This is so true. Most addicts actually DO want to stop, but it's fucking hard. And trying to explain to an employer "Hi, I'd like a month off, so I can start quitting heroin. Oh, and when I get back to work after that, I'll be unpredictably angry and depressed, with an uncontrollable sleep cycle..." I have notebooks with TODO lists going back a decade plus with the words "Quit Heroin" somewhere near the top, and I'm still trying. I don't know how to get employers to be sympathetic towards what is, after all, just another (mental) health issue - well, maybe that answers my question ;(
I'd be interested in how many software engineers have drug addiction problems, I don't know how common it is. And there should really be some kind of self-help group for us to discuss issues and provide support for each other, since most addiction support networks assume you are homeless and unemployed, and focus on providing that basic structure and stability to their lives. As an employed engineer, I have that, it's the next steps I need help with.
The number of people I met in the rooms who were also high functioning when they stoppedbelied my assumptions completely. There's an old saying "the bottom of the hole is the point you stopped digging".
I don't know your circumstances, but most large employers at least pay lip service to having substance policies in place explicitly to encourage employees to come forward and get help. It's worth looking into.
If you think "irritable for a month" is a disqualifier, what about being high at work? Or sick? Or some combination of the both -- forever. You're addicted now, you don't come with a good default state. I know which, as employer, I'd pick. As much as I thought I was holding it together, when I look at old pictures of myself, or the days missed because I was too sick, or simply talk to friends I worked with and have them tell me stories about me, my temper, how erratic I was...
I wasn't getting away with nearly as much as I thought, and what I thought of as "high functioning" was a a lot more "barely squeaking by". Seems like the subject of the article had a lot of his own "barely squeaking by", too -- the conflicts about him "working from home", etc..
Quitting may be hard, but it was a hell of a lot less hard than what I put myself through for so many years.
There's a reason why so many alcoholics and addicts being unemployed and homeless, it's goddamn hard to live up to any other responsibilities when you're carrying such a heavy load.
Odds are if you're good enough to succeed as a software engineer despite your addiction then what you'll be able to do when you're freed from having to feed that monster will be pretty extraordinary.
I can only speak from personal experience, but man, it's worth it.
Separately, as a software engineer, it might be easier than for others. . Even if your employer isn't helpful, finding a new gig as a software engineer is a lot easier than many other fields. As an employer, I'd not even think to ask about see a month or two gap in a resume. I've happily overlooked much, much larger for a good candidate. Other professions have much different expectations.