Few things can change your life as much as going to a rehab and recovery program and learning how to break free from addiction. Once you have tackled this difficult task and achieved this great accomplishment, making a plan to stay on the road of life in recovery will help you preserve what you have gained. Life will throw surprises at you that will challenge your resolve to stay clean. You’ll also face predictable challenges. For most people, returning to work after rehab presents one such predictable challenge. Considering how you will respond to the challenges of returning to work can help ensure you manage the risk of falling back into addiction. Let’s talk about how to return to work after rehab.
How to Return to Work After Rehab: Plan Ahead
When you return to work, your colleagues and co-workers will be curious about your absence. In rehab, you will learn that shame is not constructive. But there is no denying its a powerful and normal emotion to feel. Even well-meaning questions can trigger this emotion, let alone judgemental responses. Remember what you have learned – addiction is a disease, not a moral failing, and shame won’t help you heal. And don’t just wander into work and deal with questions as they come.
Being put on the spot can cause a lot of undue stress. Decide ahead of time what you want to share, and with whom. Many countries allow you some rights to privacy around medical leave. Your rehab program staff should be able to fill you in on your rights in the specific country that you work in. You may find it constructive to share at least some of your story with your managers if you feel you can expect them to be supportive.
Find Supportive Colleagues
Speaking of support, you may be able to identify some colleagues that can understand the struggle of remaining in recovery when you return to work. Perhaps some are even recovering addicts themselves. Others may have friends or family members that are in recovery. Or maybe they are just compassionate and well-informed people. If you can identify people who can understand your situation, you can open up to them about your challenges and look to them for support and non-judgmental listening when you need it.
Be Aware of Triggers & Use Your Stress Management Techniques
A good rehab program will help you identify stressful situations that have pushed you towards addiction in the past. You’ll learn to recognize triggers that can put you at risk of relapse. Your rehab program should teach you techniques like applying cognitive behavioral therapy to monitor and adjust your chain of thought and action, using meditation to reduce stress and increase self-awareness, practicing self-acceptance and actively cultivating gratitude. You can use all these techniques to help you navigate the stress of returning to work after rehab.
Try to Leave Work at Work & Watch Out For Cross-Addiction
Addicts may have a habit of rumination, focusing on negative or stressful experiences. Your cognitive behavioral therapy training can help you frame experiences in a constructive way. Life presents plenty of other stressful situations that create a risk of relapse outside the workplace. Learn to understand and address your stress at work and leave it there. Try to avoid thinking in circles about work problems and focus on more constructive thoughts. Leave yourself time for healthy social activities and think about the things that you are grateful for. Consider creating a mental ritual of closing the door on work problems and opening the door to your private life when you leave work each day. For some people, work requires being on call. You can still focus on switching out of work mode when you have the opportunity.
Cross-addiction describes the tendency of addicts to substitute a new addiction for their old one. Work itself can become an addiction. You can become overly focused on work as a way to push away other problems. Make sure you are maintaining what we call “emotional sobriety”.
Stay In Therapy
In your recovery program, you will experience the benefits of therapy. Stay the course. Recovery is hard. A non-judgmental listener who can guide your quest for self-knowledge and healing can provide essential help in coping with work related-stress and aid you in minimizing the risk of relapse. If you choose Seasons Bali as your addiction recovery program, you can sign up to participate in affordable remote online therapy with a team that has in-depth insight into your personal situation and evidence-based practices to help guide you.
Attend A Support Group
Every addict is unique, but millions of other people are facing a similar daily struggle. Join a support group where you can listen and share. Many support groups will also help you connect with a personal sponsor who will commit to being there to listen without judgment when you need someone to talk to about the challenges of returning to work after rehab.
Learn More About Our Addiction Recovery Program
Seasons Bali offers support for people struggling with addiction. Maybe you are considering recovery but are not sure how you can fit it in with your need to go to work. Or maybe you have already paused your addiction, and you think you are ready to go back to work. But do you have the tools to stay quit? Have you achieved emotional sobriety? You are here reading this, so it’s probably time for you or someone you care about to take some steps towards a much better life. It takes work but you can leave the unfulfilling cycle and the suffering behind.
If someone you care about has a problem with alcohol (or any other form of addiction) talk to someone who understands. We are here to help. Call one of our experts today at (toll-free Australia) 1800 288 348 +61 398045757 or email us at [email protected] and we will call you.