Go to Rehab and Keep Your Job [How-To]
Unfortunately, life does not simply pause when you or someone you know decides to enter addiction treatment. You may be wondering how to go to rehab and keep your job. It can be a precarious position to find yourself in. Not everyone has the luxury of taking weeks off to begin treatment, so finding a flexible treatment program and maintaining communication with your employer is important.
Getting healthy is, of course, your number one priority. But being left in a bad financial place as soon as you exit treatment could significantly hinder your recovery process. Jobs put food on the table and pay the bills, and financial stress is a significant motivator for substance abuse.
But there are ways to get help. Many full-time employers offer programs specifically aimed at physical and mental health recovery. We can help you start the process and find a treatment program that works for your specific needs. Please reach out to us at 706-480-8733 and together we’ll explore treatment options for you, while still being able to stay employed.
Why Addiction Treatment is Important
First, it’s crucial to truly understand the importance of getting treatment for a substance abuse issue.
Addiction is something you cannot overcome alone. It impacts you, your loved ones, and your community. Rehab can help you dig into the underlying issues that may have played a role in your addiction. The healing you will gain in treatment goes far beyond recovering from the addiction itself. A successful treatment program will leave you with lifesaving tools you can apply to any difficult situation.
Additionally, many treatment options encourage and allow family participation in the process. Rehab offers a way to strengthen your support system and come out with a happier, healthier, more productive life.
Prioritizing treatment means you are prioritizing your health. Fortunately, while in rehab, the health of your mind and body is the number one concern.
Another great benefit to treatment is the ongoing support network it provides. When you enter rehab, you build a community of people that understand exactly what you are going through and can turn into great “sober friends” down the road.
Addiction can be a journey with many twists and turns. Finding the right treatment program for your needs can help you navigate the highs and lows that inevitably come with a successful recovery.
Understanding Your Treatment Options
When exploring how to go to rehab and keep your job, it is helpful to know the different treatment options that are available to you. You may need a shorter stay or one with flexible hours that allow you to continue working as you recover. There are four primary types of treatment programs:
Long-term residential treatment:
This is an option that grants you 24-hour care. Residential treatment involves a multi-week stay at a facility, where you live, work, and play in a structured environment. Many of these programs consider 90 days as the minimum amount of time needed to address long-term addiction issues.
Short-term residential programs
Next, this option provides intense but fairly quick treatment, possibly based on a 12-step approach. This falls under the umbrella of the original residential treatment model but typically lasts less than one month. With the shorter stay, the programs are usually highly-regimented and full of activities to keep you busy and get your health back in order.
Outpatient treatment has various services it offers. If costs are an issue this option is typically less expensive than residential treatment. This makes it a great option for people with jobs or other day-to-day responsibilities that require their participation. Typically, this will consist of group meetings several times a week. In many outpatient options, group and individual therapy play a major role in the process. There are also outpatient programs created to treat patients with medical or mental health problems in addition to their specific drug disorders.
Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP)
This treatment option serves as a middle ground between inpatient and outpatient. IOPs are a great choice if you do not require 24-hour supervision or medical detox. They usually offer more support and more services in comparison to basic outpatient treatment. Also, they provide a specific number of weekly hours for structured individual, group, and/or family therapy. As a plus, they also provide education on mental disorders and substance use.
EAP Addiction Treatment
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is another great option to secure employment for recovering addicts. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) defines EAPs as, “a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems.”
EAPs are beneficial to workers because they address a variety of issues including:
- Substance abuse
- Family problems
- Psychological disorders
EAP is also a collaborative effort. This program works with your managers and supervisors to come up with a strategy beneficial for everyone. EAPs for substance abuse or alcoholism are often free to utilize and offer an array of services including addiction help.
As we know addiction is a complex issue that requires every level of health to be addressed, and EAPs fill this role. Consider contacting your employer to find out more information about your options.
Know Your Rights
As you start to understand how to go to rehab and keep your job, it is important to know your rights as an employee. There are laws in place that allow you to seek treatment without the risk of job loss. Those protections exist under the American Disability Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
All About the ADA
So, what protections does the ADA provide? This act ensures that you cannot be fired or denied a job due to a disability. Did you know substance use disorder qualifies as a disability? As the United States Commission on Civil Rights states,
“If a recovering drug addict is not currently illegally using drugs, then he or she may be entitled to reasonable accommodation. This would generally involve a modified work schedule so the employee could attend Alcohol/Narcotics Anonymous meetings or a leave of absence so the employee could seek treatment.”
The ADA is a great protection to take advantage of if you are at a point where drug and alcohol use might be affecting your job performance.
Protections Under the FMLA
If you are someone who needs more intensive treatment the FMLA provides a level of protection that goes beyond the ADA. With this protection, inpatient treatment is possible. FMLA provides job-secured leave for medical reasons while allowing you to keep your original health coverage. This is a protection available to most employees and covers a wide range of family and health issues. For addicts, this act allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. During this time, you can seek professional help and return to work with no changes to your pay or position.
Another positive thing about enacting FMLA for rehab is that it even takes relapses into account. If you suffer a relapse and act proactively you can qualify for this protection again. Just make sure you make it known prior to there being an issue at your workplace or before you fail a drug test.
How to Approach Your Boss
If you believe FMLA or ADA applies to you it may be difficult to determine how to approach the subject with your supervisors.
Even though addiction is just as much a disease as any other medical condition, there is still a lot of unnecessary shame around the topic. Going into this conversation, remember that while it might be difficult, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Deciding to seek treatment benefits you and your employer and shows you are trying to live your best life possible.
These laws are put in place to protect you. You have offered the company your hard work so acts like FMLA and ADA provide you with protection in return. When you decide to broach the subject, you will want to be as honest as possible. If you remain calm, open, and honest the conversation will flow even easier.
Again, with addiction, the best course of action is to be proactive. By openly communicating with your employer you can help avoid any grey areas and build trust.
Life After Treatment
One helpful thing to remember on your journey is that life goes on after treatment. You have a lot to look forward to, and this includes a smooth transition returning to work. In fact, you will likely return to your job stronger and more efficient than ever. As DrugAbuse.gov puts it,
“Treatment isn’t just about stopping alcohol/drug use; it helps you regain control of your life as a whole. Behavioral therapies can help motivate people to participate in drug treatment, offer strategies for coping with drug cravings, teach ways to avoid drugs and prevent relapse, and help individuals deal with relapse if it occurs.”
Life after treatment can feel like a brand new world for you and your loved ones. Behavioral therapies also work to improve areas of your life which include communication, focus, relationships, and parenting skills, as well as overall family dynamics.
There is much to look forward to after successful treatment. That is why it remains important to stay strong and committed to the journey. With the support of your employer, your family, and your friends, you will have even more motivation to stay on course in your sobriety.
Taking Action Today
Now that you understand how to go to rehab and keep your job, it is a good idea to consider professional treatment. The sooner you get help for your addiction, the better the outcome.
Whether you decide on intensive treatment or something short-term, understand that you are embarking on a journey. You may feel a mix of emotions along the way, but know that it will pay off in the end. You can find healing in ways you never would have imagined, and without risking the security of your day-to-day life.
Addiction cannot be solved alone, and the most courageous thing a person can do for themselves is to ask for help. If you or your loved one is ready to find treatment options, we can help. Please call us today to find out more about taking positive action toward your recovery.
By Meccah Muhammad