Table of Contents

Balancing Work

balancing work

Clinically Reviewed by: Dr. Robin Campbell, LMFT, PHD

Working and Keeping Career While in Rehab

Entering rehab is a courageous step towards reclaiming control of one’s life and overcoming addiction. However, for many individuals, the decision to seek treatment can be fraught with concerns about maintaining their career while prioritizing their health and well-being. In this blog, we’ll explore the challenges and strategies for balancing a career with the demands of rehab. From navigating workplace expectations to managing communication with employers and colleagues, we’ll provide practical tips and insights to help individuals maintain their professional identity while focusing on their recovery journey. Let’s dive into the essential considerations and empowering strategies for keeping a career while in rehab.

Will You Lose Your Job if You Go to Rehab?

Losing your job due to seeking treatment for addiction or attending rehab is a valid concern for many individuals. However, several factors influence whether you may lose your job, including your employment contract, company policies, and local labor laws. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Employment Protections: In many countries, there are laws and regulations that protect individuals from discrimination based on disability, including addiction. For example, in the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including those who are in recovery from substance use disorders.
  2. Company Policies: Review your company’s policies regarding medical leave, disability accommodations, and confidentiality. Many companies have employee assistance programs (EAPs) or other resources available to support employees seeking treatment for addiction.
  3. Communication with Employers: It’s essential to communicate openly and honestly with your employer about your need for treatment. Depending on your relationship with your employer and the company culture, you may choose to disclose your reasons for seeking rehab or simply request medical leave without providing specific details.
  4. Medical Leave: Depending on your employment contract and local laws, you may be entitled to take medical leave for treatment without fear of losing your job. Familiarize yourself with your rights and responsibilities regarding medical leave and consult with HR or legal experts if needed.
  5. Rehabilitation Programs: Some companies offer rehabilitation programs or assistance with accessing treatment for employees struggling with addiction. These programs may include referrals to treatment centers, financial assistance, or accommodations to support your recovery journey.
  6. Seek Legal Advice: If you’re concerned about potential job loss or discrimination due to seeking treatment for addiction, consider consulting with a legal expert who specializes in employment law. They can provide guidance on your rights and options for protecting your job while prioritizing your health and well-being.


Ultimately, the decision to seek treatment for addiction is a personal one, and maintaining your job while in rehab is possible with proper communication, understanding of your rights, and support from your employer and treatment providers. If you’re unsure about how seeking treatment may impact your job, consider seeking guidance from trusted professionals or organizations specializing in addiction and employment issues.

Ways to Make Money While In Rehab

While in rehab, focusing on your recovery is the top priority. However, if you’re concerned about maintaining financial stability during this time, there are some ways you can make money while in rehab that won’t compromise your recovery efforts. Here are a few options:

  1. Remote Work: Depending on your skills and qualifications, you may be able to work remotely while in rehab. Look for opportunities such as freelance writing, graphic design, virtual assistance, or other remote-friendly jobs that allow you to set your own schedule and work from anywhere with an internet connection.
  2. Online Surveys and Task Sites: Participating in online surveys, completing small tasks on websites like Amazon Mechanical Turk or TaskRabbit, or providing feedback on websites and apps can be a way to earn some extra cash in your spare time while in rehab.
  3. Selling Items Online: If you have items you no longer need or use, consider selling them online through platforms like eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. This can be a way to declutter and generate some extra income while in rehab.
  4. Part-Time Work: If your treatment program allows for it and you’re physically and mentally able, you may be able to find part-time work opportunities that accommodate your rehab schedule. Look for flexible jobs in industries like retail, food service, or hospitality that may offer evening or weekend shifts.
  5. Freelancing: If you have a skill or talent that can be monetized, such as writing, graphic design, photography, or consulting, consider freelancing on a project basis. Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer allow you to find freelance opportunities and work with clients on your own terms.
  6. Renting Out Space: If you have an extra room in your home or apartment, consider renting it out on platforms like Airbnb or Vrbo to generate additional income. Just be sure to check with your landlord or housing regulations to ensure it’s allowed.
  7. Pet Sitting or Dog Walking: If you’re an animal lover, consider offering pet sitting or dog walking services in your neighborhood. You can set your own schedule and rates, and it can be a rewarding way to earn money while in rehab.
  8. Tutoring or Teaching: If you have expertise in a particular subject or skill, consider offering tutoring services to students in your community or teaching online courses through platforms like Udemy or Teachable.


