No matter what you do for work, it probably comes with at least a little bit of stress. That stress can exacerbate substance misuse, creating a vicious cycle where your drug and alcohol abuse creates issues in your work life, and your work life makes you want to drink and use more. Maybe you’ve been missing work to nurse your hangovers, or your happy hour has made its way into the coffee tumbler you’re holding during your Zoom meeting. You probably think your addictive behavior is a secret and that your colleagues don't notice, but it's likely not as much of a secret as you think. Can you be fired for having an addiction? The answer isn’t so black and white. Read on to find out.
Addiction is a Disease
In most cases, you cannot be fired from your job because you have an addiction. Addiction is a disease and just like any disease, it takes proper treatment and time to heal. Think of it this way: Your boss wouldn’t fire someone who has cancer, and in most cases, they legally can’t fire you simply because you struggle with substance abuse. They CAN, however, fire you if your addiction is affecting your work, and you aren't getting treatment. Take the first step before it's too late, and consider getting treatment for your disease.
The disease model of addiction explains that addiction is a genetic trait. When combined with trauma, stress, and substance abuse, your genes can cause you to develop an addiction. The truth is, your disease isn’t a matter of not having self-control. You can overcome your addiction with residential addiction treatment and finding recovery.
Work Performance & Addiction
When you’re struggling with substance abuse, you ‘re definitely not in your best mental or physical state. Addiction in a worker can cause absenteeism and bad work performance. Maybe you’ve lost a big deal at work because your primary focus has been on drugs or alcohol. Maybe you’ve come into work high or drunk and had accidents or “close calls” while operating machinery. Actions like these can be a justifiable reason for your company to let you go, even if your addiction was the root cause. Of course, if you stop showing up for work because you’re out on a binge, your boss has every right to let you go. It is possible to prevent getting laid off by seeking residential addiction treatment. You might just save your life, too.
Seeking Residential Addiction Treatment
According to the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), most employees are allowed to take up to 12 weeks off from work to pursue addiction treatment - while still keeping their jobs. Remember, it’s in everyone's best interest that you take time off and seek the help you deserve. Don't rush your addiction treatment and recovery process. You may want to get back to work as soon as possible, but a disease can’t be cured overnight, and recovery takes time to heal.
Residential addiction treatment programs typically last 30-90 days, giving you time away from life stressors to focus on yourself and find your path to recovery. At Acqua Recovery, our Masters-level clinicians use a trauma-informed approach to help treat your addiction and the mental health issues contributing to it. You’ll be back thriving at work and in your personal life in no time. For more information on what you can expect when seeking residential addiction treatment, click HERE.
How Do You Find Addiction Treatment?
If you’re a working professional, you may have resources — such as an EAP — that can help you get the addiction treatment you need. An EAP (Employee Assistance Program) is a voluntary, free resource you can go to for counseling sessions and referrals to addiction treatment centers. An EAP can also walk you through the process of taking a leave of absence — the right way.
Don't just stop showing up to work one day. It's vital that you tell your human resources rep or manager that you need to take time off for treatment. You can even have your EAP communicate it for you, if you don’t feel comfortable discussing your substance abuse issues with your colleagues. For more information on how to talk to your HR about taking a leave of absence or using an EAP, click HERE.
If you’re struggling with addiction and worried about losing your job, give us a call today. Don't wait to save your job — and your life. Speak with our caring admissions team, Matt, Brian, and Ashlee, to start your healing and renew your life, starting today.