Four tips after returning to work after addiction treatment

Getting back into your old routine after you have undergone treatment for addiction can be tough.

So it makes sense to plan ahead and take advantage of some proven strategies to make this transition as painless as possible.

Here are four tips to help you along the way, giving you the tools you need to return to work without putting your recovery at risk.

1) Take your time

Assuming that you can dive straight back into your professional life at the deep end is a common mistake to make after you have spent time at an addiction recovery retreat. Instead it is vital to make sure that this process plays out gradually, rather than accelerating from 0-100 in a matter of days.

If it is possible, you should take on your work responsibilities on a part time basis. Of course if your previous career was contributing to your addiction issues in the first place, you should certainly try something new and can also consider volunteering as a worthwhile alternative to paid work.

2) Set clear boundaries

Having a healthy work-life balance is important for everyone, but it is especially essential to those who are returning to work following residential treatment for addiction.

You will likely need to engage directly with your superiors to ensure that they understand your circumstances and also indicate to them that you will be setting unambiguous boundaries between your time in the office and your leisure time.

This means no checking work emails after hours, and no overstretching yourself by committing to extra responsibilities when this could compromise your mental health.

3) Ask for help

If you have been away from the world of work as a result of your addiction issues, it may have been some time since you last entered a professional environment. You might even need to apply for positions once you leave treatment, if you do not have a job waiting for you to step back into.

Whatever your circumstances, you should always feel comfortable asking friends and family to help you achieve your goals and provide useful guidance where possible.

This could range from pointing you in the direction of suitable roles as they become available, to something as simple as looking over your résumé to make sure that it is up to scratch.

4) Stay vigilant

It is entirely possible that once you get back to work, you are able to step into your old routine without putting too much strain on your recovery on a day to day basis.

However, many jobs involve more than hours spent sitting at a desk, and it is when new circumstances present themselves that you could be at your most vulnerable.

From work outings to events, conferences and other instances where your schedule differs from the norm that you might be at greatest risk of having a slip-up and relapsing.

Staying especially vigilant during these times and taking advantage of support options that are available will put you in the best possible position.

Photo by Isabela Kronemberger