Remember to prioritize your recovery and well-being above all else. If you’re considering ways to make money while in rehab, be sure to discuss your plans with your treatment team to ensure they support your goals and won’t interfere with your recovery process.

Can You Work While in Inpatient Rehab?

In most cases, working while in inpatient rehab is not feasible or recommended. Inpatient rehab programs typically involve intensive treatment and therapy sessions, structured daily schedules, and limited access to external activities or responsibilities. Here are a few reasons why working while in inpatient rehab may not be practical:

  1. Focus on Recovery: The primary goal of inpatient rehab is to focus on your recovery from addiction and develop the skills and strategies necessary for long-term sobriety. Working while in rehab can detract from your ability to fully engage in treatment and prioritize your well-being.
  2. Structured Schedule: Inpatient rehab programs typically have structured daily schedules that include therapy sessions, group activities, educational workshops, and other therapeutic interventions. Balancing a work schedule alongside these activities can be challenging and may detract from your treatment progress.
  3. Limited Access to Resources: Inpatient rehab facilities often have limited access to resources such as computers, phones, and the internet, which may be necessary for certain types of work. Additionally, restrictions on outside contact and activities may limit your ability to communicate with employers or clients.
  4. Emotional and Physical Demands: Recovery from addiction can be emotionally and physically demanding, especially during the early stages of treatment. Working while in rehab may add additional stress and pressure, which could undermine your progress and increase the risk of relapse.
  5. Confidentiality and Privacy: Inpatient rehab programs prioritize confidentiality and privacy to create a safe and supportive environment for individuals in treatment. Working while in rehab may compromise your confidentiality and privacy, especially if your job requires you to communicate with clients or colleagues outside of the facility.


While working may not be feasible during inpatient rehab, there are other options for maintaining financial stability, such as utilizing savings, accessing disability benefits, or exploring financial assistance programs. It’s important to prioritize your recovery and well-being during this time and to discuss any concerns about finances or employment with your treatment team. They can provide guidance and support to help you navigate these challenges while focusing on your recovery journey.

What is FMLA and How Does it Work for Me?

FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is a federal law in the United States that provides eligible employees with job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons. FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period for specific reasons, including:

  1. Serious Health Condition: To receive treatment for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform their job duties.
  2. Family Care: To care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition.
  3. Birth or Adoption: To bond with a newborn child or newly adopted child within one year of birth or placement.


FMLA applies to eligible employees of covered employers, which include:

  • Private-sector employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.
  • Public agencies, including local, state, and federal employers, regardless of the number of employees.
  • Elementary and secondary schools, both public and private.


To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must meet certain criteria, including:

  • Working for a covered employer for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive) and having worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave.
  • Working at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
  • Experiencing a qualifying event that necessitates FMLA leave, such as a serious health condition or the birth of a child.


When an employee takes FMLA leave, their job is protected, meaning that they have the right to return to the same or an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and terms of employment upon their return from leave. Employers are also required to maintain the employee’s health benefits during FMLA leave.

It’s important to note that FMLA leave is unpaid, although employees may be allowed to use accrued paid leave (such as sick leave or vacation time) during FMLA leave if their employer permits it. Additionally, some states have their own family and medical leave laws that may provide additional benefits or protections beyond FMLA.

If you believe you are eligible for FMLA leave, it’s important to notify your employer and request FMLA leave in accordance with their policies and procedures. Your employer may require you to provide medical certification or other documentation to support your request for FMLA leave.

What Should You Do if You Lose Your Job While in Rehab?

