Signs Your Boss Already Knows You Have a Substance Abuse Problem
If you’re struggling with addiction and still trying to maintain your life, it can sometimes feel like you’re doing everything you can to hold on. You’re going to work, meeting your deadlines, and doing your best each day. You may think your employer doesn’t have a clue you’re struggling with addiction or substance abuse because you’re doing your job. Yet that’s likely not the case.
It’s not uncommon for an employer to pick up on the signs that someone is struggling. Even in those who are high functioning, there are warning signs.
Does Your Employer Know You Have a Substance Use Problem?
Each situation is different, but chances are good your employer knows something is going on. Depending on what they know about you, they could be able to spot signs of addiction.
- Behavior changes: They may suspect something isn’t going well because you’re behaving differently. Perhaps you’ve lied to them; seemed more distracted, moody, or tired than usual; or failed to act appropriately with a customer.
- Your work is no longer the quality it was: Sometimes, the most obvious change is in the quality of the work you’re doing – and you may not even realize you’re doing poorly. Your productivity may be lower, or you’re making simple mistakes, or you’re not anticipating problems and preparing for them.
- Missing work often: Even when you’re using PTO time, significant absences from work are an indication that something isn’t right. Those with addiction often take more time off work than other employees.
- Health problems: Your employer may be able to recognize a number of health problems developing, such as dental problems, bloodshot eyes, dark circles under your eyes, or skin problems.
- Financial difficulties: If you’re struggling financially because of your addiction, your employer may start to suspect that something is wrong when you ask for more money or a loan or want to work longer hours.
Perhaps most obviously, employers start to feel suspicious when you come to work under the influence. Maybe you have a drink or two before work or during breaks. Even if you don’t feel high or drunk, the smell of these substances can alert any employer to what’s really happening, especially when other symptoms are also evident.
If They Know, What Are They Going to Do?
You may be afraid to tell your employer about what’s occurring. Remember, though, that alcoholism and substance use disorder are chronic diseases. They will progress until you cannot work at all. More so, they are treatable with the right care. Your employer may be more than willing to help you on that path.
Telling Your Employer
There’s no rule that says you have to tell your employer about your addiction, but in some situations, it may be a good thing. Some employers offer mental health and substance abuse treatment, along with support programs and benefits, to help people get into treatment. Ask your human resource team or employer about these types of opportunities.
If you’re unsure your employer will allow you to remain working, consider taking some time off if you qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Though there’s no guarantee of pay, your health insurance benefits remain in place while you take several weeks to months off to get care. You may not need to inform your boss about what’s occurring, but you will need to formally ask for FMLA protection. If your employer is required under federal law to provide time off, requesting it can help to protect your position while you get help. You may be able to go back to work after treatment.
In situations where FMLA does not apply, you may still be able to take some time off to work on healing yourself. You may be able to get started with an outpatient program that allows you to get care while you are still working.
Getting Into Care Is Essential
Be proactive. If your employer gains any type of evidence that you are using substances before or while at work, you could lose your job. Even if your employer is caring and compassionate, there’s a significant liability risk present when allowing a person to work intoxicated.
Seek out substance abuse, drug and alcohol treatment in Lafayette, LA. Let our team begin the process of supporting you on your journey to recovery. We can work with you and provide support for FMLA requests. Even if you’re unsure whether your employer knows what’s happening, you know you need help. Contact Victory Addiction Recovery Center today to learn how we can help.
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