Business owners have a unique professional life. On the one hand, they’re the boss. Every decision, they get the final say. This means that they can build the business to be exactly what they envision.
However, as a business grows, the business owner quickly realizes the importance of good employees. The boss has more than they can handle, and they need great people to support the vision of the business.
However, with more people comes less control. Sure you can train them for 100 hours; but at the end of the day, you can’t physically control their every move. They might make a snide comment to a customer or make a simple mistake that ends up costing you a small fortune. Ultimately, you may find that fixing these problems ends up taking up more and more of your day – until you’re barely doing the actual work you love anymore.
These are the many realities of owning a business. Despite the challenges, it’s still many peoples’ dreams to one day be their own boss. But let’s look at how this position brings with it additional challenges when you’re faced with a crisis in your life, like an addiction.
Treatment: Inpatient vs Outpatient
Today, there are many things we know that are a factor in creating long-term sobriety in one’s life after struggling with an addiction.
First off, it’s often better to seek treatment in a residential facility, rather than an outpatient, when you have a severe addiction. By living at the facility, you’re provided with 24/7 support for whatever is ailing you – whether that be withdrawals, a panic attack, or urges to use.
So already, this makes your position as a business owner more complicated. If you know you have an addiction and need help, you will likely need to take off for at least 30 days of treatment.
You may be telling yourself, “Well if you’re the boss, you can take off as much time as you want!” While in theory that would be correct, many business owners will tell you it often isn’t that simple.
Business owners (especially small business owners) often have access to certain codes, information, or finances that no one else has access to. Business owners are also the one’s the pick up the slack if a worker can’t come in for the day, or the crew needs an extra hand for a big shipment or order.
One way to help with this predicament is to go to a treatment center where they are flexible and allow you to use your cell phone and laptop. At these kinds of centers, you’ll still be able to jump in on important Zoom meetings and be able to access your email to keep an eye on how your business is doing.
While the focus of your treatment is of course on therapy and healing, the team can often work your treatment schedule around a big meeting. If you’re looking for an example of a program that offers this kind of work-from-treatment plan, check out The Exclusive Hawaii. This option to continue doing some work can be a game-changer for business owners, so make sure you inquire about this option at every rehab you look into; because the last thing you want is to expect that you’ll get to use your phone and computer, only to find out upon arrival that you cannot use them.
Telling your employees
Say you’ve found your treatment center, and you’ve chosen a date for your admission. Your nerves are probably already pretty frayed, so you don’t want to worsen them at this point.
So, when it comes to telling your employees about your leave of absence, feel free to make it brief and not a big deal. If you have a daily morning team meeting, you can announce that you’ve had a medical issue come up, and you’re going to be taking the next few weeks off to deal with it.
If your treatment is starting right away, or you’d rather not have this discussion at all with your employees, tell your second in command that you’ll be taking medical leave, and ask them to tell the rest of your employees.
Anticipate that when your employee (or employees) hear the news, there will be a variety of responses. Some will be worried for you, and may innocently ask follow up questions about your health. Others may become very anxious at the idea of you not being there to help out, or at the prospect of having more work put on their shoulders in your absence.
Since there are often many responses to this kind of announcement, we typically recommend to either tell people in one-on-one conversations, or have someone else tell the employees. The last thing you need right now is a spattering of uncomfortable questions coming your way, so feel free to make the decision that feels right to you.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many business owners run the company with their spouse. In this case, your spouse obviously knows what’s going on behind-the-scenes. Even if their role is in another part of the business, it may be best to have them step up and mention your leave. Then, they can field any questions and respond to inquiries about people sending flowers, visiting you at home, etc.
Think of your treatment as an investment
Many business owners tend to think in financial terms, since they had to manage their money very well to create a thriving business. Since this is the case, many of them see a month away from their business as too much – too much lost revenue, too much strain on their employees, too much potential problems coming up.
In reality, you going to treatment is an investment in yourself and your business. Think to the last year you’ve been running your company. How focused were you really? Were there days that you were hungover? Or even high at the office? Were you really being the best boss you could be during this time?
Now imagine how much more productive, motivational, and creative you can be without your drug of choice interfering with your brain. Your work ethic, mood, and vision for your business will be revitalized, and your employees will pick up on that and likely mirror it.