Losing your job while in rehab can be a challenging and stressful experience, but there are steps you can take to navigate this situation and prioritize your recovery. Here’s what you can do if you lose your job while in rehab:

  1. Focus on Your Recovery: First and foremost, prioritize your recovery and well-being. Losing your job can be emotionally difficult, but it’s essential to stay focused on your treatment and continue working towards your goals of sobriety and wellness.
  2. Understand Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your rights regarding employment and unemployment benefits. Depending on the circumstances of your job loss, you may be entitled to unemployment benefits or other forms of financial assistance. Contact your state’s unemployment office or consult with a legal expert to understand your options.
  3. Review Your Employment Contract and Company Policies: Review your employment contract, employee handbook, and any relevant company policies to understand the terms and conditions of your employment, including any rights you may have in the event of job loss. This can help you determine whether your termination was lawful and whether you have any recourse or legal options.
  4. Seek Support: Reach out to your support network, including friends, family, and your treatment team, for emotional support and guidance. Sharing your concerns and seeking advice from trusted individuals can help you navigate this challenging situation and develop a plan for moving forward.
  5. Explore Job Opportunities: Begin exploring job opportunities and networking with potential employers as soon as you feel ready. Consider updating your resume, reaching out to contacts in your industry, and searching for job openings online or through professional networking sites.
  6. Consider Your Next Steps: Losing your job may present an opportunity to reassess your career goals and priorities. Consider whether you want to continue working in the same field or explore new career paths that align with your interests and values. Take this time to reflect on your strengths, skills, and aspirations, and consider seeking guidance from career counselors or vocational experts if needed.
  7. Stay Positive and Persistent: Job loss can be a setback, but it’s important to stay positive and persistent in your job search efforts. Stay focused on your recovery, maintain a positive attitude, and continue taking proactive steps towards finding new employment opportunities.


Remember that losing your job does not define your worth or your future prospects. With determination, resilience, and support, you can overcome this challenge and move forward towards a brighter future.

Can You Lose Your Job for Being an Alcoholic or an Addict?

In many countries, including the United States, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or terminate their employment solely based on their status as an alcoholic or addict. Laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the U.S. and similar legislation in other countries protect individuals with substance use disorders from discrimination in the workplace.

However, there are some important considerations:

  1. Performance and Conduct: While employers cannot discriminate against individuals solely because they are alcoholics or addicts, they can take action if an employee’s performance or conduct is negatively impacted by their substance use. For example, if an employee’s alcohol or drug use leads to absenteeism, safety concerns, or poor job performance, an employer may address these issues through performance management or disciplinary measures.
  2. Seeking Treatment: If an employee voluntarily seeks treatment for a substance use disorder, they are protected under the ADA and other laws that prohibit discrimination based on disability. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, including those related to substance use disorders, such as time off for treatment or modified work schedules.
  3. Drug Testing Policies: Some employers may have drug testing policies in place that apply to all employees or certain positions, particularly in safety-sensitive industries. However, drug testing policies must be implemented in a non-discriminatory manner and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  4. Rehabilitation and Support: Many employers offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) or other resources to support employees struggling with addiction. These programs may provide access to counseling, treatment referrals, and other support services to help employees address their substance use issues while maintaining their employment.


It’s important for individuals struggling with addiction to know their rights and seek support if they experience discrimination or unfair treatment in the workplace. If you believe you have been discriminated against or wrongfully terminated due to your addiction, you may have legal recourse and should consider consulting with an employment lawyer or contacting your country’s labor rights agency for assistance.

Signs That You Need to Get Help

Recognizing the signs that you may need rehab for substance abuse is an important first step towards getting the help you need. Here are some common signs that indicate it may be time to consider seeking professional treatment:

  1. Loss of Control: You find it difficult or impossible to control your substance use, despite repeated attempts to cut down or stop.
  2. Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms: You experience intense cravings for the substance and may develop withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using it.
  3. Tolerance and Increased Use: You need larger amounts of the substance to achieve the desired effects, and you find yourself using it more frequently or in larger quantities than before.
  4. Neglecting Responsibilities: Your substance use interferes with your ability to fulfill obligations at work, school, or home, and you may neglect responsibilities or commitments as a result.
  5. Relationship Problems: Your substance use causes conflicts or strains in your relationships with family members, friends, or colleagues, and you may find it difficult to maintain healthy connections with others.
  6. Legal or Financial Issues: You experience legal problems or financial difficulties as a result of your substance use, such as arrests, fines, or debt.
  7. Health Problems: You experience physical or mental health problems related to your substance use, such as blackouts, memory loss, mood swings, or physical illness.
  8. Failed Attempts to Quit: You have made multiple unsuccessful attempts to quit or cut down on your substance use, but find yourself returning to it despite negative consequences.
  9. Preoccupation with Substance Use: You spend a significant amount of time thinking about obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of the substance, and it becomes a central focus in your life.
  10. Isolation and Withdrawal: You withdraw from social activities, hobbies, or interests that you once enjoyed, and you may prefer to spend time alone or with others who also use substances.

