Returning to Work After Drug Rehab
Sometimes people are hesitant to get into drug rehab even when their employer provides insurance because they are worried about how it will affect job security or their career path. Yet getting healthy and sober is the best way to make oneself a valuable employee. After drug rehab, people in recovery may face similar fears about re-entering the workplace. Worries that others will look at you differently, that your reputation has suffered permanently or that there is a loss of confidence in your professional capabilities can make going back to work feel stressful. There are things to keep in mind which can make the transition smoother. Here are just a few:
- During a counseling session, talk in advance with the therapist about potential work-related triggers. Thinking through situations ahead of time and planning positive responses can de-stress the process of returning to work.
- Consider the work environment and how it will or won’t support the progress you made in drug rehab. Recovering from alcohol addiction, for example, would mean that working in environments where alcohol is present should be avoided. Whatever the substance of your addiction, if co-workers were integral in forming a use habit, consider whether or not you can return to the office and maintain sobriety. Changing departments or even careers would be preferable to harming your recovery efforts.
- Put to use the new ways of thinking and handling emotions that you learned in rehab. Proper coping skills will enable you to face and overcome all the stresses connected to re-entry.
- Not everyone can go immediately from drug rehab to the office or workplace. Some find it useful to readjust to a life of sobriety outside of rehab before they add the challenge of work-related stress. Of course, not everyone can afford to wait before earning a paycheck, so whether sooner or later the day of facing the work environment will be inevitable. If you must return immediately, having a support network in place can be a great way to talk through fears on a daily basis.
- Be aware that worries over returning to work could prove to be groundless. Most people will applaud the courage and hard work you put forth to overcome your addiction. However, it is probable that some tensions will arise because of your situation. In either case, the one thing always in your control is how you manage your own responses to circumstances.
If you find yourself pounding the street in search of a new job keep the right mindset. When or if you are turned down for a position, don’t translate that into a rejection from society at large. On the other hand, do persevere and take all the steps in your power to demonstrate your commitment to work. Dress well, speak well, be on time and don’t dwell on your history. Your history is part of who you are but it is not the totality of who you are. Emphasize that you have demonstrated determination, and are focused on forward progress. Before long, your present work performance will overshadow any questions about your past.