Going Back to Work After Addiction Treatment

It often feels very overwhelming, returning to normal life after having constant accountability for so long in treatment. You always had someone there to help you evaluate your thoughts and feelings during every step or talk you off that ledge when you felt like giving up. A sense of accountability in early recovery is a great tool to help you, but what about once you’ve completed treatment?

Many different thoughts and feelings run through a person once they have completed their addiction treatment and have to return to normal work life. How am I to be a functioning member of society now? Why do I feel shameful about receiving addiction treatment? How do I answer my co-workers when they ask me where I have been? What if they ask me to go out to a bar with them? These kinds of questions and so many others plague an addict returning to a normal life after treatment.

Develop A Routine

Returning to work is a great way to help recovering addicts. As previously mentioned, addicts have a sense of accountability when in a treatment program, and working again is another form of accountability. Having stable and structured routines are a great way to keep yourself on track. Things like having a purpose, being motivated, showing up on time, working hard, and accountability is helpful in integrating yourself back into society again.

According to an article published on NIDA:

More than 85% of people with addictions who stop using a drug begin using it again within a year. People in recovery are vulnerable to cues formerly associated with drug-taking experiences.

It’s important to be aware that it is possible to burn yourself out. It is very common for addicts to channel their addiction into their work-life after coming out of addiction treatment. The same way an addict found relief in a mind-altering substance; they are now finding it by overworking themselves to avoid pain or discomfort. Burning yourself out by overworking yourself and avoiding the feelings and thoughts you really have, can sometimes cause a person to relapse. It isn’t the only reason people relapse, but it is one of the reasons. Recognizing when you are overworking yourself and why you are doing it is a good way to avoid a relapse.

Answering Difficult Questions

Before we delve in, be sure to remind yourself that you shouldn’t feel shameful about having been in addiction treatment. You did what you had to do to get your life back on track, and you made some very hard and life-altering choices to do so. It is very easy and common to feel guilt and shame about getting help. Remind yourself to be proud of the steps you have taken and are taking to better your scope of life.

 It is very natural to feel a bit anxious or scared upon returning to work after rehab. It’s important to know about your feelings. Knowing your feelings makes it easier to deal with and can prepare you with what to expect. Co-workers tend to cause quite a lot of anxiety for employees returning to work after rehab. The obvious and looming question co-workers are bound to ask is “Where have you been?” There are a couple of different ways to answer this question, and it is all dependent upon what you are comfortable with. It is a good idea to know what you’re going to say beforehand.

The first option is to just be honest and straightforward about why you were away. This could cause some feelings of judgment among your coworkers, so it is important to assess them first. The second option is to give a less descriptive, but still honest answer. You could say you had some health issues you had to deal with, but you are back now or simply that you just had to go away for a while. Both are still honest answers.

Going to Work After Drug Rehab

Once you return to normal life, it is nearly impossible to avoid places that have alcohol. Grocery stores, gas stations, sports games, and restaurants all serve alcohol so avoiding places that could halt your life completely. So what if your coworkers ask you to go to a bar? The answer to this question is solely dependent on where your head is at and your reason for going. First, ask yourself, is there a good reason for me to be there? If there is, it’s important to assess where your mental and spiritual well being are and if you feel confident enough in your recovery to go to a bar.

Here at Recreate Life Counseling, we want to provide therapeutic education and guidance for each individual with the help of our counselors and therapists in order to help you or someone you love reintegrate into society in a safe way once you have completed our programs and therapies we offer. We want to make sure you have the tools you need to avoid relapse in the real world. Drug addiction isn’t an easy thing to face, and you do not have to do it on your own. Let us give you the knowledge you need to succeed in your recovery even after you have left addiction treatment.