Second only to your decision to seek treatment for substance abuse is deciding how integrate that choice into your life. Unfortunately, the stigma of addiction and recovery brings with it the fear of people finding out about your struggle. While close friends and family members probably know, you may be worried about what will happen if people at your job learn that you’re in rehab. Hopefully, we can put your mind at ease so you can focus on recovery.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment Are Confidential
The first thing you need to know is that substance abuse treatment is completely confidential. No one needs to know unless you choose to tell them. The second thing you need to know is that your job is protected under The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You can’t be fired for being in rehab. The ADA may protect you also. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employee with a qualifying condition cannot be fired for seeking treatment. Under ADA guidelines, chemical dependency could be considered a disability. That means that if you use vacation time to seek treatment, and your boss finds out, you can’t be terminated. However, this does not protect you from being fired for being under the influence at work.
If you choose to keep it quiet, there are ways to do recovery discreetly. The most important thing is maintaining a positive atmosphere in your life during this time.
– Find an outpatient facility. This will eliminate the need to take a leave of absence from work.
– If you have vacation time coming or sick days available through your employer, use them to cover any days you miss for treatment.
– Try to coordinate your treatment schedule with your work schedule. For example, if you have counseling sessions two days a week and two scheduled days off, talk to your manager about your schedule ahead of time.
– Locate a support group that has meetings on weekends or evenings. Many outpatient programs also offer group support, and they try to schedule sessions to help patients who have outside obligations.
<h2>How to Tell Your Employer You’re Going to Rehab</h2>
There may be some point in your treatment when it’s necessary to tell you boss that you’re in rehab. This is a daunting choice. However, it may not be as bad as it seems up front. You’ll probably even feel relieved once it’s out in the open. Here are some tips to make that talk a little easier.
– If your company has an HR department, talk to your human resources manager first. They’re meant to act as an advocate for employees, and they can advise about how to proceed. You may even want to have your HR manager present when you meet with your boss.
– Know what your rights are. The FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave for anyone who has been employed at a company for more than one year, and who has worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous month period.
– Have a plan going in. This includes ideas on how to cover your schedule during your absence and having answers ready for any questions you boss might have about your recovery.
– Realize that your employer and co-workers may already now that you’re having problems. If your substance use has reached levels that cause you to seek treatment, your behavior and work performance may already be affected. Don’t be surprised if you find that your employer is supportive and relieved that you’re getting help.
– Don’t allow fear to keep you from being honest. Coming to terms with your addiction is part of the recovery process. However, you aren’t required to tell anyone that you’re in treatment.
Outpatient Treatment Allows You to Continue Your Life
Unless you need medically supervised rehabilitation during your recovery, you may do well with an outpatient program. This is the most common option for people who have work, school, or family obligations and no alternative solution is available. Outpatient programs can be public or private, and most are covered by health insurance. Other benefits of outpatient treatment include:
– The ability to seek treatment locally
– Flexible scheduling
– The ability to maintain family ties and support systems while undergoing treatment
– Outpatient treatment is usually less expensive than inpatient rehab
When you’re ready to take the first step toward recovery, we’re here to help 24 hours a day. Call 770-299-1677 to speak to a counselor today.