If you recognize any of these signs in yourself or someone you care about, it may be time to consider seeking professional help and exploring options for rehab or addiction treatment. Remember, reaching out for support is a courageous step towards recovery, and there are resources and professionals available to help you on your journey to wellness.

Inpatient or Outpatient Rehab?

Determining whether you need inpatient or outpatient rehab help depends on several factors, including the severity of your substance use disorder, your level of support at home, your medical and mental health needs, and your personal preferences. Here are some considerations to help you determine which type of rehab program may be most appropriate for you:

  1. Severity of Addiction: Inpatient rehab is typically recommended for individuals with severe substance use disorders who require intensive, round-the-clock care and supervision. If you have a long history of addiction, multiple failed attempts at quitting, or co-occurring mental health disorders, inpatient rehab may be more suitable.
  2. Level of Support at Home: Consider your living situation and support network. If you have a stable and supportive home environment with family members or friends who can provide encouragement and accountability, outpatient rehab may be a viable option. However, if your home environment is unstable or unsupportive, or if you’re at risk of relapse due to triggers in your environment, inpatient rehab may offer a more structured and protective setting.
  3. Medical and Mental Health Needs: Assess any medical or mental health issues that may impact your treatment needs. Inpatient rehab programs often have medical staff and mental health professionals on-site to address complex medical and psychological issues. If you have significant medical or mental health concerns that require ongoing monitoring and support, inpatient rehab may be more appropriate.
  4. Availability of Time: Consider your daily schedule and commitments. Inpatient rehab requires a significant time commitment, typically ranging from several weeks to several months, during which you’ll reside at the treatment facility full-time. If you’re unable to take an extended leave of absence from work or other responsibilities, outpatient rehab may be a more feasible option, as it allows you to attend treatment sessions while continuing to live at home and maintain your regular routine.
  5. Cost and Insurance Coverage: Explore the cost of inpatient and outpatient rehab programs and determine whether your insurance plan provides coverage for either type of treatment. Inpatient rehab tends to be more expensive due to the residential nature of the program, whereas outpatient rehab may be more affordable and accessible for some individuals.
  6. Motivation and Commitment to Recovery: Reflect on your motivation and readiness to engage in the recovery process. Inpatient rehab provides a highly structured and immersive environment that may be beneficial for individuals who are highly motivated to overcome their addiction and are willing to commit to a residential program. On the other hand, outpatient rehab requires a greater degree of self-discipline and commitment to attending scheduled treatment sessions and following through with the treatment plan independently.

Ultimately, the decision between inpatient and outpatient rehab should be based on a comprehensive assessment of your individual needs, preferences, and circumstances. It’s essential to consult with a qualified addiction treatment professional or healthcare provider who can conduct a thorough evaluation and help you determine the most appropriate level of care for your situation. Remember that both inpatient and outpatient rehab programs have their unique benefits and can be effective options for achieving and maintaining long-term recovery from addiction.

