Realizing that you need help, and deciding to go to a rehabilitation facility such as Bright Futures will be a major turning point in your life. However, change is always scary, and even positive change that comes with personal growth can carry a fair share of anxiety. We are going to help you cope with the feelings you may be having about putting everything on pause while you take some time off for self care. In this article you will learn how to keep your private life and your career while in rehab.
The two main fears of checking into rehab
For most people who are struggling with addiction, the prospect of seeking treatment is sometimes overshadowed by the fears of how other people will react. Will you be able to keep your old job, and what happens if you get fired – are common questions. And then there’s also dealing with family members and loved ones. You aren’t the only one facing these situations, and there are ways to protect your privacy. Don’t worry, we are here to explain everything and teach you how to keep your private life and your career while in rehab.
Dealing with work related issues while going to rehab:
The prospect of losing your job
A common reason why many people put off seeking treatment is due to the fear that they will lose their job. However, treatment falls under the FMLA (the Family Medical Leave Act) which is available in most companies. You can talk to the people at the HR department of your company and ask for medical leave. The FMLA is confidential and you don’t need to disclose what you need treatment for. The United States Department of Labor guarantees that you may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off work in order to treat a serious medical condition.
Additionally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA) states that persons with substance abuse disorders should be treated as persons with a disability if they are not currently abusing illegal drugs or alcohol. Under the law, you are guaranteed reasonable accommodations in the workplace. However, that may still affect your company, and you should carefully read all the necessary provisions and get to know the legal rights of both you and your employer.
Leaving work for a prolonged period of time
Unfortunately, regardless of how much understanding your company may have – it can be hard to leave your job for a prolonged period of time. Most businesses will struggle without an important employee, and coming back to the job might also require some readjustment time. Things in the modern workplace move at a rapid pace, and leaving for the full period of 12 weeks means that you might need to go through a retraining upon your return. Thankfully, you are within your legal rights to request medical leave. You’ll see that if you come back stronger and become a well adjusted employee there will be numerous benefits on your job performance and your future career path.
On the other hand, if you continually postpone looking for treatment, your condition may get worse and your performance at your job may suffer. In the long run, this could lead to you losing your job, since addiction usually tends to spiral out of control. It’s far better to ask for leave, rather than to get fired for not being able to do your job anymore. Another cause for getting fired could be abusing alcohol or illegal substances at the workplace. Avoid these situations, by simply taking leave and seeking help for your addiction problem.
Over the course of the last two years, many jobs have shifted to a remote or hybrid work model. Unfortunately, bringing your work with you to our rehab program isn’t really a viable option, since there are no computers or smartphones permitted on the premises. Instead of trying to work while attending rehabilitation, you should use this time to focus on yourself and your journey of recovery.
Talking to your boss
Although you don’t need to disclose any personal information to your boss, we still recommend consulting them about your leave. Just because you are entitled to take time off, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be thrilled that you will be absent. It’s advisable to maintain a good relationship if you plan to return to the same job after leaving rehab.
If you decide to disclose the reason for your leave, we suggest that you do so in a private setting. Make sure to let your boss know that this information is confidential, and that you wish to keep your private life and your career while in rehab. You can talk to them about whether or not you are going to share that information with the rest of your coworkers, but at the end of the day – the decision is yours to make.
Being upfront with your employer can earn you a lot of goodwill. Discuss plans for your leave, and tell them when you expect to return. Try to figure out who will take on your workload or cover you while you are absent. Explain to your boss that you have made a life-changing decision that will have a positive impact on your presence in the workplace. In the off chance that your employer isn’t understanding, or if they threaten to fire you or reduce your pay, you will be well within your rights to consult a lawyer about pursuing legal action.
Should you tell your coworkers?
When it comes to your coworkers, whether or not you should tell them that you have an addiction and that you are going for rehabilitation is always going to be a tough decision. There are certain workplaces that are the epitome of camaraderie, where people consider their coworkers to be a second family. If this is the case at your place of employment, perhaps telling your colleagues could be a good idea. Their support and reassurance can give you additional motivation, and it may make coming back to work much easier.
