Becoming sober is hard enough, but assimilating yourself into a new life after addiction recovery can be daunting in more ways than one.
Naturally, you will have gone through withdrawal symptoms, and overcome all the cravings you feel for a quick drug or alcohol fix. In fact, emerging from rehab treatment and into an everyday work life has been likened to stepping out of a cave. Undoubtedly, it is a transition process that requires many steps, adjustments, and resolutions in order to succeed.
If you are recently out of recovery, whether you manage a business or work as an employee, you’ll want to make sure you begin on the right path. You have been given a second chance and it is important that you approach it in good stride.
The Importance of Working
Getting busy is a big deal. It is actually a necessary part of long-term recovery. Being self-sufficient and having a steady pay-check is essential to building your self-esteem. But it’s more than that.
Davide Gerrard, expert adviser at Addiction Helper says, “Addiction is typically a disease of isolation and idleness, the less busy you are, the more likely you are to relapse.”
It is therefore important that people who are in recent recovery integrate themselves back into society. Getting a new job, starting a new project, and meeting new groups of friends are positive ways to promote sobriety and start life in long-term addiction recovery.
Here are some particular ways to assimilate into the work lifestyle:
1. Start Gently
Be careful of launching yourself into your new role with over-enthusiastic vigor. Many people, in an attempt to prove they are past their addiction, start off taking the bull by the horns, only to burn out after a while.
You may feel excited and eager to begin, but take some time to meld in carefully. If you are self-conscious of people around, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. Your recovery is for you alone. It’s a good idea to live life to its fullest, but don’t take more than you can handle. Besides, a lot may have changed while you were away, and you’ll need some time to adjust.
2. Make Up for the Past
If you are resuming at the same place where you worked prior to recovery, there is a chance you may have built up grudge among colleagues or employees. Whether it’s something you said or did, find time to make up with the affected persons so there is no “bad blood.”
Some, (if not all) rehabs have a 12 step program that includes making amends for mistakes caused as a result of your dependence on the substance. No matter how happy they are to see you, note that you may often notice the effect of old wounds in your colleagues’ behavior towards you. Find out ways to right any wrongs you caused in the past.
3. Find Out What Is Expected of You
Communicate with your colleagues at work. Let them know you are open to discussion and feedback. Avoid referring to your substance abuse in the office. After the initial makeup, focus squarely on your work objectives. If you work with a group, try to understand what each member is supposed to do, and delegate responsibilities the best way you can.
Conversely, meet your boss and discuss your new expectations and any challenges you may have in achieving them. If you run a business, do the same with your partner or colleague; ask for feedback. Having a checklist of your goals to make it easier for you to accomplish them.
4. Take on New Projects
After you have settled in for a while and you feel more comfortable in your work environment, you may volunteer to participate in social projects. If your company is not involved in any charity activities such as community development, get involved as a way to give back to society. Additionally, it can help you build your own self-esteem as a coach or mentor.
Addiction usually leaves a vacuum in one’s life, and joining a good cause is one way to fill it with something constructive. Pick something fun and interesting.
New projects or hobbies are always a great idea, especially if it is likely to keep you from straying towards past behavior.
5. Make New Friends
Post-recovery, it is always recommended to evaluate the previous friends you had. Were they also users? Did associating with them fuel your addictive behavior? At your work place, consider these points when establishing new relationships, even if they are on the job. Who’s to say you won’t be tempted for an after-work drink someday?
The importance of making sober acquaintances is critical to your success in addiction recovery and path to long-term sobriety.
The business environment can be demanding, and if pressures from the previous job caused you to start using, it may be advisable to seek new opportunities elsewhere. Ensure that you maintain contact with a professional to discuss such issues.