn’t that also a case study in treating people like, professionals, like you say, I mean, if we think about, so let’s just think about the the future of work and why mental health at work is so important, right? People often say to me, how do we measure that? How do we what’s the dollars and cents behind implementing mental health programming? And how is it going to improve my bottom line? Well, there you go, right, you take care of your people, you make them feel like they are responsible adults who can make choices for themselves, your productivity goes up, you’ve opened additional offices, your client satisfaction rates are higher. I mean, you are a case study, and I suspect that that is out there common out there as well.

Joe Gardzina  26:50

Sure, if you were to ask me that two years ago, I would have been like, there’s, there’s absolutely no way that it’s going to look like that. Because I was, you know, I’m 52 years old, you know, I, I got sober personally when I was 23. So, you know, I’ve, I’ve got like this vast sort of view of what treatment should look like, what it looks like, what I want it to look like, as as a company owner, and those don’t always match, I have really struggled with this new, you know, with the younger, with the younger population, you know, who really wants to feel as if they’re valued, and I didn’t come up that way, I came up in more of a show up early work, lay absolutely grind yourself to death, and hopefully somebody will notice and you’ll get promoted. And I didn’t really care about what people thought, or then if I felt valued, I just knew what I needed to do. And then all that stuff is so old, so outdated, none of that stuff applies anymore. So it’s been a struggle for somebody like me, who’s now 52, you know, to really, to trust people, you know, like to really fundamentally trust people. Because I felt like I did before and so many areas of my life but not work. You know, it’s like, if I let go just a little bit, everything’s gonna go to hell. And that’s not true at all. You know, the more I let go, the harder people were.

Lindsay Recknell  28:16

What was the tipping point? What changed for you? I suspect there’s a lot of people listening in that exact same demographic and generation that we’re we grew up as managers. And with that, I don’t know. dictatorial? I don’t know if that’s the right word, but like, dictatorial?

Joe Gardzina  28:31

Yeah. Yeah. Which is the whole reason we decided to kind of do our own thing. At least I did. You know, I think the tipping point for me was, you know, I was more concerned about long term viability than I was about my feelings. Right. The second and I was willing to be open to, to alternative viewpoints. I mean, that’s how we made it this far. It’s not being, you know, kind of concrete and rigid and inflexible, you know, we just kind of we try to meld with where the, where the field is going. And, you know, I can do that with my clients all day. But if I don’t do that with my employees, then, you know, we’re kind of fighting against each other. And I don’t want to do that your behavior is not aligning to your values or your stated values, either. Sure, sure. Absolutely. I mean, what I’ve, what I found through that process, I thought I’d done a lot of work with no letting go, and I could control and all those types of things. And what I learned was a lot of areas where I was just as controlling and inflexible, just because I couldn’t give you one piece of data or one reason to justify it, except that because I felt that way. And then I just had to get it out of that, you know, I just had to get it out of there and get out of my own way. And it’s, I’m glad I did.

Lindsay Recknell  29:48

Well, and obviously it’s turned into something quite wonderful for you and for your team as well.

Joe Gardzina  29:54

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we get we have the opportunity to serve more clients. Um, Providing more high high quality services, which is the whole reason that we got into this field in the first place is that I’ve just, I’ve never been satisfied with the quality of treatment, I think it’s terrible out there. And I think there’s a lot of folks that have been in the field for a long time, and they never been challenged. And we show up, and we just kind of challenged the norm. And we just kind of turn things on its head and our clients are getting better. And to me, that’s what it’s all about.

Lindsay Recknell  30:24

The path to recovery, that is what it’s all about. If there are HR leaders, or HR professionals and leaders listening to this show, is there a final parting piece of advice you would like to share with them?

