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Some Advice for Returning to Work After Addiction Treatment

Returning to Work After Addiction Treatment

You may be apprehensive about returning to work after treatment. Feeling nervous about your transition back to work is normal, but these tips can make the process less stressful. 

Tips for Returning to Work After Treatment

Since stress can often be a trigger for relapse, it is important to make the return to work as smooth as possible. You will want to make sure that you are able to handle the return to work and the demands associated with your job before you commit to going back. 

It can be a challenge to return to a daily routine after completing treatment, so we offer the following tips to help ease that transition:

  • Talk to your employer in advance. Don’t be afraid to set up a time to talk with your employer before heading back to work. Be willing to express any concerns you may have about your return to work and what you need to make the workplace a supportive environment. 
  • Be prepared and have a plan. If you have a plan in place you can be prepared to face any obstacles to your return. Think about what you want to share about your time off and whether or not you want to talk about it. You are not obligated to tell every detail about your treatment. Only share what makes you feel comfortable. Consider giving a simple explanation, saying that you handled a problem you were facing and are ready to move on.
  • Stick to a routine. It can be easier to return to work when you have a routine in place at home. Sticking to a specific schedule or routine can help keep you less overwhelmed and ready for the day. 
  • Be patient with yourself. Returning to work and your former tasks can take time. Be patient with yourself and take the time you need to transition back. If you make mistakes, face them and move on. Your recovery is a top priority.
  • Find support. It is essential to have a strong support system in place as you return to work. You may find a coworker who is also sober and willing to encourage you if you struggle throughout the workday. In addition, attending 12-step meetings and getting a sponsor can provide the support you need as you transition back into employment. You can hear stories of how others have handled the same type of experience and learn from their examples.
  • Recognize your triggers. Certain triggers at work may cause you to crave drugs or alcohol. Recognizing your triggers and learning new ways to deal with them while at work can help keep your cravings at bay and prevent the possibility of relapse.
  • Find ways to relax. Destressing after a long day of work is important during recovery. You do not want to feel overwhelmed or burnt out after a day of work. When you come home, find ways to relax: take a walk, meditate, listen to music, take a 20-minute nap, write in your journal, or read a good book.
  • Know your rights. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), those with disabilities – including those with substance use disorders – have the same rights as everyone else.  ADA protects you from workplace discrimination due to your substance use disorder and treatment
  • Take pride in your progress. Remind yourself how far you have come in your journey and take pride in your progress. It may be difficult to return to work, but you are doing your best.

Is it Time to Move On?

Many employers are understanding about treatment and even allow the use of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for a leave of absence for getting treatment. If your employer does not support your recovery, it may be time to look for a new position. The recovery center where you sought treatment may be able to connect you with resources to help you find another job once you are ready for employment.

Don’t Feel Alone

If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder and are looking for treatment options in Indiana, Anabranch Recovery Center in Terre Haute is here to help. You are not alone when our team of dedicated professionals can help put you on the path to recovery. We offer a range of programs to meet your needs, such as residential treatment, detox, and a family program.

To find out how to begin your journey to lasting sobriety or to get answers to any questions or concerns, contact us online today.

About the author

Terry Hurley is a retired educational professional and freelance writer with more than fifty years of experience. A former reading specialist and learning center director, Terry loved her years working with children in the educational field. She has written extensively for print and online publications specializing in education and health issues. For the last six years, her writing focus has been on addiction and mental health issues.

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