One aspect of living with an addiction is living in denial.
Most people battling an addiction did not go from having a few drinks now and again, or getting high once in a while, to a full-blown addiction overnight. It was progressive, sneaking up slowly until it became a problem. Even when it starts to be detrimental to all aspects of our life, we may still deny that there is a problem. When the time comes that we cannot go on in our addiction, truth within our self comes first. Next, we question who else in our life needs to know, or whom we should tell.
If you are thinking of going into a residential drug treatment center, you will have to disclose this to your boss. The only other alternative is to not show up for thirty days and lose your job. The anxiety that is felt before having that conversation with your boss is probably worse than actually having the talk.
Here are some things to consider before approaching your boss.
- Anyone that has spent time with you probably already knows that you have a problem. We may think that we are good at hiding our addiction, but others that we see on a daily basis can see that something is not right. Your boss probably already knows.
- If you are worried that you may be fired, have no fear. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, substance addiction is a valid disability. You cannot be fired for entering rehab.
- If you continue using on the job, or even off the job, and this is effecting your performance, you can be fired.
- According to the law, employers must make accommodations for those entering rehab and hold your position for you.
- Under the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) you may take up to twelve weeks off from work, unpaid, with job protection.
- By law, employers must maintain confidentiality regarding any information they receive regarding the addiction or substance abuse treatment of any of their employees.
Now that you know some of your rights, muster up the courage to have that talk with your boss. Be honest and keep the conversation professional. Explain that you want to get help so that you can be a more effective employee. Changing our lives can be scary. If your job has not been a stressor for using, then keeping your job is important. The less changes one makes in the first year of sobriety the better, unless of course, they are on the list of “people, places, and things” that put us at risk for relapse. Do some research to find out your rights and what your insurance covers. When the time comes for disclosing that you are battling an addiction, it is best to have your information at hand and a plan of action for recovery to set in front of your boss.