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Should You Tell Your Boss About Your Recovery?

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Should You Tell Your Boss About Your Recovery?

There’s no doubt that addiction takes a hold of every aspect of a person’s life. You probably watched it destroy your relationships, eat up your savings, and even change your physical appearance. It likely even severely affected your performance at work. Similarly, recovery touches every aspect of your life. Only, this time, it’s in a positive way. Your relationships are mended, your hobbies are sober and fun, and your friends either have the same mindset or support your new, healthy lifestyle from the outside. But what about your job? Should you tell your boss you’re in recovery?

bossThe main thing to remember is your recovery is yours. The people you decide to share it with are your choice. But we do have some tips to help you decide how much weight your boss should have in your disclosure.

If You’re Going Into Treatment

Your boss has a little more weight if you’re going to be entering treatment while working for him. You’ll likely have to take a few days off for treatment, especially if you’re going to detox first. Taking time off for treatment isn’t like taking time off because you’re sick. Recovery is a major thing that will play a huge role in the rest of your life. So, it’s important that your boss understands how crucial that is. Your company might also have extra resources available for people who need help. You won’t know that unless you do research or talk to your boss. It’s also helpful to know that your boss probably already knows of (or at least sensed) your addiction struggle. So, if he’s aware that you’re getting help, the outcome will likely be much better than you expected.


Tips for Telling your Boss About Treatment:

  • Be honest – Your boss might already know about your struggle. But even if he doesn’t, it’s important to be upfront and honest about your willingness to get help. Being honest will give you the best chance at keeping your job. Almost every employer values honesty and integrity over pretty much everything else. And the fact that you’re willing to seek help and work for your recovery will translate into “I’m a strong and capable person” to your boss.

  • bossDo research – Make sure you know as much about treatment as possible before speaking to your boss. You don’t have to tell him every single detail – and, to be honest, you probably shouldn’t. But showing hesitance or passiveness about maybe/potentially/kind of/possibly going to treatment won’t come across as strong, sure, or capable to your boss. Make sure you also look into your company’s drug and alcohol policy. That’s where you’ll find information about a leave of absence for treatment and extra resources for seeking help. It’s also good information to know if your company doesn’t have a drug and alcohol policy. You don’t want to go to your boss asking for extra resources if the company doesn’t offer them. In that case, try looking through the policies for sick employees instead.

  • Know that your job is safe – The federal government placed a law in 1993 called the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which covers most companies. The law gives protection and unpaid leave for employees who require a family or medical reason, like illness or pregnancy. You can use that time for treatment and rest assured that your job will be there when you get back. Just make sure you talk to your boss about delegating your duties to other employees while you’re gone.

If You’ve Completed Treatment

Because recovery plays such a huge role in a recovered addict’s life, many people wonder if they should disclose that they’re in recovery to their boss. If you’ve already completed treatment and you have a solid foundation in recovery, you have a little more leeway about who you should disclose your recovery to. There are people you should absolutely consider sharing your recovery with, like your girlfriend or boyfriend, kids, parents, and close friends. But your boss is not necessarily one of those people. Your boss only really needs to know about your recovery in certain situations. Otherwise, sharing it with him or her is completely up to you.

Reasons your Boss Might Need to Know About your Recovery:

  • You work in addiction and recovery – If you work in the addiction and recovery field, like as support staff at a treatment facility or as a writer for a treatment publication, you might want to consider telling your boss that you’re in recovery. In most cases, your boss will praise you for your honesty and congratulate you on your accomplishments thus far. But it’s also important for him to know if some aspects of your daily work might be triggering. Don’t be afraid that you’ll be discriminated against. Your boss will more than likely see you as even more of an asset to the company.

  • Your job is triggering – If you work around drugs or alcohol, such as in a bar or a homeless shelter, the daily work can be triggering. Telling your boss that you’re in recovery can help him help you manage those triggers. It’ll also help him to know if you’re struggling too much with the work so that you both can come up with a plan for the future.

  • You’re struggling in recovery – If you’re struggling to stay on top of your recovery, you might consider telling your boss. The company will likely have resources you can take advantage of to get the help you need. And anyone struggling in recovery should not feel like they’re struggling alone. You can find support from all angles. Even if your boss can’t give you direct support, he might be able to point you in the right direction for help or even allow you to take a personal day or two to recoup.

  • If your fellowship meetings conflict with your schedule – You probably won’t be able to ask your boss outright to excuse you from work on certain days because of your recovery meetings. But if you work at a company with flexible hours, sharing your recovery with your boss might help you work your schedule around your meetings. That doesn’t mean you should expect your recovery to warrant special treatment, but being honest with your boss is definitely the right direction for getting your job and your recovery to work seamlessly together.

Ultimately, whether or not you disclose your recovery to your boss is up to you. It’s important to remember that honesty is one of the core values for almost every company. But anonymity is also a huge part of many people’s recovery. If you’re struggling with the decision to tell your boss, hopefully these tips have helped you. But don’t let that decision stress you out. It can be a trigger for relapse. Just remember that the most important thing is to be honest with yourself and do whatever will benefit you and your recovery the most.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Call our addiction staff at 855-737-7363 or talk to us on our live chat. New Start is here for you.

Posted in Recovery