Taking time off for rehab can be scary – putting your life on hold, stepping away from the familiar routines of home and work life. The latter is a particularly common concern – how can I take the time I need to deal with my addiction without damaging my professional life? It is important to remember that your health and well-being are paramount – if you don’t take care of yourself, it will have a negative impact on your job eventually so it’s best to be proactive. Here are several tips to help you get the treatment you need without hurting your career.
Talk to HR – Rehab is covered by FMLA, so you have legal protections against being let go. Talk to HR about filing for it to make sure your job is protected while you protect your health.
Make a plan – Discuss with your coworkers and superior that you need to take a medical leave and come with suggestions of how to reduce the impact of your absence. Make a document outline the things that will need to be handled while you’re out with dates and contact info.
Use your tools – If you regularly correspond via email, set up an auto-responder explaining that you’re away and who the best person to contact in the meantime is. Make sure to update any shared calendars. Consider leaving a note at your workstation in case someone drops by.
Make a clean break – Don’t compromise on your time by answering emails or checking in on projects. This is your time, and you are entitled to take a leave. Allow yourself to focus on your healing journey.
We often have so much of our identity wrapped up in our work that it can be hard to walk away. Just remember that taking the time to deal with your addiction is the right professional move in the long run, both for you and your employer.