How to Explain Rehab to Your Employer

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on May 5, 2020.

If you struggle with addiction, choosing to get help is an incredibly brave decision. You are changing your life for the better. At the same time, it can be scary. Before you enter a rehab program, there are a few obstacles you must face — one of them is letting your employer know that you need a leave of absence to go to substance abuse treatment.

You have the right to get help and break free from this disease. However, you may be worried that your job won't be waiting for you when you return. In this post, we will discuss how to tell your boss about what's going on and request time off to go to drug or alcohol rehab.

Tips on How to Tell Your Boss You Need Addiction Rehab

A conversation with your employer about your need for treatment could be difficult, so be prepared. They will undoubtedly have questions, and it's best to have a plan in mind for how the conversation could play out. Having your answers readily available will ease your mind and help this discussion go as smoothly as possible.

Here are a few tips on how to tell your boss you need treatment for substance abuse.

Research Your Company's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Policy

Drug and alcohol addiction is a serious disease, and today more than ever, many companies understand this. Before even talking to your employer, find out if your company has a policy on drug and alcohol abuse and become familiar with it.

The information you need should be included in your employee handbook or the materials you were given when you were hired. There may be a policy about job security for medical detox or substance abuse treatment.

Understand Your Rights

If you have an addiction, this could lead to serious health ramifications. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you are entitled to receive the time off you need to get inpatient care or continuing treatment. If your employer does not have a drug policy in place, FMLA should keep your job safe until you return from rehab.

Be Honest

Drug and alcohol addiction often have red flags that are obvious to those around you. Your boss and fellow workers probably already suspect there's a problem, so don't beat around the bush. Explain that you need to leave for treatment and how addiction is impacting your health and job performance. Your employer should appreciate your honesty and the vulnerability it takes to seek help.

Leave the Past Behind

Struggling to hold down a job while in the grips of active addiction has its repercussions. Most people find that their drug or alcohol abuse impacts their performance at work, leading to a variety of negative consequences. You may have been given a verbal warning or written up. Don't let these marks on your record keep you from getting the help you need. Drug treatment will allow you to come back to your job ready with fresh, new vigor.

If You Decide Not to Have This Conversation

If you feel like opening up about addiction treatment could negatively impact your career, you are not required to tell your employer your exact reason for requesting leave. You can inform them that you need this time for your health and well-being and that this leave will enable you to do your job better once you return. You can use vacation time or sick leave and request that your boss keeps your leave of absence confidential.

Contact Diamond House Detox to Learn More About Our Evidence-Based Rehab Treatment

Taking time off work and getting help for substance abuse is an incredible choice, and you are to be celebrated. At Diamond House Detox, we offer medically-assisted substance abuse programs in northern California. We can also help those who have co-occuring mental health disorders. If you would like to learn more, please contact us today. Recovery is possible with the right help.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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