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Life After Rehab: How to Return to Work and Get Your Life Back

While the path to getting sober starts the moment you decide to get help, treating and adjusting for an addiction can take years. You can’t wait that long to get back to work and get on with your life. It’s important that in your life after rehab that you get back on track and have a healthy relationship to work.

Everyone has someone in their life who has struggled with some kind of addiction. There’s no reason that you should feel alienated or foreign at work. While you’ll be returning as a different person in some ways, at the core, you’re the same hard working person your coworkers have trusted for years.

Work can be a great way to rebuild your confidence after you’ve run into trouble with your addiction. In your life after rehab, the most important task is that you’re always prepared for what’s ahead. Here are some ways you can be prepared to go back to work.

How to Deal With Co-workers

There’s not a person on the planet who is immune to a little gossip and some rumors. It’s likely that if you were showing signs of needing to go to rehab that they crept into your work life. You might have even upset some of your coworkers with your habits.

People may or may not know why you were absent. What you need to worry about is how you protect your privacy while being honest with yourself. Know who you feel comfortable trusting with your story and who you don’t.

Those people who you may trust the least might be the ones who are most curious about the details. Get comfortable telling them no in a cordial but firm manner. Avoid office gossip whenever possible.

You may even find that some coworkers have been through what you’ve been through. When they share in confidence, you know that it’s safe to do the same. But remember, you’re not obligated to trust anyone. Reserve the personal details for sponsors, close family, long-time friends, and your therapist.

With your newfound perspective, you can also help other people you see struggling with stress. Point them in the right direction to places like Recovery Ways sober living if you see them struggle.

You’ll find that coworkers who care will applaud your courage will look at you as a stronger person in your life after rehab. They will rally to create a support network and help to protect you in difficult times. There will be ups and downs, but the best people will admire your changes and let you know that they are there to support you.

Job-Related Stress

Stress related to your job could have been the cause of your issues to begin with. Be cautious of the things that triggered your addiction. Your main focus needs to be avoiding those triggers that could send you into a relapse.

When things get tough, be confident that you can walk away. If you work closely with some people on a very intense project, tell them that you have new limits for stress and that sometimes you’ll need to step out.

Step away from a table or a meeting before you say something you’ll regret. Everyone will be better off for it.

If you’re about to begin a new job at a new firm, it can be stressful getting to know the new rhythm. Be sure that you’re always leaving time for the support groups that helped you through your addiction. They will provide structure and support for when things seem uncertain.

If you’re still trying to find your new occupation, maybe you’ve been inspired and can help other people with their addictions. Think about how you can use your new perspective to inspire others.

Remember to take action early, as soon as you see signs of stress. Bottling things up and internalizing problems will damage the success of your life after rehab.

Signing An Agreement

While many workplaces are prepared for dealing with recovering addicts and even support their staff upon their return, they may have you sign something. For everyone’s protection, you could be subject to new firewalls on your computer, random screenings, and more frequent check-ins with supervisors.

If you’re comfortable with this, think it over carefully. Your relapse could turn into a breach of contract terms. The result could be disciplinary action, termination, or the need to return to treatment.

The very fact that your employer is willing to sit down with you means that they are interested in helping. Talk to them about what you’re comfortable with, what you’re struggling with, and how you can reach a compromise.

Regaining Your Rhythm

Depending on how long your issue persisted for or how long your treatment was, you may find that your office or workplace is different than you remember. Someone may have taken over on a project for you while you were gone. You may have a different title altogether.

Stay positive about the fact that you’re back at work and in a somewhat familiar setting. Remain flexible and open to the changes and you’ll find yourself moving back up the ladder soon enough.

Work on maintaining a work-life balance that works for your life after rehab. It may be different than you remember, but in total, it will be healthier.

Avoid Being A Workaholic

In most every rehabilitation program, you learn about “cross-dependency”, where you exchange one addiction for another. Drug addiction could be replaced with alcoholism, sex addiction could be replaced with some kind of obsessive compulsion.

Workaholism could be your next cross-dependency.

Keep your work life simple while your working on your recovery. While you may be tempted work late into the hours where you used to spend your time on your addiction, avoid overdoing it. Make some time for some sober fun with coworkers and friends.

If there’s a company sports team or event that doesn’t center too heavily on alcohol and you feel comfortable, get involved. Work is important in helping you get over your addiction, but don’t let it become your new addiction.

Life After Rehab Has Ups and Downs

Your life after rehab will seem up and down on a daily basis but overall, you’ve made a great decision and you will be greatly rewarded. Your coworkers will like how much more focused and professional you are. Keep an open mind and an open heart and you’ll find it’s an easier transition than you imagined.

If you’re ready to get back to work after rehab, contact us for tips on how to get there today.