You made the decision to enter rehab and confront your addiction with determination and conviction. You look forward to the moment when you can re-enter society as a sober individual.
Achieving sobriety and committing to working hard every day to change your life for the better is not without its uncertainties, however.
For most people, entering a rehabilitation facility requires them to step away from a number of
personal commitments, family obligations and work responsibilities. Returning to these key parts of life can easily make any recovering addict feel anxious.
But getting back into a healthy groove is a critical part of the recovery process due to its ability to provide a structured routine, stimulate your mind and offer the opportunity to socialize in a safe and supportive environment.
When it comes to returning to work, many recovering addicts want to know how hard it is. Some may even worry if their job will still be available to them.
Taking the proper steps to prepare yourself, and your employer, for your rehabilitation stay can help you stay focused during treatment instead of worrying about your job. This preparation can also set the stage for when you’re addiction-free and ready to go back to work.
Getting your job back after treatment isn’t always as scary or difficult as some may think. While there are some extenuating circumstances, such as your history at work during your addiction and how you decided to leave your job for rehab, most times you are covered.
The key is to be open with your employer and communicate effectively to inform them of the severity of your disease and why you are entering into a rehabilitation facility.
It is not required to provide them all the details regarding your addiction, but letting them know that you have a problem you are dealing with and how long you will be gone increases your chances of keeping your job after rehab.
If possible, it also may help to provide your employer with updates throughout your stay in treatment to keep them informed of your potential return date.
Another option is to create a return-to-work agreement with your employer, which is a written document that outlines the employer’s behavioral expectations of a returning employee after rehab.
The U.S. Department of Labor recommends that this agreement be in place prior to you returning to your job, so that you and your employer can be on the same page regarding your accountability and avoid unnecessary miscommunications.
There are federal protections for people dealing with a diagnosed substance use disorder. In particular, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees from being fired for poor job performance due to their addiction, as long as the employee has chosen
to enter into treatment.
The goal of this act is to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including those recovering from their substance addiction, so seeking clinical aid to be appropriately diagnosed is an essential component of this process.
However, it is important to remember that every company has established protocols for dealing with substance abuse issues and employee addiction. For example, if you’ve been drinking or using drugs while on the job, you may not be protected under the ADA. Make sure you are familiar with your company’s rules and protocols beforehand.
Returning to work after rehab can feel like a sense of accomplishment. It is the indicator that you’ve battled through your addiction and come out on the other side stronger than ever.
At this point, it is important to acknowledge that jobs inherently have stressors and emotional triggers that may have been forgotten while in rehab. It is important to establish personal safety nets and management techniques to handle the inevitable stress that comes with working, especially since this type of stress can risk relapse.
Simple stress relief techniques can prove invaluable in your efforts to maintain your sobriety and avoid becoming overwhelmed upon returning to work. Some options include:
Plan in advance to attend local recovery meetings to establish and maintain a positive social
support network when returning to the community. By working proactively to address the
inherent stressors associated with work-life, you can be prepared for the moments when life begins to feel overwhelming.
It is important to remember that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. While this statement seems simplistic, the meaning holds true and the need to actively prepare for a potential relapse may mean the difference between a stumble in your sobriety and a complete unraveling.
Taking the first steps in your recovery journey can be liberating and terrifying all at the same time. No matter what you are feeling, you are not alone throughout the process.
At Covenant Hills, we believe finding the strength within yourself to overcome your addiction is both commendable and admirable. But achieving sobriety also entails creating goals and planning for your personal and professional life after rehab.
We make it our mission to meet you exactly where you are and walk with you every step of the way throughout your recovery journey.
Learn more about our Christian-based drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs, or contact us for a free and confidential assessment.