- Sep 16
You know you need help with addiction, but you’re afraid to tell your boss. One of the main reasons people don’t get addiction treatment is because they’re scared it will ruin their career. While this is a genuine concern, getting your life back and reclaiming your health is the most important consideration.
Never let the stigma of addiction stop you from getting the help you need. If you’re worried that going to rehab will ruin everything you’ve worked hard to achieve in your career, here is some advice about how to broach the topic of addiction with your employer.
Understand Your Rights Before the Conversation
Whether or not you tell your boss about your addiction is up to you. However, if you plan to go to inpatient rehab, you will need to disclose this to your boss. The alternative is losing your employment after not showing up to work for a number of days.
You may feel anxious about having a conversation with your boss, but preparation is key. Here are some considerations you should know ahead of time:
- There’s a good chance your employer and co-workers already know you’re hiding an addiction. This can be grounds for termination if you use on the job or if your use interferes with your job performance. Getting help is crucial before anything gets out of hand.
- Look into your company’s drug and alcohol policy as well as their health care policy to see if there are plans in place for addiction treatment.
- Substance use disorder is considered a valid disability according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. You can’t be fired for seeking treatment.
- According to the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may be entitled to up to 12 weeks off work to enter rehab. While this time will be unpaid, employers must hold your position during that time.
- The law restricts employers from sharing information they receive about your addiction or treatment. They must maintain your confidentiality.
Talking to Your Boss About Your Addiction
Addiction is undoubtedly affecting your job, whether it’s skipping days or falling behind on your responsibilities. Addiction treatment will ensure you can return to work healthier and more focused. If you’re not sure how to approach your boss, here are some suggestions that can help:
- Be honest: Admit openly that you are struggling with addiction and be transparent about your need for help. The more upfront you are, the more willing your boss may be to help with this process. Your employer may even be able to provide additional resources through your job, such as addiction counseling services post-treatment.
- Get your responsibilities in order: Be sure that any outstanding duties you have are either wrapped up or assigned to other co-workers who can oversee these tasks while you’re away.
- Let others know you’re taking a leave of absence: You don’t have to tell your co-workers about going to rehab if you don’t want to. Simply let others know that you’re taking a leave of absence.
Addiction Treatment for Professionals at Gateway Foundation
With support from your employer, you will feel more free and confident about seeking addiction treatment. This security will also ensure you have a better chance of a successful recovery.
When you’re ready, Gateway Foundation can help you take the next step. We have a variety of programs and services designed to meet your exact needs. If you would like to learn more about our evidence-based treatments and therapies, contact Gateway Foundation today.