Completing an addiction treatment program is a great accomplishment and something of which you should be proud. However, it is natural to feel a bit nervous thinking about returning to work, especially if you’re going back to the same job. You may be concerned about what to expect, how to talk to your boss and coworkers, and if you can stay sober during this whole experience. This is no small step! But, it’s one that you can take one day at a time. With a plan in place, you can successfully transition back into the workplace with confidence and excitement. Here are 3 tips for returning to work after rehab.
1. Create a Plan That Includes Goals
For most in recovery, there is an eagerness to jump right back into the job. However, it’s always best to ease back in by having a plan in place. Your plan could be as detailed as you like, and you can work on it by yourself, with a trusted loved one, or with your therapist. Your plan should be customized to fit your unique situation, and should address things like:
- How will you handle triggering or unexpected situations?
- How to answer questions about your recovery, or about any absences.
- A plan for dealing with emotions and negative feelings.
If you know what you will do or how you will handle an issue in advance, then you won’t be caught off guard, which gives you a greater sense of control. In fact, although it may sound silly, role playing with others is a great way to seamlessly navigate these situations. Be confident! You are doing something that requires a great amount of courage.
Remember, when creating your plan, write it down and be specific. This article will provide more detailed on creating a recovery plan.
2. Develop New Routines
As you go back to work, it may seem strange at first because you’ve been used to being in rehab where everything was scheduled for you—your day was regimented. Now, it may seem like your whole day is a big open space. It doesn’t have to be this way. This is where a new routine is key. You’ll already have your work schedule routine in place, so you’re only dealing with the time before/after work and the days you don’t work. It’s helpful to plan ahead for these blocks of time. Downtime can be a stressor for some. An example of a morning routine could consist of things like:
- Eating a healthy breakfast.
- Taking some time for meditation, prayer, reading, or gentle stretching.
- Spending time going for a walk or feeling the sunshine or dew on the ground. Life is a new experience!
- Getting a coffee on the way to work.
On the weekends, your routine will probably look different, but you can fill it with things that will make you feel happy, loved, and supported. Before long, you will have developed a whole new way of living.
3. Avoid Triggers
During treatment you probably learned about triggers. Triggers are memories, experiences, or events that spark an intense emotional reaction, regardless of your current mood. These triggers can produce a strong desire to use your drug of choice in order to cope. You may have even explored what particular things are triggers for you. If not, an aftercare rehab program will help you address these issues. Talking with others can be helpful as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for a break to go call a sponsor or therapist or a friend. However, until you get to the point where you feel comfortable in the presence of a triggering event or emotion, it is best to try to avoid them. Some common triggers include:
- Too much stress.
- To much coffee!
- Not enough sleep.
- Being around others who are using substances recreationally.
These are just a few, and may have your own triggers unique to you.
If you are heading back to work after rehab, reach out to us at San Diego Sober Living for guidance. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Our compassionate recovery staff is here to walk with you every step of the journey.