Returning to work after drug rehab is a big step that can offer you a sense of direction and purpose. You’ll finally have a steady source of income and the opportunity to meet others and pursue new opportunities. But work can also add stress to your life, which can in turn affect your recovery. Not to mention, there’s likely to be some triggers that you’ll need to manage.
Below are some tips for going back to work without risking your sobriety.
Start Slow and Maybe Work Part-Time to Better Manage Sobriety
Addiction recovery is an ongoing process that requires patience and diligence. Just because you’re ready to go back to work doesn’t mean you need to be jumping into a 40-hour workweek.
Talk to your employer and see if you can work part-time right now. Or, if you’re looking for a job, consider part-time or temporary gigs. This way, you can work on building up your skills and work experience without taking on too much stress.
Know Your Rights in the Workplace
You may have read up on your rights in the workplace when you first sought addiction treatment in Agoura. As you return to work, many of these same protections will still be in place as long as you remain sober.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the workplace. And, if you are interviewing for a new job, the prospective employer cannot ask about any past substance abuse treatment. Additionally, any information you do disclose is confidential.
Get Plenty of Rest to Stay on Track with Your Sobriety
Long hours and job-related stress can cut into your sleep schedule. But right now, sleep is just as important as eating healthy and managing your stress levels. Your body is still recovering from the addiction and needs sleep to continue healing. Plus, getting enough restorative sleep will help you fight off depression and anxiety.
Practice Mindful Eating
Aside from interfering with your sleep patterns, returning to work can also make it easier to eat on the go. Or, you might pack your desk drawers with high-fat, high-sodium foods to satisfy your mid-day cravings.
To avoid falling into a pattern of unhealthy eating, you’ll need to plan ahead. You can do this by prepping your meals in advance or by cooking extra at dinner for leftovers. Also, keep healthy snacks (fruit, granola bars, nuts) on hand to refuel your body.
A Plan to Handle Work-Related Stress and Stay on Track with Sobriety
If things do get stressful at work, how will you manage this stress? Continue practicing the stress management techniques that work for you, whether it’s meditation, exercise, or journaling. But if the stress is beyond what’s considered normal and healthy, you’ll need to talk to your employer.
Perhaps you need to cut back your hours or enlist help from a coworker. As important as work is, it’s not worth risking your recovery over. Speak up if you’re having trouble. Your work might even have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) they can refer you to.
Continue Seeking Support
No matter how you get your support - therapy, 12-step meetings, self-help groups, outpatient drug rehab in Agoura - continue with it as you transition back to work. Your meetings can offer you a great deal of support and insight as you make this transition, as there will be people who have gone through this before. Maintaining your support network is also important as you face more triggers in the workplace.
Going Back to Work: Take Things One Step at a Time
Returning to work after addiction treatment may come with mixed emotions, but this is a step in the right direction. Eventually, you'll want to get back to a sense of normalcy, and working at least part-time is a part of this. The key is, to be honest with yourself and your employer about what you can handle while also taking advantage of the available support tools.