Q. I had a wonderful salesman working for me for 25 years. He was very gregarious and our customers loved him, but as years went on he began drinking more and more. He began coming in with a few under his belt in the morning. We understood it was because his wife was terminally ill and the alcohol was helping him cope, but the problem became so serious I had to let him go. It's been a year, and his wife died, and he called and asked if he can return to the company. He told me that after a stay in rehab he joined Alcoholics Anonymous. He said goes to meetings regularly, has a sponsor and several support people helping him and he has been sober several months. Do I take him at his word and give him a job again? We had some unpleasant incidents before he left and I don't want a repeat of that.
Ans. If he is sober when he speaks with you, seems sincere, and really has been in recovery several months, how can you refuse? Everyone deserves a second chance, especially since he had real problems that made him drink excessively. But if you do make an offer, be very clear that it is a "trial period" and you reserve the right to end it if he starts drinking. While many people completely recover through AA, some do not, and he will need to be "tested" for a long time before people believe he is "recovering" for good. You should feel very pleased if you help him restarted his life.