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How Do I Explain Drug Addiction to My Employer?

How Do I Explain Drug Addiction to My Employer?

Education is difficult about addiction when it comes to work situations. It is possible to explain how it impacts your work but it can take awhile to figure out how to communicate this in a positive way with an employer. Find some tips for how to explain this to an employer regarding addiction and recovery.

Addiction Defined

Many scientists and addiction researchers have tried to define addiction. It is a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by a compulsive drug seeking and using behavior, in spite of consequences. Addiction is responsible for changing the brain, its structure, and ways of functioning. It alters many processes in the brain including thinking and behaving. The diagnosis of addiction is not a blame game. People with addition do not choose to put themselves in harm’s way.

Reasons for Addiction

The complexity of addiction cannot be defined in a single cause or solution. It is a complex issue due to multiple factors involved in the formation of the disease. Addiction has genetic, social, and biological reasons driving it. The main factors include:

  • Genes
  • Environment growing up
  • Ways of responding
  • Specific reaction to drugs that is individual

Some people are predisposed to the way certain drugs work in the brain. Other people adapt drug use as a way of self-medicating for past trauma. The basis of addiction is an uncontrollable, compulsive drug seeking and use but it can be from pressure at work that steers it into the depths. Before talking to a manager, boss, or human resources, it helps to figure out what treatment will look like and just how you are putting your life back together.

Addiction and the Workplace

Communicating about drug addiction with a boss can be difficult. As an employee, you are expected to go through a round of emotions and be torn between the indecision whether to tell the problem or keep it a secret. Fear keeps this behind the scenes rather than dealing with the uncomfortable reality. It is okay to be brave and tell your employer what is happening by:

  • Informing them about addiction and the brain
  • Developing a plan ahead of time
  • Know your rights under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to protect employees in recovery
  • Know your rights regarding Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Those who qualify are allowed 12 weeks unpaid, job-protected leave for medical reasons.
  • Discuss future treatment plans with employer
  • Find out about Employee Assistance Programs (EAP).
  • Inform yourself about healthcare coverage for benefits including treatment.

View the conversation as an opportunity to stop lying and hiding behind addiction. It can be brave to step into repairing damage done from addiction but don’t let fear take hold. Step into your life, take ownership, and admit the need for help on the journey. You may be surprised by their positive response to your leap of faith.

Taking steps forward to get help for addiction can be hard but worthwhile. If you are struggling with addiction, we can help. Our programs and services are designed to help you live the best life possible in recovery. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401