I’m a professional and can’t risk losing my job. Is there a way to assure privacy?Although addiction (including alcoholism) is the great equalizer, there are some situations which require extra sensitivity and privacy just by their very nature. Privacy and anonymity are important to most in recovery, who may wish to choose who knows their personal business, but in some professions, breaking anonymity could mean detrimental consequences or even the end of one’s career.For some professionals, including physicians, nurses, police officers, lawyers and the like, letting that particular cat out of the bag could cause irreversible damage. It would be nice if everyone could understand the disease concept, and there wasn’t the stigma attached to alcoholism and addiction, but there is. Patients may feel fearful to be treated by an alcoholic, even if he’s been in recovery for many years. If you’re an attorney, you may risk a lack of confidence in your abilities at best, and probation or disbarment at worst. It’s crucial to protect one’s livelihood with the same diligence as working a program of recovery. What if you’re a police officer? You may end up in treatment with someone who was once in custody, creating an awkward, if not dangerous, situation. What do you do, then?The first thing that you need to address is that denial is a component of addiction. Denial may lead you to believe that you aren’t really an alcoholic, in spite of all the warning signs and consequences that are happening. You may believe that you just drink too much, and can cut down or control it at any time. You may tell yourself that you only drink like everybody else – that everyone needs to cut loose and toss back a few. Maybe you’re a nurse who feels you need the added boost of a little speed to help you do your job more effectively. And many have seen the infamous video of the Chicago policeman beating the female bartender who refused to serve the already intoxicated officer another drink. That most certainly affected his job and family, but he still may cling to the idea that he just ‘lost it’ briefly due to the pressure he deals with on a daily basis. He may look at it as “blowing off steam,” rather than seeing the obvious: social drinkers do not lose control over the prospect of not getting that last drink. If he did bust his denial and go to treatment, would he risk danger if someone he once arrested ended up in the same facility?Because of the nature of denial, the obvious must first be stated: If you truly are an alcoholic or addict, others can usually see it way before you can admit it. You may feel mortified to be caught at an A.A. meeting with the client you just served a summons on, but maybe he could smell last night’s bender oozing from your pores even though you couldn’t. He’s already suspected you have a problem, but would never mention it out of decorum.Then there’s the Russian roulette factor – maybe you’re the attorney who’s just got his third D.U.I. or had a little too much at lunch and has returned to the courtroom under the influence. Maybe you’ve performed surgery on officer Friendly’s daughter and he ‘s issued you a verbal warning instead of a breathalyzer. That doesn’t mean you’re home free. He’s only postponed the inevitable; sooner or later you may be stopped by someone who doesn’t know you, forcing you to finally address the problem. Once the jig is up, it’s up. It is less a matter of ‘will it happen,’ but more a matter of ‘when.’ Addiction is progressive and will only get worse the longer it’s left untreated. Once caught, all those reasons to believe you can’t seek treatment become moot. Even if an accuser is of questionable integrity (his word against yours), reports to a Medical board have to be checked out to either be substantiated or dismissed. Now it’s all on the line but how do you deal with it and protect yourself?This is where it may prove wise to put the answers to the professionals. Misconceptions could lead to more problems than than you’ve started with. Stan down the street may be the only person you know who is a recovering alcoholic, but his issues are quite different than yours. Many of our staff members are in recovery themselves, and are experienced in dealing with a wide variety of treatment centers throughout the country. They know that individualized treatment options can mean the difference between success and failure and will explore your needs to give you the best fit. Obviously, the local treatment center would be a poor option for certain professionals who may risk exposure or danger in that setting. Beyond that, the type of addiction, personal needs and medical history should also factor in when choosing the best fit for the addicted professional.H.I.P.P.A (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) ensures absolute privacy for clients, no matter what, but there are more protections in place for those in sensitive positions. The F.M.L.A. Act (Family Leave of Absence) assures that one may not be fired for seeking medical treatment. Under the terms of that act it may not be necessary to divulge what condition you are treating without being terminated. And there are specialized elite centers where celebrities and others in need of heightened protection from publicity may attend without being on Google or other types of radar. For example, there are places in Canada that have different reporting laws than in our county, so that may be one option. Local treatment is probably the worst choice if one wants to keep their recovery private within their own community. Since everyone is different, it would be impossible to give a generic solution. Talking to a professional would be the way to go to find your best solution.It may be of value to add that some professionals have in-house methods of dealing with substance abuse. Medical Boards have their own specialized treatments centers. Others who don’t care to go that route (those who seek help before they have consequences, for example) may opt to keep their insurance companies from being involved to avoid reporting the issue. There are even some treatment centers run by physicians – themselves in recovery – who can speak directly to other physicians, knowing personally what they may be up against.You may have other questions. What about aftercare support, which is crucial in preventing relapse? Some places may have their own or have an extended treatment window – even up to six months, if the need is there. Again, everyone is different, so dealing with each case on an individual basis is key. Your community may have special meetings geared towards the needs of others in your situation. Our placement professionals, therapists or mental health centers may be able to confidentially steer you in that direction.Even if you are unable to find that resource in your nearby community, don’t be discouraged. Doctors and celebrities can be found attending A.A. meetings with the general population simply because they know the bottom line: Addiction is fatal if left untreated. In the end it comes down to what you value most – your job or your life. Which would you choose?
Whatever path to recovery you choose, our staff has access to hundreds of treatment centers to assure the best personalized treatment for you, then with continued follow up to help you make the transition to sober living as seamless as possible.
Our trained staff of professionals are qualified to help you assess what type of treatment will be the best fit to ensure you or your loved one gets the help you need.
But how does one go about finding the right program?
If this all looks very overwhelming....it is! But that's what we are here for. Call us at 888-205-8608 and we can help make this process much easier. We will narrow down all of these aspects and find the best program for you or your loved one with all your concerns considered. It's as simple as making that first call. And the best part is that we are a free service. The road to recovery starts here!
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