How to Get Approved for Short Term Disability

To get approved for short-term disability benefits, you typically need to follow a specific process and meet certain eligibility criteria. Here are the general steps to help you get approved for short-term disability:

  1. Understand Your Employer’s Policy: Start by reviewing your employer’s short-term disability policy or benefits package. This will outline the specific eligibility criteria, waiting periods, and application process for short-term disability benefits.
  2. Meet Eligibility Requirements: To qualify for short-term disability benefits, you typically need to meet certain eligibility requirements, such as:
    • Being unable to work due to a non-work-related illness or injury.
    • Having a medical condition certified by a healthcare provider that prevents you from performing your job duties.
    • Meeting any minimum employment or earnings requirements set by your employer’s policy.
  3. Notify Your Employer: Notify your employer as soon as possible if you need to take time off work due to a medical condition that qualifies for short-term disability benefits. Your employer may provide you with the necessary forms or information to initiate the application process.
  4. Obtain Medical Documentation: You will likely need to provide medical documentation from a healthcare provider to support your short-term disability claim. This may include medical records, doctor’s notes, treatment plans, and other relevant documentation that verifies your condition and inability to work.
  5. Complete the Application: Fill out the necessary forms and paperwork required by your employer or the short-term disability insurance provider. Be sure to provide accurate and detailed information about your medical condition, symptoms, treatment, and expected duration of disability.
  6. Submit Your Claim: Submit your completed application and supporting documentation to the appropriate party, such as your employer’s HR department or the insurance provider handling short-term disability claims. Follow any specific instructions provided for submitting your claim.
  7. Follow Up and Provide Updates: Stay in communication with your employer and the insurance provider throughout the claims process. Be prepared to provide any additional information or documentation requested, and keep them informed of any changes in your medical condition or treatment.
  8. Await Approval: Once your claim is submitted, it will be reviewed by the insurance provider to determine eligibility for short-term disability benefits. This process may take some time, so be patient and follow up as needed to check on the status of your claim.
  9. Appeal if Necessary: If your short-term disability claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. Follow the appeals process outlined by your employer or the insurance provider, and consider seeking assistance from an attorney or advocacy organization if needed.
  10. Return to Work: Once your short-term disability claim is approved and you have recovered sufficiently to return to work, coordinate with your employer to transition back to your job duties. Keep them informed of any restrictions or accommodations needed to support your return to work.

By following these steps and providing thorough documentation of your medical condition, you can increase your chances of getting approved for short-term disability benefits and receiving the support you need during your period of disability.


In conclusion, maintaining a career while undergoing rehabilitation for addiction is undoubtedly a challenging endeavor, but it’s not an impossible one. Throughout this blog, we’ve explored strategies, insights, and practical tips for balancing the demands of work with the priorities of recovery. From communicating effectively with employers to exploring flexible work arrangements and seeking support from colleagues and treatment professionals, there are numerous ways individuals can navigate the complexities of maintaining a career while in rehab.

However, it’s crucial to recognize that prioritizing recovery is paramount. While work is an important aspect of life, it should never come at the expense of one’s health and well-being. By embracing a holistic approach to wellness, individuals can create a supportive environment that fosters both personal and professional growth.

Ultimately, the journey of balancing work and rehab requires patience, resilience, and self-compassion. It may involve setbacks and challenges along the way, but with determination and support, individuals can emerge stronger, healthier, and more fulfilled. Remember, recovery is a journey, not a destination, and every step taken towards healing is a testament to strength and courage. Together, let’s continue to break down barriers, challenge stigma, and create a culture of understanding and support for all those navigating the intersection of work and recovery.

Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!

At New Hope Healthcare, as an in-network provider we work with most insurance plans, such as:


If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to New Hope Healthcare today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-799-0806

Frequently Asked Questions

Signs that you may need rehab include loss of control over substance use, inability to stop using despite negative consequences, withdrawal symptoms, and interference with daily life and responsibilities.

It depends on your employer’s policies and the nature of your job. Some employers may offer support for employees seeking treatment, while others may have policies that allow for medical leave or accommodations during rehab.

In many countries, including the United States, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or terminate their employment solely based on their decision to seek treatment for addiction. Laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect individuals from discrimination based on disability, including substance use disorders.

In some cases, employers may offer support or incentives for employees to seek treatment for addiction, but they typically cannot force an employee to go to rehab. However, if an employee’s substance use is impacting their job performance or posing safety risks, employers may require participation in a treatment program as a condition of continued employment.

FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is a federal law in the United States that provides eligible employees with job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons. FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period for reasons such as the employee’s own serious health condition, the care of a family member with a serious health condition, or the birth or adoption of a child.

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