One of the biggest fears people have when considering whether or not to seek treatment for addiction is whether or not they will be able to return to their job. “Can I get my job back?” could be the biggest question when someone is considering a recovery program.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that more than 75% of people with substance abuse problems are employed. You have a number of things to consider when thinking about seeking a recovery program while you are on the job.
How do I Talk to my Employer About Seeking Treatment?
You might not realize it, but if you are struggling with addiction or withdrawal, it could easily affect your work performance. Entering recovery is a step toward improving your own health and can only strengthen your job performance.
Be as transparent as possible when talking to your employer about seeking treatment for substance abuse. Make sure that your work projects are completed or handed off to co-workers responsibly. Let coworkers know you will be taking a leave of absence, but you are under no obligation to tell coworkers any specifics about your situation. Your employer may provide an employee assistance program or offer other forms of support. Be accurate and professional in discussing your treatment plans and leave of absence with human resources or your supervisor.
Does the Law Protect Me from Termination for Seeking Addiction Treatment?
The days in which employers could instantly terminate someone who sought treatment for alcoholism or other substance use with no legal consequences are in the past.
You have job responsibilities and your employer also has responsibilities under the law. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) offers protections for those who are in addiction recovery. If you qualify, the Family and Medical Leave Act also allows 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave, which includes treatment in a recovery program.
Don’t Let Fear Prevent You from Seeking Help
Substance abuse is a serious health concern. Few people would fail to seek medical treatment for a disease of the lungs or kidneys because they were afraid they wouldn’t be able to get their job back. The circumstances are similar in addiction, which is why substance abuse services are mandated to be included in insurance that is offered under the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace.
Choosing to seek recovery and treatment for substance abuse is a choice for your health. Many people have lived lives that are touched by substance abuse in some way. You will probably be surprised by the positive support you will receive from your employer if you choose to enter treatment. Quite a number of employers offer employee assistance programs (EAP), and the laws have changed to offer protection and support to people who want enter recovery for substance abuse because healthy employees are more successful and valuable employees. It’s time break the chains of addiction and seek the treatment that will get your life back on track!