Blog | Addiction Recovery

While You Wait: Talking to Your Boss Before Alcohol Rehab

In this post, we’ll be continuing our series about the best ways to fill your time before you start addiction treatment. Today we’re talking about one of the most difficult steps you have to take before heading off to treatment: talking to your boss.

Before you talk to your boss, one important step is to get informed. Find out more about your insurance policy and the amount of time you can take off. Under the Affordable Care Act, mental and behavioral health benefits are considered essential services. All healthcare plans must cover substance abuse treatment.[1] This information will be very helpful and useful to know. You are also protected by law—specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act—when you are an addict.[2] (There are some exceptions to this law if you are currently using illegal drugs.) Once you have that information, it is time to schedule a time to talk to your boss.

When to Talk to Your Boss About Alcohol Rehab

Man talking to boss

The timing is important when you talk to your boss about going to alcohol rehab. On most occasions, you don’t want to tell them before you have a date lined up for treatment.The reason for this is if treatment takes longer than you planned, you may find yourself without a job before you were expecting it. You also don’t want to wait too long,or they may hear rumors from co-workers about your alcohol addiction treatment.

The best idea is to avoid discussing your plans for alcohol rehab with any co-workers—or anyone at work—until you have spoken with your boss. If making sure you have a job when you return is a priority, wait until you have some solid information to give to your supervisor(regarding the dates you will be gone).

How to Talk About Alcohol Rehab with Your Supervisor

You might be anxious or apprehensive to have this conversation with your boss. That’s understandable because you are simultaneously admitting that you have an alcohol addiction issue and that you will be away from work for a given period. In some cases, your boss may not be surprised at all that you are seeking alcohol addiction treatment. Even if you think that you’ve kept your alcoholism completely separate from your job, the chances are that those who work with you have picked up on the signs.

Most bosses will be glad that you are getting the help that you need to heal. However, it might be impossible for them to hold your position open in wait for your return. It’s not personal, but their business must function in your absence, and if you hold a key position to your employer’s operation, then it may be necessary for them to hire someone when you leave – and it’s not necessarily fair for that person to be fired when you come back.

Don’t lose hope. Keep things positive, and burn no bridges. Don’t blame anyone or cause a fight. You never know when a position will open up again. If not, you can always get a great reference to take with you. After you complete alcohol rehab, you can use that reference to get a new job.

Are you currently in this stage where you are not sure what to tell your boss about alcohol rehab? Feel free to contact us at Michael’s House. We are here to help you move forward.


[1] https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/mental-health-substance-abuse-coverage/ Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coverage.

[2] https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/PHD1091/PHD1091.pdf Are You In Recovery From Alcohol and Drug Problems? Know Your Rights.