“I can’t take time off for rehab. I’d lose my job!”
We get it. Taking time off work is a challenge in the best of times. Even if it’s for something as life-changing as a rehab program.
When people think like this, they’re thinking of rehab as a cost. An immediate inconvenience. A general pain.
Instead, why not think of it as a long-term investment? You’re taking a little time now to invest in long-term addiction recovery. A few weeks compared to many years of happy, clean living? That’s a trade-off worth taking.
(Note: We have seen people use “I can’t take time off work” as an excuse not to seek treatment. It’s easy to do, and those using it may feel some legitimacy. We’re not judging, but it IS an excuse, and if you do need help, please reconsider.)
If you really do want to go into rehab, but feel you can’t get the time off, it’s okay. You do have options. In fact, several rehab options exist that work with the demands of employment. Let’s talk about a few.
The Family & Medical Leave Act
Some employers offer up to 12 weeks of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA allows you to take unpaid time off for treatment of multiple medical conditions – one of which is “Substance Use Disorder” (addiction). The advantage to FMLA leave is that it doesn’t affect your health insurance. Ask your employer for FMLA details.
Family & Medical Leave Act – U.S. Department of Labor
EAP (Employee Assistance Program)
If you work for a governmental office, or a company which has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), you can speak to the EAP rep. Check with your supervisor about the process.
From the U.S. Office of Personnel Management:
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems. EAPs address a broad and complex body of issues affecting mental and emotional well-being, such as alcohol and other substance abuse, stress, grief, family problems, and psychological disorders.
Paid Time Off (PTO)
Yes, it means using up some of your PTO. Maybe even all of it for the year. Think what you’re getting for that time though…recovery from an addiction holding too much sway over your life. A new start. Your life back.
Use a Day Treatment Program
If you have no PTO, your employer has no EAP option, and you can’t take unpaid time, you can still take advantage of a non-residential program such as day treatment or outpatient.
Day Treatment programs allow you to participate in treatment during the day, between/around work shifts, and then you go home in the evening. This makes the program last longer – sometimes up to 90 days. However, it reduces the amount of time needed day-to-day.
More details on Day Treatment programs.
Use an Outpatient Program
An Outpatient program works around your current schedule, giving you the ability to keep working normal hours in most cases. If needed, we’ll help you figure out a good schedule with your workplace.
Since it’s meant to adapt to work schedules, outpatient is the most flexible treatment option available. It needs a bit of give-and-take, both from your schedule and your employer’s, and usually takes longer than 30 days to complete. But for those clients who need that flexibility, it’s worked out time and time again.
More details on Outpatient Rehab.
See? You have more options than you may have thought. Thanks to flexible rehab centers like SSH, it’s possible to keep your job and seek treatment for addiction. You’ll have an intense few weeks or months…but you’ll come out of it with the tools to lead a much healthier life.