How to Protect Your Job When You’re In Addiction Treatment

When someone is considering addiction treatment at The Discovery House, it’s a very common concern to be worried about their job security. Will you be able to keep your job? Is it legal for your employer to fire you while in treatment? How do you maintain job security throughout treatment? We get these questions a lot from both those interested in our programs as well as those currently in one of our treatment program. Therefore we decided to tackle these topics here on our blog so that you and your family can rest assured that you have all the right information to make the best decision about your future plans for recovery.

Before Addiction Treatment

Know your rights with the ADA and FMLA

While many people fear that taking time off to get treatment for a substance use disorder, there are actually laws in place that will protect you from workplace discrimination and ultimately, from being fired. Since addiction is considered a mental illness, anyone that chooses to seek treatment is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Both help in protecting you from jeopardizing your career simply because you need treatment. Once you start treatment, you cannot be fired for any reason related to your addiction.

Here is where is gets a little iffy. If your job performance has declined as a result of your drug or alcohol use, your employer can still fire you as long as they have solid proof that your performance has not been up to par. However, once you start treatment, you cannot be fired for any reason related to your addiction.

How to Protect Your Job When You're In Addiction Treatment

Talk with your employer

It won’t be an easy conversation to have but talking with your employer is better to do sooner rather than later. Make sure to ask about your company’s alcohol and drug policy (if they have one) and also inquire about their Employee Assistance Programs. An EAP can help connect you with counseling or referrals to rehab facilities. 

If you can, try to tie up loose ends before you leave work. Make sure that everything is caught up to date and set up so that whoever takes over for you while you are gone has everything taken care of. 

Insurance coverage

If you have an insurance policy, contact them to find out if your insurance will cover the kind of treatment that you need. Insurance can get pretty complicated to understand, so make sure you ask questions and do your research.  

During Addiction Treatment

Not everyone can afford to just drop everything and go to treatment. We have families to care for, children to feed, and bills to pay. Even though we know it’s good for our health, it’s not always easy to take 30 days off from work to focus on getting better. Thankfully, there is a way to somewhat maintain your life while you are in treatment. It’s not a simple process but you can apply for disability benefits for the duration of your stay in an inpatient drug program. The Social Security Administration explains how you can determine if you will qualify for disability benefits here

Do your best to focus on your recovery while in treatment for alcohol or drug addiction. Here are some helpful articles and blogs about how to make the most of your rehab experience: 

How to Make the Most of Your Rehab Experience
How to Have the Best Experience in Alcohol Rehab
The Most Effective Ways to Treat Substance Addiction
5 Types of (Evidence-based) Drug Therapies That We Use
How Mindfulness Can Help You in Your Recovery

After Addiction Treatment

How to Protect Your Job When You're In Addiction Treatment

Know Your Post Treatment Rights

As someone who is in recovery, your rights don’t stop when you complete your drug addiction treatment program. When you return to work after treatment, your employer is required to make “reasonable accommodations” to help support your adjustment period. Just as they would for any other type of disability. They are also prohibited from discriminating against you in any way because of your addiction recovery. 

Maintaining Aftercare is Very Important

Aftercare is an essential component to long-term recovery so make sure you attend meetings, groups, and any counseling sessions that are required. Having a strong support system will make your adjustment to everyday life much easier. 

Focusing on your recovery gets easier over time but in those early months, you can be especially susceptible to relapse. Here are some good reads filled with tons of tips to keep you on track: 

Healthy Ways to Deal With Stress in Recovery
5 Ways to Jumpstart a Sober Lifestyle 
Healthy Coping Skills for a Successful Recovery
How to Prevent a Relapse in Addiction Recovery

There are a lot of things to consider when you are choosing recovery – and it’s not an easy decision. However, it’s totally possible and despite how you might feel right now, you’re worth it. If you have any further questions about addiction treatment, we are here for you. 

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