Should I Tell My Employer That I Am Dealing with a Substance Use Disorder?  

man at work desk thinking

Dealing with addiction can be isolating. Your relationships often become strained and far less open than they used to be, especially if you feel the need to hide your struggle with addiction. For people in the workforce, there is the added pressure of maintaining your performance and trying not to raise any suspicions about your wellbeing.  

There is still a severe stigma for people with substance use disorders. You may find that people are quick to blame you for the consequences of this illness, rather than recognise your behaviors as a consequence of the illness. So, should you tell your boss about your substance use disorder?  

In short, yes. You should approach your boss and tell them about the disorder.  

Why Should I tell my Employer? 

The workplace may be the place where you receive support on your journey of recovery. Most companies have procedures and resources in place to support people dealing with addiction. Your employer may be able to put you on unpaid leave while you begin your treatment plan and put accommodations in place for when you return to your job. Remember, it is your employer’s duty to accommodate you as you recover from a substance use disorder. 

There may be serious consequences for both you and your employer if you choose not to disclose a substance use disorder. It can be extremely dangerous for you to be under the influence at work, especially if your work involves heavy equipment, vehicles, and manufacturing. In these scenarios, mishaps that happen because of substance misuse could be fatal. 

The Sooner the Better 

It might seem daunting to approach your boss for a couple of reasons. You may be worried about what they will think of you once they learn of your illness. You might even be scared of losing your job or future opportunities in your workplace. However, you must remember that substance abuse is stopping you from fulfilling your true potential. Your boss and colleagues will want to support you through your recovery and may be able to point you to helpful recovery programs 

With that being said, you should take some time to prepare for the conversation beforehand. Here are two things to do before you approach your boss. 

  1. Talk to your doctor or an addiction specialist. They can prepare a diagnosis for you if you don’t already have one, and you can present this to your boss. This is a useful tool to bring to a meeting with your boss, as it will help to guide the conversation and flag any relevant resources that they may be able to provide you. 
  1. Learn more about your company’s policy on substance misuse. This way, you will have a better sense of what to expect from your conversation. Most company policies will recognise addiction for the illness that it is and allow time for recovery at a rehabilitation facility. 

Seeking help for a drug or alcohol addiction takes courage. It might be a difficult conversation to have, but it is necessary, and you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. Although you want to tell your employer about your struggles with addiction as soon as you can, remember that you do not have to let any of your coworkers know. If you feel comfortable enough to share information about your illness with them, then do so. However, if you don’t, feel free to keep it between you and your employer. 

Once you have spoken with your employer, finding a holistic treatment plan is an essential next step in your journey of recovery. Fortunately, Heritage Home provides a plan that is individualised and well-rounded. Don’t wait any longer to start your journey of healing. Call us today at 1-514-621-4597 or 1-888-999-1968.