How to Tell Your Boss You Need Rehab for Drugs or Alcohol

how to tell your boss you need rehab

It’s hard enough to admit to yourself that you need to go to rehab for drug or alcohol abuse. Then, when you’ve finally made the decision to get honest with yourself and get help, it’s time to tell everyone else in your life – including your boss. Telling your boss you need rehab for drugs or alcohol doesn’t have to be intimidating, though – and it certainly shouldn’t be a reason to delay getting the help you need. With a few simple steps, you could be on the road to getting better, sooner.

How to Tell Your Boss You Need Rehab: Make the Decision

It sounds simple, but before you announce your decision, you’ve got to make the decision. If you’re still going back and forth on whether it’s time for addiction treatment, it’s not time to clue your boss in. Alerting them to your struggle before you are willing to get help will only shine a spotlight on the ways in which your drug or alcohol use is impacting your work performance – and it could even get you fired. 

How to Tell Your Boss You Need Rehab: Know Your Rights

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits your employer from firing you just because you have substance use disorder – or because you need to pursue addiction treatment. The key is to get help before your work starts to suffer. If your drinking or partying is hurting your work performance and you aren’t willing to get help, your boss is completely within their rights to fire you.

There are other laws on your side when it’s time to get help, though. In addition to the ADA, the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) protects your ability to leave work in order to receive medical care – and that includes addiction treatment. Most employers are covered by the FMLA, which guarantees that you can take a period of time off for help – or to help a loved one – and your job will be there waiting for you. If you’re not sure whether your employer is covered by the FMLA, check your employee handbook, talk to HR, or talk to your EAP representative.

How to Tell Your Boss You Need Rehab: Have a Plan

The more clear you can be in explaining your plan to your boss, the better. What type of treatment will you be pursuing: an outpatient program or residential rehab? Roughly how long do you plan to stay in treatment? Will you be able to check in with work at all during treatment? Do you even want to return when you are done? Having a clear plan that you can share with your boss makes it easier for them to make their own plan to cover for you the next few months – and to welcome you upon your return.

How to Tell Your Boss You Need Rehab: Make the Commitment

That plan should include a concrete date for starting treatment. Then, it’s up to you to follow through and make it count. Take advantage of the time you have and dedicate yourself to getting the most out of residential addiction treatment. Explore all of the addiction treatment modalities that are available to you. Not only will you return to work a better employee; but more importantly, you’ll be happier, healthier, and more stable in your personal life, too.

How to Tell Your Boss You Need Rehab: Ask for Help

If it’s time to tell your boss you need rehab, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Call our caring team or send a chat for help putting together a plan or for tips on what to say. Talk to your HR rep or EAP rep about advocating for you with your boss. Lean on a friend or family member who can give you support as you prepare to break the news. Any of these resources would even be happy to speak to your boss on your behalf. You don’t have to start the road to recovery on your own. We’re ready when you are.