When you complete rehab treatment there are multiple challenges you will have to face as you return to everyday life. One issue that many people find difficult is going back to the stressful environment of work or even finding a new career after years of addiction and unemployment.
Working after rehab can be intimidating but ultimately, being productive and focused on a job can help keep your mind off of cravings. The structure and predictability of daily life at work can be beneficial for your ability to remain sober in the long-term.
The working world is full of challenges but it can also be an opportunity to work toward goals, improve your financial situation and build self-confidence. If you can overcome the initial obstacles of returning to work you will find that your job can help you in your recovery.
Speaking to Coworkers
If you are returning to the same job you had prior to rehab it may seem strange at first to go back to that old environment. For many recovering addicts, it can be hard to talk to coworkers about their rehab experience.
Colleagues may be asking where you have been or why you are no longer drinking. Some may already know and ask personal questions about it or make you uncomfortable by addressing it directly.
You are not obligated to talk about it with your co-workers or even disclose the fact that you have been in rehab. You are entitled to your anonymity and do not need to discuss any details if you aren’t inclined to.
On the other hand it can be cathartic to tell your story and might even be helpful to others who are sober or thinking of quitting themselves. You can make the decision in advance about what you are willing to share and with whom so you are not caught off-guard by people questioning you at work.
Handling Work-Related Stress
One of the biggest issues in returning to work is handling the stress of your job. In the past you might have turned to drinking or other substance abuse after a particularly hard day at work. Maybe you are used to grabbing drinks with coworkers after work and have to find new ways to deal with a stressful day.
In rehab you will have learned a number of skills to help you handle stress more effectively like deep breathing, meditating, exercising or talking to a friend. If things get too intense on the job, you can always talk to your boss about possibly reducing your schedule or work load as you ease back into the working world.
For people starting a new job after rehab, there can be a lot of stress during training as you learn the ropes and make mistakes. It is important to continue going to support groups during this time or even an aftercare program if you need more assistance.
Working can be a helpful tool for sobriety but too much work-related stress can also lead to relapse. If necessary, choose a part-time or reduced-hour job as you build up your confidence after rehab.
Re-entering your working life after leaving addiction treatment is full of potential hazards but eventually you will begin to appreciate the routine of going to work every day. Being productive and committed to your job is another way to prove your ability to be responsible again. You might find that work balances your life and keeps you on track in your sober lifestyle.
Being sober can give you a different perspective on work and you might accomplish much more than you were able to do in the past. Maintaining a positive attitude about work can allow you to get through any hardships and experience the benefits of being productive every day.