Sadly, there are also some workplaces which foster a competitive climate and pit their employees against each other. In these situations, it’s probably a better idea to keep the information about your addiction to yourself. Some people are petty and may start rumors or talk behind your back. Ultimately, the decision is up to you if you want to keep your private life and your career while in rehab, but it can be comforting to have the support of a small circle of close friends. If those friends happen to be your coworkers, telling them could be a good idea.
Returning to work
After completing your in-clinic program, you can continue receiving help through intensive outpatient treatment. This means that you can go back to work, and employment is even encouraged. Being productive while you are in recovery can be great for morale. However, your coworkers will surely have notices that you were absent. It’s natural for them to approach you with questions. Even if you decide to keep the details of your treatment to yourself, there might be some people who will simply fill in the blanks for themselves.
There is no right or wrong way to deal with these situations. It’s definitely good to mentally prepare yourself for reintegration, and to have a plan regarding what you are going to tell people. The stigma and peer pressure at the workplace can be stressful, but dealing with those situations is an important part of taking back control of your life. If you feel that your coworkers will have understanding about your struggles, then opening up to them might lift a huge burden off your chest.
Remind yourself that returning to work in an important step in your recovery process, and that it’s illegal for your employer to discriminate against you. You are not required to divulge any private information regarding your medical leave. Once your coworkers realize that you are back and are happier, stronger and healthier – they are bound to be supportive and happy about the progress you have made.
Business owners and those who are self-employed
Taking time off work can be easier to organize for business owners who don’t have a boss they need to report to. There are still some considerations, and it doesn’t hurt to do some preparation before you check in. If you have employees, you can explain that you will be unavailable due to medical reasons. Delegate duties among your workers and set up a clear business plan for the time you will be absent.
On the other hand, if you don’t have employees, you can set up an automated email response telling clients when you will be back. Wrap up any major projects you were working on, and don’t take on any big gigs before checking in to rehab. Take care of your finances, and put your bills on auto-pay. If that isn’t an option, you can ask a trusted friend to make the payments on your behalf. In case you need money for personal items while you are in rehab, you can ask a loved one to make a payment to the clinic.
Talking to your loved ones
Telling your loved ones about your addiction
Checking in to rehabilitation is about getting better and becoming a better person for yourself and for the people in your life. Although you may be coping with feelings of shame, we advise that you talk to your loved ones. They will need to know where you will be going, and how long you will be there for. Having their support and staying in touch while you are in recovery can be helpful to your progress. Your friends and family members will probably be proud of your decision to be a better person. You can ask them to be discrete and to respect your need to keep your private life and your career while in rehab.
Asking for help can be difficult, but having someone be by your side through the admission process can be comforting. Regardless if you are checking in alone, or through the help of a family member, our staff will greet you with compassion and respect. The only thing that is important is your willingness to make the first step in your admission process. However, we advise talking to your loved ones and emotionally preparing them, rather than just abruptly leaving without explaining anything.
Spend time with family before you check in
Being part of an inpatient program at a Florida treatment center means that you might not see your loved ones for an extended period of time. Spending some quality time with your family and friends before you leave for rehab can benefit both you, and your loved ones. They can show you how proud of you they are and offer you their support. You will get to remind them of how important they are to you. Addiction usually affects those who are closest to you, and spending time together before you check in can prepare you for the time you will be apart.
You can reminisce about happy memories, and make plans for fun activities for when you finish your inpatient treatment. Instead of being afraid of what comes next, you can already start making plans for an addiction-free life. This can get you and your loved ones in a good mood, and you can enter rehabilitation with a positive mental state. Looking back on good times and looking forward to new activities can help you when you are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.
Talk to your family about aftercare
Once you finish the inpatient program, you can continue your treatment with outpatient therapy. Participating in an aftercare program is critical to your long term recovery. Getting the help of your loved ones can make that part of your recovery process much easier to deal with. Talk to your family about the changes you plan to make, and your need to live in a substance-free environment.
There are preparations that can help you get ready for rehabilitation; however it can be reassuring to know that the law can help you remain discrete. If you know your rights and learn how to keep your private life and your career while in rehab, you can get treatment without causing major disruptions to your career.