Should You Tell Your Boss About Your Alcohol Problem?April 27, 2017 - Alcohol - 0 Comments
One of the most difficult aspects of your life to navigate as an alcoholic is your work. You may have spent a considerable amount of time and money to get to where you are today. So, if you have developed an alcohol problem and realize that you need to go to an alcohol rehab center, deciding whether or not you should tell your boss becomes a big deal.
The problem with any addiction and especially alcohol is that your issue never gets better while you are active, it just only gets worse, and worse, and worse. Perhaps you came into work hungover more than once, or your appearance has suffered. You likely no longer really care that much about things that you once did. When you spend a massive portion of your time at work, people notice things. While you think that you may be slick and that you are an expert in managing your drinking, your co-workers and possibly your boss may already know what you don’t want to admit. Maybe someone smelled that drink on your breath after lunch. Your situation will never get better, only worse.
Maybe you have already told your significant other or your family about your problem, just not your work. They are supportive of you and want to see the old you that cared so much, return. You might have even discussed with them about checking out some alcohol rehab facilities. The bottom line is that your addiction has come to a head, and you know that you need help, but don’t want to jeopardize your job.
So what should you do? Well, if you did tell your boss, there is no going back. The knowledge of your addiction will remain forever. It’s nice to have a supportive boss, but they have a job to do and someone to report to, just like you. Chances are that the word will spread about you, and it may be impossible to ever get a fair shake at work. You could easily be passed over for a promotion you would have otherwise gotten had it not been for your sensitive disclosure.
This does not mean that you should avoid treatment. In fact, you need to do whatever you can to get into treatment as soon as possible. Treatment will not only get you back on your feet but will help you to understand your addiction, the whys of what you did and teach you the skills you need to cope without alcohol.
Hopefully you decided to do something in time before your addiction becomes obvious to everyone at work. Before you reveal anything, you need to check your company’s Employee Assistance Program, and examine their drug and alcohol policy, if they have one. If they don’t refer to their policy for sick employees. It is best to go straight through the human resources department. They don’t need to know any specifics, and will just provide you the information you need to access what is available to you. Treatment may be covered under the company policy and the insurance company does not tell your company what treatment you received, just that you got help. You might want to check if you can take FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) leave from work also, but it generally isn’t an issue.
If you do tell your boss and then go to an alcohol rehab center, there is a whole lot of extra pressure on you when you do return and that is the last thing that you need in early sobriety.
If it seems obvious that your manager knows what’s going on, then it may be best to come clean. There are many situations where the manager really does care and will support you along the way. It’s much better than having an 800-pound gorilla in the room and you will feel better for being honest. However, only you and your family need to know, unless other circumstances warrant you revealing it.