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Struggling with Alcoholism: Scared and Don't Know What to Do?

by Matthew

I feel the need to stop drinking. I feel that I am addicted, but am afraid to mention it to my employer - even though it qualifies me for short term disability. I don't have the money for rehab, and I am in a very time demanding job, that if I did request off, my boss wouldn't let me.

I've been hospitalized twice, and have blackout episodes at least once per week. I want to straighten my life out. I am having serious financial and work related issues because of my drinking, but I'm ashamed of what I've become. What are my rights?! How do I approach my family about this for support? I'm afraid this will kill me... :-(


Hi Matthew

Generally employers are quite understanding and will give you the necessary time off if you're honest with them. But if you're not sure how your employer will handle this - then you need to investigate what your rights are, because it varies by location and company.

Also, most companies have terms in place regarding their sickness and leave policies and which are usually published on a company intranet site, or are available from HR if requested. So do your research first.

But ultimately what is more important - your job or the state of your health and well-being? Worst case scenario is you lose your job by going off and getting your alcoholism treated. But that might happen anyway if your addiction to alcohol is left untreated - because your work will inevitably suffer and so you could get fired anyway.

You can always find another job - but you might not get second chances to recover your health and state of mind. By getting your alcoholism treated and turning your life around - all the other things like work etc. will inevitably fall into place in time. Your well-being has got to come first, so make that your priority.

And just be totally honest with your family. Alcoholism thrives on secrecy and lies - so to come clean requires total honesty. It's will seem hard and scary but it is something you just have to face head on, and I'm sure you'll find it won't be as bad as you imagine.

Not all rehabs are expensive and many are government subsidised so finances shouldn't be a stumbling block to getting your alcoholism treated. Here is an Alcoholism Treatment Facility Locator by the American Council
on Alcoholism that will allow you to find programs that cost very little or nothing at all.

You've taken the first critical step in acknowledging you have a problem and wanting to do something about it. Now you need to follow through and get proper professional help by getting yourself into rehab/treatment. What your employer and family might say to this should be the least of your worries. You have got to put your own well-being first - because it forms the foundation on which you build the rest of your life on.

You can do this! Good Luck.

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