According to U.S. News & World Report, 76 percent of Americans with a drug or alcohol problem hold down a job. This can create a dilemma for addicted people who might be wondering if they should share their struggles with alcohol or drugs with their employer. What if they are about to enter Washington State drug rehab and are trying their best to get well? What about the people that need to take time off to get their life back together, but might be afraid it will ruin their career?
This article discusses the pros and cons of telling an employer in Washington State about a substance abuse problem. What are some factors to consider? If you decide to let your employer know about your addiction, what might the consequences be? Where can you get answers to your questions about addiction treatment?
Job-Related Resources to Help You Get Well
The first thing to recognize is that your employer may already suspect there is a problem. The cycle of drug or alcohol addiction almost guarantees that subtle and not-so-subtle signs will create a red flag for employers and co-workers to notice. It is likely that a drop in productivity or the quality of your work may have already alerted employers to the issue.
One of the most important parts of starting on the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem in the first place. Sharing with your employer your desire to get better is an important step. Before having this difficult conversation, look closely at your company’s drug and alcohol policy, as well as any benefits they may make available to you. For example, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees that workers in companies with 50 or more employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a year to care for themselves or a loved one. Laws like FMLA help de-stigmatize mental and physical illnesses and protect people from discrimination.
Also, if your employer provides health insurance, review the coverage for Washington State drug rehab or any other benefits you may have. Many insurers will cover 30-60 days of treatment for substance abuse disorders. They may cover partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment, or other forms of medical care or counseling of which you can take advantage.
In larger companies, it may be helpful to sit down with a human resource (HR) or Employee Assistance Program (EAP) staffer to have a confidential conversation about your options under company policy and the law. Did you know EAPs were created specifically to help combat substance abuse in the workplace? These programs were put in place to help you, so consider them a resource.
Handling the Hard Conversations
Once you are aware of the benefits available, have a candid discussion with your employer and talk with HR about mapping out a return-to-work-plan. These steps can help reinforce your courageous decision to seek treatment and begin the process of changing your life for the better.
For more information on programs that can help you or a loved one find wellness again, contact us today.