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Talking To Your Boss About Your Addiction

July 22, 2016 - , , , , - 0 Comments

Admitting to yourself that you are an addict is difficult. Admitting it to friends and family is even harder. Talking to your boss and your colleagues at work is one of the hardest of the many steps towards recovery. It is also one of the most important steps. Being able to stand up and say “I am an addict” is a key to your recovery process. You cannot deal with the ways in which your addiction affects your work life without first frankly admitting it.

Addiction as Disease and Disability

The first fear you need to overcome is that of shame about admitting your addiction. The main thing to keep in mind is that addiction is a disease. It’s not a sign of weakness or of some sort of character flaw. An addiction is legally considered a disability and an addict, like any other person living with a disability, has a legal right to workplace accommodations and medical leave. You should feel no more embarrassed about talking to your boss and your human resources department about your addiction than you would talking to them about having hearing or visual impairments.

Choosing the Right Time

Before you talk to your boss and colleagues about your addiction, talk with counseling professionals and create a plan. Think about what sort of time you will need to take off work to enter a rehabilitation program and what sort of other accommodation you might need. Rather than simply going to your boss and saying “I am an addict” you want to be able to say “I am a recovering addict and would like to talk with you about how I can continue to be a productive employee during my recovery process.”

Making Amends at Work

When you tell your boss that you are an addict, rather than being surprised or judgmental, your boss may actually be relieved. Even if you are a high-functioning addict, your addiction has probably been affecting your work productivity and your boss and colleagues may well have been aware of your addiction or worried that something was wrong and wondering how to raise the topic with you. Discussing your addiction with your boss allows you to make amends and seek a path forward to a productive work life in which you build honest relationships with your boss and colleagues, making them part of the network that supports your recovery process.

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