Balancing one’s professional obligations and recovery is complex, and navigating these two worlds is physically and mentally exhausting. However, there are ways for your client to address their need for treatment while maintaining employment, and some employers may even help facilitate the recovery process. Knowing the options available and the help that employers may provide can help guide each individual towards a healthy future. Conversations with human resources departments and familiarization with the Americans with Disabilities Act are great places to start. An individual can better understand how one’s employer may help make addiction treatment possible, mitigate costs, ensure their future employment, and be treated fairly in the workplace.
Knowing Your Options
Discussing addiction and treatment can be incredibly difficult, and it is common for someone to want to hide their needs and use from others. Lying to loved ones and hiding alcohol or drugs are standard practices for those suffering from the disease. Talking to less familiar people can be even more challenging. Those suffering from addiction may feel significant reservations about approaching their employers, managers, or human resources department about their treatment needs. Therefore, before engaging in one of these conversations, your client should take a moment to take stock of their options.
Some employers may have resources posted on bulletins or available in pamphlets, especially regarding health-related issues, complete with phone numbers of local treatment options for mental health, addiction, or various other medical needs. If a person is receiving insurance through their employer, it can be beneficial to go over their insurance package to know how much of their costs may be covered. Addiction treatment changed their classification of addiction from a “pre-existing condition” to a medical issue in 2010, meaning that an individual’s insurance is more likely to cover at least some of the costs. Additionally, for those getting insurance through their employer, having access to this information is crucial for understanding how much of their treatment will be covered.
Health reimbursement arrangements, or “HRAs,” may also be available as an option depending on your client’s employer. While not all employers will have HRAs available, and how much is invested into each one is decided entirely by the employer, looking into them can help an individual further understand the financial options available. These are medical funds that help employees get reimbursed for medical costs. While an individual will have to pay whatever is due first, speaking with employers about reimbursement for medical expenses can further balance their need for sobriety while managing their wallets.
Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a powerful resource for those taking the first step towards treatment for addiction of any kind. Under the Act, addiction is deemed a medical disability, meaning that an individual is protected from discrimination that may result from one’s history with addictive substances. The ADA protects their employment status while pursuing treatment and allows them to be judged fairly while in the workplace while navigating their treatment and recovery. Familiarizing oneself with the intricacies of this Act at the ada.gov website can ensure that while talking with employers, one is treated fairly during their difficult time.
Approaching Human Resource Departments
However, for your client to garner the most support from their employer, they must be actively aware of their situation and intentions. This can mean having a very difficult conversation with one’s manager or company HR department—a conversation that is sure to be difficult and make an individual feel vulnerable. When having these conversations, it is more important that an individual talk to someone they trust rather than the first person they see. Talking to a manager from another department with whom they may be more comfortable, or even a coworker who can serve as a liaison, can both open necessary dialogue in a safer, more relaxed way.
Talking with supports and rehearsing beforehand can also help ensure that individuals make themselves clear while divulging only the necessary information, safe in knowing that they are protected under the ADA. While difficult, talking with managers or the HR department ensures that your client is transparent as possible. This move will garner the most support from their employer, either through helping to navigate and ensure that insurance can cover the cost or that other resources are available to help with treatment, such as the HRAs mentioned above.
Employers can be a valuable resource for helping to finance and navigate a person’s treatment and recovery. They can also help to cover costs or direct an individual to affordable and local treatment centers. Treatment is essential for a safe and effective first step towards sobriety. Your client’s ability to balance finances while garnering all available financial support from their employer can assist them in making the best, most informed decision for their sober future.
Financing treatment and addiction recovery can feel intimidating, but there are several ways that you can invest in your future and use the resources at your disposal. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center of Orange County, California, we understand the need to balance your finances with your sober future and are prepared to help you navigate even the most difficult parts of your recovery. We offer various programs dedicated to meeting you where you are on your recovery journey, including detox and residential programs, outpatient, and aftercare plans, all personalized with your unique needs and goals throughout recovery. Our intimate atmosphere allows us to spend personal time with you and constantly adapt strategies to best fit your needs while scaffolding the necessary skills for your personal and professional future in sobriety. For more information on how you can take the first step towards a sober future today, please call us at (949) 426-7962.