Returning to Work after Rehab

Returning to ‘normal’ life after addiction treatment can be difficult. It is hard to even remember the person you were before addiction took hold of your life, never mind trying to become that person again. Your illness has no doubt changed you as a person, so your life is also bound to change too.

Things are going to be different now as you see them through sober eyes. You may find that you do not like your job anymore, or that you want to do something completely different with your life.

Making Big Changes

If you are in early recovery, it would be advisable not to make any significant changes just now. Even if you have decided that your current job is not for you anymore, looking for a new job right away could pile on unnecessary pressure and put your recovery at risk. You need to spend time now focusing on staying sober, and only when you are stronger and your sobriety is more stable should you attempt to take on something new. Alternatively, you could decide to stick with your current job but make a concerted effort to make up for any mistakes you have made in the past.

You might like to go back to college or study for something new at home. This is a very good idea after the first year of recovery as you should feel more secure in your sobriety at this stage.

A Fresh Start

While you were addicted, you probably thought you were doing a great job of covering up your ‘problem’. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that your boss and your co-workers were unaware of your addiction. The fact that you are still working in this job probably means that your employer is happy to have you back and now is the perfect time to repay him or her for sticking with you throughout your addiction and subsequent treatment.

You have every opportunity now to show your employer that you can be reliable and that you are worthwhile. It is up to you to work hard now and prove yourself. You can do this by staying sober and by showing your commitment to the company you work for.

You may be tempted to roll back to work and try to make up for the days you missed while getting treatment, but it would be wise to take things slowly at first. Remember, your co-workers have likely been covering the slack for you while you were away, so be sensitive to the fact that you will be taking this work back from them. You do not want to step on anybody’s toes or upset anyone.

Telling Colleagues About Your Recovery

In most instances, your co-workers will already know why you were away from work, but it may be the case that your employer chose not to tell anyone the reason you were absent. It is up to you to decide whether you want everyone to know.

Some prefer to keep their addiction recovery quiet while others feel it will help for their colleagues to know exactly what they have been through. If you do want others to know, it could be a good idea to tell your closest colleagues and then ask them to let others know. That way, you will not have to tell every single person that you work with, and you can avoid the inevitable rumour mill going into overdrive with everyone speculating about where you have been.

There are benefits to your co-workers knowing that you are in recovery. You will not have to worry about making excuses as to why you are no longer drinking when you were once the last one at the bar on a night out. They will also be less likely to try to tempt you to drink if they are aware of your situation.

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