Getting Back to Work
Perhaps you’re clean and sober now after attending drug addiction treatment. You’ve tended to all your physical, emotional, and psychological needs. Perhaps you’re feeling strong and ready to hit the work life again in order to bring in an income.
Or you might simply have to return to work in order to pay off bills or live independently. Whatever your situation, returning to work might be a frightening prospect if you’ve been out of work for awhile.
And there are some legitimate reasons to be frightened by working again. For instance, there might be situations that threaten your sobriety. As you make friends with co-workers, it might be challenging to let them know that you no longer drink, if for instance they invite you out for a beer after work one night.
Also, for others, the stress of work might cause triggers or even cravings. And the pressure of having to work to support yourself (and a family) might contribute to anxiety, which in turn, might lead to relapse.
Although these situations are possible for some, it’s also important to point out that there are some wonderful advantages to working too.
The National Association of State Mental Health Directors Provided the Following List of Benefits From Working:
- Working is healing
- Working focuses on your abilities, not your limitations.
- Working improves your self-concept by overcoming unworthiness or feeling useless.
- Working can move you into challenging relationships with others that can help you grow.
- Working can move you toward self-actualization, meaning that it can add to a process of becoming the best you can be.
Although these are great reasons why one should return to work, the time needs to be right for someone who is in recovery. If you’ve been through drug addiction treatment and you’re ready to create a new life for yourself, perhaps you’re ready to return to work.
Of course, returning to work can be an important part of your recovery. However, it needs to be the right time in your recovery and under the right circumstances.
Is Going Back to Work the Right Decision for You
- Am I motivated to work?
- What is the source of my motivation to return to work?
- Do I want to return to work because of an inner desire or am I being encouraged or pressured by someone else?
- Can you see yourself working? If so, what does that look like?
- If you want to work but can’t clearly see yourself working, what are some of the obstacles that might be standing in your way?
Furthermore, you may want to discuss the possibility of returning to work with your therapist, drug counselor, or sponsor. Because of the many advantages of being employed, working can be very attractive at first.
Yet, once you’re working and engaging everyday with others who may not understand recovery, who may be insensitive to you, and who might be difficult to work with in general, the work place can easily become a challenging place to be.
For this reason, before jumping into the idea of working, make sure you’re ready for it.
Finding a new place to live, returning to work, and mending fences can be significant ways to create a new life for yourself after drug addiction treatment. However, making these changes require time, patience, and tenderness.
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