Do I Have to Quit My Job for Detox and Recovery?

December 23, 2022

Written By: Emiley McEwen BS Criminal Justice, MBA Finance

Taking the first step into a dedicated detox or treatment program to overcome the use of drugs or alcohol is a profound experience. Such a step should be celebrated and championed. However, there can be many barriers to this first step. It is common for working professionals to be concerned about balancing their employment and their need for treatment. 

Making the most of dedicated detox and recovery programs takes dedication, it can feel difficult to juggle your career and recovery efforts. However, it might help to know that you do not have to leave your job to pursue sobriety. Utilizing all available resources can help you continue on your career path while pursuing a healthier, happier, and sober life.

The Importance of Pursuing Treatment

Those looking for professional help to overcome their use of alcohol or drugs can often find an immediate hurdle in their recovery journey. You may feel as if you have to quit your job to do so. Or, you may fear the stigmas surrounding words like “addiction” and “treatment.” Addiction is never an isolated disease. Avoiding dedicated addiction treatment programs will have an equally large impact on your professional life. 

The use of addictive substances likely affects your professional life in many ways, including:

  • Compromised workplace performance
  • Inconsistent attendance or consistently being late to work
  • Difficulty tending to professional tasks or managing tasks/priorities
  • Changes in workplace atmosphere or mood
  • Loss of employment

Ignoring your use of drugs or alcohol to prioritize your professional life can end up having the opposite effect. Not only is pursuing treatment while maintaining employment possible, but it is necessary to ensure that you avoid further negative impacts on your career.

Knowing Your Resources

While you do not necessarily have to choose between your professional career and your recovery, you must still utilize the proper resources to pursue professional treatment. Understanding your resources can aid in both your recovery journey and continued employment.

The Americans With Disabilities Act

First, you can become educated on legal protections to empower your decision to pursue treatment. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is one such program that classifies addiction as a disability that fundamentally affects an individual’s life. Under this protection, a person cannot be fired for pursuing addiction treatment. However, this doesn’t mean that they are immune to professional consequences.

You can still be fired for compromised workplace performance or attendance, or if you are showing up to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Still, this protection ensures that you cannot be fired for pursuing detox or other professional treatment programs, given that you are actively engaged in recovery and maintaining sobriety.

Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) also classifies addiction as a serious medical condition. With this, you may be able to apply for time off to pursue dedicated treatment while having your job protected upon your return.

Disclosing your need for treatment with trusted employers or management can ensure that you are operating in the proper channels to apply for FMLA. Depending on your situation, a referral or documentation from a medical health provider may be necessary. However, having your job protected for when you do return from dedicated detox or residential treatment programs can alleviate a lot of stress regarding your personal needs and pursuits. All in all, this can help you to focus wholly on recovery and sobriety.

Taking Vacation

While the pervasive work culture across the United States celebrates working long, hard hours, it is important to remember that your vacation time is earned and should be used. Using vacation time to put aside time for detox to begin your journey to a healthy, sober life may be necessary. No one should ever feel bad about using this hard-earned time for their health and betterment. Likewise, this vacation time can be an invaluable resource in your recovery journey.

Taking this vacation can also ensure that you can wholly focus on your personal needs. It allows you to explore dedicated treatment and recovery outlets while avoiding feeling like you have to balance professional expectations during the beginning of your profound journey to sobriety.

Balancing Continued Treatment

Even if you can take time off to pursue detox and recovery, the conclusion of these programs does not mean that your recovery is “complete.” Rather, your journey to sobriety is an ongoing process. Continued engagement in dedicated outpatient programs and support groups is necessary.

Talking with your employer about clear and consistent work schedules can allow those continuing their recovery effectively balance their workplace hours with outpatient therapy times, group meetings, and effective self-care practices. Remember, your recovery journey is constantly evolving. Continuing to utilize all available resources to create an effective schedule is necessary to maintain your sober transformations while furthering your professional advancements.

Pursuing addiction recovery treatment is difficult, and overcoming any barriers to effective programs should be celebrated. At Buena Vista Recovery, we understand the need to balance your need for effective, dedicated treatment with your continued professional life. We offer an array of programs designed to help you create a personal recovery plan curated to your needs. Our caring staff can help you understand and navigate all available resources, all helping you balance your needs and goals. From medical detox programs and inpatient treatment to intensive outpatient programs designed to help you balance your needs, we can create the right program for you. For more information on how we can help you take this first step toward sobriety, call (480) 741-9414.