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talking to your employer about substance abuse

Talking to Your Employer About Substance Abuse

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In today’s world, substance abuse is no more a rare issue, and people practicing it are assumed to be incompetent for taking any responsibility. Around 70% of those experiencing addiction are employed and managing their work lives. It is obvious to have several doubts and fears about talking to your employer about substance abuse. However, keeping your addiction a secret at your workplace is not the right approach.

 Once you decide to get help and get back to a normal, healthy life, talking to your boss is the least you should be stressing about. If you want to maintain your career and achieve your future endeavors, you need to stay away from the factors that take a toll on your mental and physical health and seek a permanent solution. 


Tips for Talking to Your Employer About Substance Abuse 

It’s no wonder employees are afraid of getting cornered by the employer and eventually ruining their careers once and for all. Moreover, they are mostly unaware of the company’s employee substance abuse policy and the consequences. For such reasons, it sounds ok to them to keep it a secret. However, your addiction can’t remain a secret for long. Time unleashes the symptoms of ongoing addiction, and it becomes impossible to manage your health and job simultaneously. So, it is always the best idea to get help before things go out of hand. 

Below are some tips that can help you succeed from this difficult conversation with your boss. 


Go Well Prepared

When it comes to having a conversation regarding employee substance abuse, its stated policies are essential information. You should be well versed with addiction and healthcare policies before you talk to your boss about it. Moreover, you should know about the consequences of taking long leaves so you can ensure the safety of your job while you are in rehab. 

While searching for the company policies, go for FMLA, i.e., Family and Medical Leave Act. This allows you to manage your job and take care of your family and in case of deteriorating health circumstances. You can take advantage of an available 12 weeks of paid leave and take care of your family or health while sustaining your job. 


Ensure Maximum Transparency

While having this conversation, make sure you are honest with your employer and not keeping him in the dark about your condition. This can be a gateway to better counseling opportunities that you may use by talking to your employer about substance abuse. So, decide on telling the truth and let the boss know about your plan of handling the current situation. 


Keep the Conversation as Simple as Possible 

It is better to avoid complicated conversation leading you nowhere, instead keep your words simple and direct. Let your boss know that you have an addiction and you are planning on seeking professional help. You can back it up with a physician’s written diagnosis. A straightforward conversation will help you avail the employee substance abuse policy benefits your firm offers. 


Ask for the Available Measures for Assistance 

You must ask if your company has an organizational health care team that can help you overcome your addiction. Moreover, some companies offer financial assistance for severe medical conditions. This way, you can have the funds to go about your treatment in case of any monetary hindrance. 


Keep your Future in Mind

While talking to your employer about substance abuse, tell them your intentions of keeping the job once you regain your mental and physical health. Let them know that you can be of great use in the future. Building that trust can be crucial at that time, but if you tell your employer about your clear intentions of getting the proper treatment and even asking for his suggestions for rehab can be a bonus. 


Have a Written Record of the Conversation 

Since it is a highly critical matter, you should keep it in written form. The best way to do that is to have the date, summary, and people involved in the conversation in an email and send it to the concerned members of the board. 


Overcome the Fear of Judgement 

Substance abuse takes a toll on mental health, due to which you can’t be that proficient at your workplace. Putting the matter in front of your employer justifies your ill performance. So, instead of getting awkward while thinking about the judgment, you will have to face, let them know as much as possible. Your employer might already have figured out the employee’s substance abuse and may understand the whole situation rather than judging you in the first place. 

So, don’t hesitate to let them know you are planning on getting help to return with high energy both mentally and spiritually. 


Strategize a Plan of Action Workable During your Absence 

Don’t leave your coworkers in chaos while you are away. Instead, try to sort it as much as possible and let the team know about the upcoming deadlines and the things they need to work on in your absence. Moreover, try to answer the emails and respond to the calls that you know the background of, and don’t forget to share the passwords and location of the primary information that can be of use. This will ensure your dedication and loyalty to the company so they can expect your healthy comeback. 



Protecting your Job Amidst your Recovery

Once you have achieved the milestone of talking to your employer about substance abuse, stay firm on your decision to overcome your addiction and act on it. Make sure you benefit from the employee substance abuse policy and ensure the comeback of your mental and physical well-being. 

Moreover, it is always good to keep your supervisor informed and let them know about your progress. Creating a bond of trust can also make your company believe in the notion that their employee’s mental and physical health is important. 

Talking to your employer about substance abuse might sound scary but less than entirely ruining your career and social life. Things might seem under control, but they will eventually go spin out of control, and hiding your condition will only make matters worse. So, consider letting your boss know about the entire situation and then reach out to the team at The Right Time Recovery by calling 800-630-1218 to get help with overcoming your addiction. It is never too late to pull yourself out of self-sabotage and get back to a better life.