It’s the ultimate in awkward conversations: Telling your boss that you need to go to rehab. If you’re lucky enough to still have a job, the conversation probably isn’t going to come as a surprise to HR, coworkers, or anyone else that you work with. Here’s how to have the conversation so your job will be waiting for you when you come back clean and sober.
1. Actually have the conversation.
It should be obvious, but don’t ghost your job. If you’re going to get help and you want to keep working for the same place when you’re better, you need to give them a heads up. If you don’t, a lot of places consider a certain number of days off of the job to be relinquishing your position, or quitting. If you’re in really bad shape and heading in to detox, you can ask the staff to send them a note, if needed.
2. Know who to talk to.
The right person to talk to may vary depending on your place of work. If you have an HR department, that’s the best place to start. In fact, it’s literally what they’re there for. If not, you can talk to a manager or supervisor. If you’re working for a small team, taking it to the top might be the best thing to do.
3. Get your point across.
As with most difficult situations, having the conversation in person is best. If you can’t handle that, an email should suffice. Be careful what you put in writing and what you say, though. Keep it simple and to the point: You’re suffering from the disease of addiction, and you are going to get treatment. You want to work when you are done.
4. Know your rights.
Addiction is a disease, and people with addiction deserve to get treated. That is protected by law. According to the Family & Medical Leave Act of the federal government, you can’t be fired for seeking treatment for addiction. (You can, however, be fired for active addiction if it affects your job). (There are some exceptions, so if you’re not sure check out your employee manual or ask HR.)
5. Stay in communication.
Once you begin your path to recovery, keep your employer posted on when and whether you want to return. If they’re holding your spot, it’s only fair to keep them in the loop. At Transformations Care, our team might even be able to keep in touch with your employer as needed for you.
6. Set yourself up for success.
If you’re taking the time to get treatment, make sure that it sticks. Work with your aftercare team to develop a long-term transition plan to get you back to work and normal life — clean and sober.
Getting Clean & Sober at Home
Today, more than 75% of hospitals and healthcare providers offer access to telehealth treatment, with 29 states having gone so far as to enact telehealth parity laws, which force insurance companies to reimburse patients for telehealth at the same rates as they would for in-person treatment.
If you’ve been thinking about getting clean and sober, or if you’ve been wanting to work on and strengthen the recovery you already have, it’s never been easier to do it through telehealth.