Is It Possible to Work While You’re in Treatment for Addiction?
America is a country with what is now considered an addiction culture. While the stereotype of addiction is a homeless person on the street begging for money for a fix, the truth about addiction can be alarming for many people. Research tells us that 60 percent of American adults know somebody is abusing drugs or alcohol at their workplace. Whether it’s a restaurant, post office, or hospital, drug abuse is becoming a common way for people to escape while they’re at work for the day. Thousands of accidents are caused at work by people under the influence every year.
Addiction Hurts Your Job Performance
Millions of people abuse drugs on the job, and whether it makes you nod out, or you come in late from a hangover, it affects your job performance. Does this sound like you? If so, you may be in denial about how bad it’s gotten.
When addiction affects your job performance, you may be late to work, forget to do take-home tasks, or simply not able to give your presentation the time and attention it deserves. All of these things can make you look bad. And you may have noticed that addiction is a progressive disease. You can’t control how it will affect you. When you stop showing up for work or make a terrible mistake on-the-job, you won’t even have a job to return to.
If you’re employed and have health insurance, you’re very fortunate. If you’re struggling with addiction, you have the resources to get the help you need.
Employment and Treatment
If you’re struggling with a substance use order, you’re not alone. Addiction is a tricky disease, and there are higher success rates of abstinence for people who enter a detox followed by longer-term, inpatient rehab. Your health insurance will usually pay for your treatment.
You will need to take some time off while you’re in treatment but can continue any outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings when you have completed the other program.
You may worry that your employer can fire you when you admit you have a substance use disorder, but some laws can protect you from this. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees from discrimination based on a disability, and alcohol addiction, as well as other types of addiction, are covered under it.
When Are You Not Protected by the ADA?
One caveat: you have to get help willingly, before your employer disciplines you for poor performance. If they can prove your performance has been weak due to your drug or alcohol use, they legally have the right to let you go.
People actively using illegal drugs are not protected by the ADA, but if you’re clean and sober, it still applies to you. Your employer also has the right to test you for drugs or alcohol use as they see fit during work.
Studies show that longer-term, inpatient treatment followed by 12-step meetings and other therapies is the most effective way for a person to stay clean from alcohol or drugs. If you’re worried about your career prospects, the best thing to do is take action today and learn more about your treatment options. Please give us a call at 619-363-4767 to get started.