top of page

How to Maintain Employment While Undergoing Addiction Treatment

Keeping your job while undergoing addiction treatment feels like you’re balancing on a tightrope. For many, the fear of jeopardizing their job adds an extra layer of stress to an already challenging process. However, with the right strategies and support, it is possible to manage both successfully.

How can individuals seeking recovery ensure they remain productive at work while prioritizing their well-being? This blog will explore effective methods to sustain your career during this time of personal growth.

Addiction treatment and employment

Source: Freepik

Understanding Addiction and Employment

Employment offers financial security, a sense of accomplishment, as well as social connection that can be helpful in one's recovery journey. Yet, all these are not without challenges.

Individuals with addiction may struggle to fulfill project standards and expectations at work, leading to low performance and inefficiency. Addiction may also impair cognitive function making it difficult to concentrate. Some may even miss work due to withdrawal or relapse.

The demands of employment are no doubt big stressors that, when not properly managed, can ruin progress being made in recovery.

Seeking Treatment While Employed

Seeking treatment while having a job comes with many benefits. Employment provides a steady income and financial security as well as a sense of routine, all of which are pivotal to recovery.

And even though employment can come with some stress, it's nothing like the financial and emotional strain that comes with money insecurity which can increase the chances of relapse. The uninterrupted access to health insurance can also cover addiction treatment costs making it possible to enroll in suitable addiction treatment programs without cost concerns.

However, most of these treatment programs can be time-consuming and to make continuous progress, it's important to find treatment options that fit with work schedules.

Flexible outpatient programs are a viable option. Many centers offer outpatient programs with evening, weekend, or part time schedules to accommodate work commitments. You can also consider teletherapy. It will allow you to attend your therapy sessions remotely using video conferencing. With this option, you'll get all the convenience and flexibility you need.

Employer assisted programs are also available in some organizations. These programs offer confidential counseling, referrals, and support for employees struggling with addiction. This may relieve you of the costs that come with addiction treatment.

Maintaining employment during addiction recovery

Source: Freepik

Communicating with Employers and Colleagues

Communicating with employers and colleagues about your struggles with addiction may be the last thing you want to do, but it's necessary. Understanding your legal rights in this situation will guide how you navigate these discussions with your employer and colleagues.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits the discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability. Addiction may be considered a disability if it affects your ability to work and attend to daily tasks.

This entitles you to flexible work schedules to attend treatment sessions, a short term leave where you have to attend in-patient treatment and possible modifications to work duties that can potentially trigger relapse.

To enjoy the rights available to you, you will have to communicate and set boundaries where needed with colleagues. Here are some tips for communicating with your employers and colleagues.

Communicating with Employers

  • When meeting with your employer, or supervisor, or HR representative, request for a confidential meeting place to discuss the situation.

  • Prepare beforehand and possibly have a brief of what will be discussed prior.

  • Explain your decision to seek treatment, the type of program you'll be in, and any potential scheduling adjustments you may need.

  • Maintain professionalism and emphasize how undergoing addiction treatment will make you a more reliable and productive employee.

Communicating with Colleagues

  • Remember you are in charge of what you want to share and carefully consider who you feel comfortable confiding in.

  • Share only as much as you are comfortable sharing.

  • Set boundaries with colleagues and request that they do not discuss your situation with others.

  • You can also share the progress you're making in recovery and reiterate your continuous commitment to upholding work standards.

Balancing Work and Recovery

Effective time management will enable you to fulfill your responsibilities while staying committed to your treatment sessions and recovery activities. Here are some simple time management techniques to try out:

  • Work with realistic schedules that include time for self-care.

  • Prioritize your tasks based on urgency and importance.

  • Start with small tasks before moving to bigger ones.

  • Break down large and seemingly difficult tasks into smaller, easier to achieve bits.

  • Make use of time management apps to track your tasks and set reminders.

  • Turn down work or commitments that would disrupt your schedule.

Support Networks

Look out for support groups that you are comfortable with and become a member. Participating in these groups will allow you to connect with others who understand the struggle. They can offer encouragement or share resources that will help you in healing.

Also, consider getting yourself a recovery sponsor who will hold you accountable and help you prevent relapse.

And though not very common, you can find support in your workplace too. Listen to your gut and feel free to seek support from those you trust.

Balancing work and addiction recovery

Source: Freepik

Coping with Potential Challenges

It's common for people struggling with addiction to face stigma and discrimination, leading to the fear of job loss. Remember, you have rights against workplace discrimination, and legal action can be taken against violators.

While external challenges exist, internal struggles like cravings can arise, especially in stressful work environments. Avoiding triggers and practicing relaxation techniques can help manage cravings and stress.

Returning to Work After Treatment

Returning to work after addiction treatment is surely a milestone in one's recovery journey but it can present a new set of challenges. Thankfully, it's nothing that proper planning cannot fix.

While undergoing treatment, ensure to develop strategies to manage triggers and maintain sobriety after returning to work.


It may feel impossible now but always remember that addiction treatment and recovery is a marathon not a sprint and you'll get there. If you're looking for a treatment program in Portland, Oregon, that'll let you balance work and recovery, contact Cielo Treatment Center.

20 views0 comments


bottom of page