Joe Gardzina  30:39

Hire slow, and fire fast. You know, hire slow, do your research. But if but if an employee is just consistently giving you behavior, that tells you that they know, it’s not our responsibility to want somebody to get better, more than they do, even if they’re an employee of ours. And I think we get I think that gets twisted a lot is that we, I think fundamentally, as humans, we want to help people, we want to be supportive of people during their during their times of struggle, but when it affects the business, and you’ve given folks the opportunity to make that change, but yet they make a conscious decision to continue in that behavior. You as an employer have to make a decision, what am I willing to do? Do I want to continue to put the business at risk in order to help this person? Or do I want to continue to give this person that maybe the best thing I can do for them is to let them go. And they need to, you know, I can take that cushion away, and they need to, they need to feel what they need to feel in order to make the changes they need to make. So you know, I, I’ve gotten much, much, I don’t want to say less compassionate over the years, but I’ve certainly gotten a lot quicker to, hey, this is a decision that you’re making continuously. It’s not about me, it’s not about our company, and you need to go on and do what you need to do. I’ll give you all the resources and tools you need right now to be successful. But if you don’t take advantage of those, I can’t continue to have you here. So

Lindsay Recknell  32:11

and I, as I was hearing you speak, I was also replacing the word employer with, like, family member or dependent or something like that, because the conversation is is very, very similar. Yeah.

Joe Gardzina  32:27

And it affects the bottom line. I mean, we can’t, just because somebody is struggling doesn’t mean that we gotta have to take our eye off the fact that we pay that people, we pay those folks to provide a service for our business. And if that service is being affected by something that’s going on outside of there, and we’ve given those folks the opportunity to address that and they don’t, then that’s not about us, that’s about them. And we need to let responsibility leg where it is i i can’t want you to get better more than you do.

Lindsay Recknell  32:54

What a perfect place to end our conversation. Cannot want you to get better more than you do.

Joe Gardzina  32:59

It has to be equal, equal. Equal part. Yeah. I’ll do whatever I can to help you. But I am not going to work harder than you do.

Lindsay Recknell  33:09

That is That is perfect. I love it. How can people find you? How can they get ahold of you?

Joe Gardzina 33:17

We have two websites, adapt programs, And browsers place is our inpatient program, pra Z OS PLA And then we’re opening another facility sort of east of Houston, within the next month, which is going to be 100 beds, detox and medical detox and residential, which just terrifies me and excites me all at the same time. So yeah, I mean, we’re continuing to to meet the need in our community. So it’s a good thing.

Lindsay Recknell  33:50

Yeah. It’s a wonderful thing. Joe, thank you so so much for sharing your brilliance in your experience. I could honestly talk to you about this topic for ever and ever. Amen. Thank you for joining me. It’s a real pleasure.

Joe Gardzina  34:01

Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.

Lindsay Recknell  34:03

Enjoy the rest of your day.  This conversation with Joe resonated with me so much. If you’ve heard any of my story over the last five years, you know that addiction and its impact on mental health is very near and dear to my heart. And I believe so much in the positive impact of the work Joe and his team are doing. I could talk about this topic forever, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll talk more about burnout with you. At the beginning of the show. I mentioned the free training you can try it with your teams all about stopping the slide into burnout, that feeling of overwhelm and endless stress so many of us are experiencing right now. To complement those materials which you can download for free from my website at, I’ve also created a 60 minute live virtual or in person workshop titled from burnout to hope, which has been transformational for so many organizations. You and your team will leave this workshop understanding how to identify the signs of burnout and yourselves and others how to put into action the evidence based strategies and tactics to reverse feelings of overwhelm and languishing and activate the hope circuit In your brain for a future even better than today. It’s helpful, practical and transformative, and I’d love to bring it to your organization. On our website, you’ll find more information about this workshop as well as the mental health and minutes digital subscription had done for you package presentations and other content designed to help you make meaningful connections with your people to increase knowledge and education about mental health related topics, and normalize these kinds of conversations in your workplace. The thing we do best at mental health minutes is open the door to conversations about mental health at work, and episodes like this give us real things we can try to truly make a difference. Being a people leader is especially hard right now, you might feel like you’re managing both up and down the corporate ladder. And at the thought of figuring out how to best support your people and yourself feels overwhelming and impossibly hard. Let’s talk. We’re here to do the heavy lifting for the resources and materials along with the training and facilitation, leaving you to do what you do best engaging with and supporting your people. We have many ways to support you from full service hands on the guidance and support from afar. So let’s chat about what works best for you and your people. As always, I’m here if you need me.

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