How to Attend Treatment While Working or in School

Co-workers sitting at a desk working together on a project with computers

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 | By Cooper Samp

So you decided you might need rehabilitation, but you are not sure if you can do it logistically. You have a job, school and/or a family; how can you just disregard all these responsibilities for 3 months? One of the biggest roadblocks for attending treatment are these responsibilities. We see people every day who want to get help, but they feel like they are stuck. A person’s health should be their top priority in life, but unfortunately, we can sometimes feel trapped by life. Thankfully there are systems in place to allow people to focus on what matters without the worry of life’s responsibilities.

How to Attend Treatment With a Job

Often times it can be hard for people to find help when they have a job. For one, it is hard to quit everything at the drop of a dime, but maybe more common is the false sense of control that comes with keeping a job. The full severity of one’s addiction might not be realized until that job is lost – unfortunately, this is when it’s too late.

Your job is affected by your substance abuse whether it is your work performance, frequent mistakes, or absences; sooner or later the addiction catches up and people lose their job. Employers want the best for you, and if they can help you become a more effective and efficient worker, well then it is in everyone’s best interest for you to get help.

CAN I LOSE MY JOB IF MY BOSS KNOWS I’M AN ALCOHOLIC AND NEED TREATMENT?

We hear this one a lot! Thanks to The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) employees with disabilities are safe from discrimination. Under this act, substance use disorders are considered a legitimate disability meaning individuals cannot be let go due to attending treatment. We should note, this law does not protect against actions under the influence – such as working while drinking. So, if you are hesitant to confront your employer about your problem, rest assured your job is safe – as long as you take the proper steps to get help. If not, your job performance eventually will suffer and that is a reasonable cause for termination.

HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR JOB WHILE IN TREATMENT (FMLA)

Getting help is easier than most people think, thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This act allows eligible employees to take an unpaid leave of absence while still keeping their job protected. You are allowed 12 weeks of medical leave for every 12-month period. Therefore, if you choose to attend a drug or alcohol rehab program, the Family and Medical Leave Act will protect you from being terminated during your time in treatment.

It might be a little uncomfortable talking to your employer about leaving – but don’t worry, you can leave that to us! A physician here will contact your employer, notify them of your leave, and explain to them that you are taking FMLA. Your employer will not be informed of your presence in a drug and alcohol rehab, only that you are in the hospital for private medical reasons.

HOW TO AFFORD EXPENSES WHILE IN TREATMENT (SHORT-TERM DISABILITY)

So we’ve found out you can keep your job, but what about that paycheck? We understand people still have financial obligations so how can we manage these while in treatment?

Most employers offer some type of short-term disability. Short-term disability is a type of insurance that pays a percentage of your salary if you become temporarily disabled: meaning you are unable to work due to sickness or an injury. A plan will typically cover 70-80 percent of a person’s salary throughout their time of recovery – sometimes up to two years. Talk to your HR representative and find out if your employer offers short-term disability. If they do, make sure to go over the plan with them as different plans can vary in a variety of ways. For instance, plans can differ on the percentage paid and on what types of illnesses are covered; in some cases, mental health illnesses (like substance use disorders) may or may not be covered.

HOW TO AFFORD TREATMENT

Health insurance can cover many if not all of the costs of treatment. Often times employers offer health insurance for their employees. Once you obtain your insurance information, call the treatment center of your choice and they will be able to break down the expenses required to attend treatment.

If you do not have insurance, try asking for financial assistance from friends and family. More often than not families and friends are more than willing to help as they understand the importance of treatment and getting back to your healthier and better self.

Another option is financing your treatment.  We offer a variety of financing options to help people of all incomes attend treatment. Here at Coalition Recovery, we never want finances to be the barrier for getting help – there is always a way and we’ll work with you to find it!


If you are unsure about how to go about this process, call one of our 24-hour addiction specialists. They will complete your free medical assessment and walk through your insurance information and if there happen to be any out-of-pocket costs. Coalition Recovery will then be able to provide transportation to our facility. Once here, we can work through your treatment plan, including tying up any work responsibilities. Our specialists have experience working with FMLA and short-term disability and are more than happy walking you through the process.

How to Attend Treatment While in School/College

School can be a difficult and stressful time for many. College is a very common time when addictive traits are learned and progressed. Drinking and weekend drug use tend to be seen as the norm in many social circles in college. Combining this with the everyday stress and struggles of academics makes college life susceptible to drug abuse and dependence.

We often hear the struggles of students who want to be free from the grasps of drugs, while at the same time, they don’t want to lose their hard-earned academic progress. Well, much like work employment there are systems in place to protect student while they get help without any repercussions. Attending college with a substance use disorder has been shown to significantly hinder overall performance; therefore utilizing these systems early can protect students from academic decline and failure.

Students can use what is called “Medical Withdrawal” to temporarily take a leave of absence. When students use a medical withdrawal they typically re-do their current semester after their leave has finished. This way they can continue to pick up where they left off without any repercussions. To learn more about how to go about this process read this article.


Call Coalition Recovery to speak with one of our addiction specialists. Our representatives can answer questions about what services are available, what to expect while in treatment, and how we can help you protect your career while you’re on leave.

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