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Can You Work While in Rehab?

It’s a common question that individuals often ask as they research how, when, and where to begin their recovery from substance abuse: Can you work while in rehab? The answer is yes, it is possible to work while undergoing substance abuse treatment. Some people work full-time while overcoming a substance use disorder (SUD). This means that a substance abuse treatment program in a professional detox and rehab center can help you recover while keeping you working and providing for your family.

Starting Addiction Treatment

The first step in recovery is acknowledging that you struggle with a substance use disorder and dependency on alcohol, opiates, cocaine, heroin, painkillers, or other substances. It’s important to prioritize your health and long-term sobriety, but sometimes it can be difficult to commit to a 24-hour program when you have other obligations, which leaves a lot of people wondering: can you work while in rehab? Fortunately, there are options available for individuals who want to start addiction treatment but need to be able to continue with school, family responsibilities, or work.

Benefits of Working While in a Drug and Alcohol Rehab Program

While some individuals require the more intensive treatment options of inpatient rehab, if you have more mild addiction struggles or you’re ready to transition out of an inpatient treatment program, or you’re just asking yourself ‘Can you work while in rehab’, then attending rehab as part of outpatient treatment programs can be very beneficial.

You will have the flexibility to continue working and supporting your family while you get clean and sober. The treatment program at a rehab facility will teach you important life lessons through various therapies and give you the freedom and flexibility to live, work, and be at home each night while still getting the professional, intense treatment needed to recover from drug addiction.

Outpatient Rehab Options for Working Individuals

For those seeking to work while in rehab, outpatient rehab programs offer the most flexibility. Undergoing outpatient treatment allows you to live at home and continue working while attending individual, group, and family therapy at a rehab treatment facility.

Outpatient rehab is well-suited for individuals with mild addictions who have a strong support system at home and work. It allows you to apply the coping strategies and life skills you learn in treatment to real-world situations right away.

Outpatient services also tend to be more affordable than receiving treatment at an inpatient rehab facility since you are not paying for 24/7 care and accommodations and instead only coming to the outpatient rehab center when you’re actively engaging in treatment.

The Flexibility of an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is one way to accomplish the worthy goal of living a sober life while spending time at work, sleeping at home during your recovery, and continuing to work. Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) provide a higher level of care, typically meeting 3-5 days per week for several hours each day.

Though not as intense as inpatient treatment, the flexibility of an intensive outpatient program allows individuals to continue to meet their daily obligations.

Choosing the Right Outpatient Rehabilitation Program

When considering outpatient rehab options, look for a program that offers evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, and medication-assisted treatment if needed. The rehab center should also have experience treating your specific substance use disorder and any co-occurring mental health conditions.

It’s important to choose an outpatient rehab program that fits your work schedule and provides the level of support you need for a successful recovery. Some programs offer evening and weekend hours to accommodate work schedules. Other treatment centers provide virtual telemedicine options for added flexibility.

Continuing Care and Aftercare Planning

Completing an outpatient rehab program is a major milestone, but it’s just the beginning of the lifelong recovery journey. Having a solid aftercare plan in place is essential for maintaining sobriety and avoiding relapsing with drug and alcohol use.

Most outpatient rehab centers will work with you to develop a personalized aftercare plan before you complete treatment. This may include ongoing therapy, medical care, sober living arrangements, participation in support groups, and other resources to help you stay on track. Many employers also offer employee assistance programs that provide continued support and services for substance abuse recovery.

Staying connected to a supportive recovery community, such as through 12-step meetings or alumni programs, can provide motivation and accountability in the months and years after rehab. Building a fulfilling life in recovery takes time, but with the right support and resources, sustained sobriety is achievable.

Protections for Employees Seeking Inpatient Treatment

It’s important to note that your career does not need to come between yourself and addiction recovery. There are laws and protections in place, such as the Family Medical Leave Act (read more on the FMLA website) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (read more on the ADA website), that prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals who seek treatment for substance use disorders.

If inpatient rehabilitation is the right treatment program to help you overcome addiction, it is important to acknowledge that when seeking treatment for drug or alcohol abuse. For individuals who require a medical detox program for more extensive alcohol or drug abuse, for example, inpatient treatment may be a safer option. Likewise, for individuals with co-occurring disorders, inpatient programs at a treatment center may be more suitable for their addiction recovery and healing process.

When you return to work after completing inpatient rehab, you must be able to return to the same position you left or one that is nearly identical, according to FMLA regulations. Your employer may ask that you complete a return-to-work agreement upon your completion of inpatient rehab, which outlines expectations for both you and your employer.

Start Treatment at a Drug Rehab Center

It is possible to work while going t rehab, and there are various outpatient treatment options and protections available to help you achieve your recovery goals while maintaining employment. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, don’t let fear of losing your job stop you from seeking the help you need.

Contact our addiction specialist treatment team at our Massachusetts rehab to learn more about intensive outpatient programs for alcohol and drug use and other treatment options that can accommodate your work schedule and provide the support necessary for lasting recovery. You can reach out to us via our secure, online form or give us a call at (781) 570-5781 to discuss an addiction treatment plan that works for you.

emily thorndike - medical reviewer

Medically Reviewed by Emily Thorndike

Emily Thorndike, an accomplished LICSW in Massachusetts, has been a dedicated mental health professional since 2014. She has worked in various clinical settings, including inpatient, outpatient, residential, and community crisis intervention. As a trauma specialist with a particular focus on personality disorders, her diverse experience includes diagnostic assessments, case management, aftercare/treatment planning, and collaboration with various healthcare providers and patient support systems. Her educational background from Boston College, coupled with over eight years of experience at the renowned Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, underscores her commitment and proficiency in mental health care.

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