Many people struggle with addiction but don’t seek treatment for various reasons. Some people might believe that their addiction isn’t severe when it’s drastically impacting their lives. Others worry their insurance won’t cover the costs.
One of the main reasons some don’t seek treatment is because they’re concerned about their job stability or that seeking treatment can cause them to experience social stigma in the workplace. However, avoiding treatment can worsen your addiction and put your job stability at risk anyway.
The good news is that working or holding down a job while in rehab is more than possible and legally protected. Continue reading to learn more about your rights and how you can continue working while seeking substance abuse treatment.
What Does the Law Say?
The United States government created laws to protect individuals from being fired for seeking addiction treatment. The most important of these laws is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. This law allows individuals to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for family or health concerns without losing employment. Workers can use FMLA to take leave for treatment of substance use disorders (SUDs) and related problems, such as:
- Enrolling in a rehabilitation program.
- Seeking treatment for health conditions related to a SUD, such as liver failure.
- Caring for family members in treatment for SUDs or a related health condition.
FMLA doesn’t allow employers to fire or refuse promotion for exercising their right to take leave for SUDs. However, there are requirements an employee must meet to qualify, including:
- Employment at a location where at least 50 other people work within 75 miles of the company or business or have a job at a public agency
- Employment for 12 months while working 1,250 hours or more within that time frame
Once you’ve completed treatment and stopped using substances, you have additional protections that prevent you from experiencing discrimination in your current place of work or future employment opportunities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prevents employers from holding your previous substance use against you, meaning they can’t fire or refuse to hire you because of your past addiction.
Additionally, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prevent medical professionals from sharing your medical information without your explicit written permission. The extent of information regarding your treatment you share with your current or future employer is entirely up to you, and they can’t gain access to your records due to privacy laws.
Why Work Shouldn’t Stop You From Seeking Treatment
If you’re struggling with an addiction, it’s only a matter of time before it affects your work life. People with a SUD might find it challenging to keep up with responsibilities at work, show up on time or maintain a steady level of productivity. It’s essential to seek treatment for addiction before substance use puts your job stability at risk.
Addiction can also harm your physical and mental health, which will impact every part of your life, from work to personal relationships. Seeking addiction treatment is crucial in helping you maintain your well-being in every aspect of your life.
If you’re worried about work, know that the law covers you, and you can seek treatment without any penalties as long as you qualify for FMLA. Addiction treatment will help you be more productive at work and make reaching your long-term career goals easier.
Ways You Can Continue Working While in Rehab
If you prefer to continue working while in rehab, you have multiple options. Outpatient rehab is a flexible option that allows you to seek care while attending work and maintaining daily responsibilities. You can choose to attend counseling in the afternoon once you get off work or attend meetings during the day and return home for the night.
Outpatient care is generally less intensive than inpatient programs since you don’t stay at the facility overnight. Some people require 24/7 medical supervision as they’re detoxing from certain substances, don’t have adequate support or live in an environment where sobriety would be challenging. However, for individuals who live in a safe and sober environment with access to support, outpatient care has many of the same treatments as inpatient programs, including:
- Medication-assisted detox.
- Drug and alcohol education.
- Relapse prevention.
- Individual and group therapy.
- Various therapies.
- Aftercare planning.
The severity of your addiction will determine the length of your treatment. At a professional rehab facility, you’ll work with an addiction specialist to create a personalized treatment plan. You’ll learn skills to cope with your triggers and cravings as you continue employment and other responsibilities outside of the rehab program.
You’ll also plan your aftercare with an addiction specialist, which might include participation in 12-step meetings or continuing individual counseling. These meetings or counseling sessions will help you readjust to sober living and hold you accountable for your sobriety. You’ll discuss your challenges, ask questions and connect with others who share similar experiences.
What Is a LIFEOffice Program?
Going to rehab doesn’t mean losing your job, but finding an appropriate work-life balance is already challenging. When you throw addiction treatment into the mix, staying on top of your responsibilities requires some professional help. The LIFEOffice Program can help you find the balance between work and rehab for professionals.
Once you seek treatment, an addiction professional will conduct an assessment to determine the severity of your addiction and the specifics of your work schedule. You’ll be able to pursue your career, overcome addiction and learn how your professional career could be contributing to your SUD and thought patterns.
With your permission, the LIFEOffice Program will also assist you in working with your employer to ensure you can stay productive at work while getting adequate treatment for your addiction. The LIFEOffice Program helps you ease back into work by providing you with valuable tools and resources, such as:
- Work accommodations.
- Ongoing support and aftercare planning.
- Healthy work habits.
These programs can also help you prepare to speak with your employer about possible addiction culture and misconceptions in the workplace. These conversations can help you feel more comfortable returning.
Enroll in Our LIFEOffice Program
If you’re struggling with addiction but want to continue working, DreamLife Recovery is here to help. Our LIFEOffice Program will help you find the care you need while maintaining productivity at work. We’ll work with you to create a schedule that suits your job requirements and treatment needs. We’ll also help you address work-life habits that might be contributing to your addiction and teach you the skills you need to sustain sobriety once you transition into your regular work-life routine.
Our drug and alcohol rehab for professionals can help you develop healthier habits and overcome addiction. If you’re ready to take the first step and improve your quality of life, contact our team today to get started.