Recovering Addict: Returning to Work After Rehab

One of the biggest steps that most people take once they have left rehab and started to rebuild their normal routine is either returning to a previous workplace or starting fresh with a new job. Getting back to work is one of the best ways to work towards a long-term recovery from addiction, as it provides a daily structure and purpose moving forward. With the economic difficulties in recent years, it has been much more difficult for recovering addicts to make this crucial step after rehab. However, this should not discourage those who are about to leave rehab from making their best effort to rejoin the workforce and regain this sense of normalcy.

Returning to an Old Position After Rehab

Coming back to the same job as before going to rehab can offer excellent opportunities as well as a unique set of challenges. On the one hand, it may be difficult to re-integrate with coworkers after returning. Particularly, if an addiction affected work performance, it may take time to build up a comfortable working relationship with skeptical coworkers. Return-to-work agreements following a return from rehab can present new difficulties, such as drug testing or additional monitoring.

Additionally, gossiping coworkers can mean having a difficult work environment for recovering addicts. However, returning to an old position is also an excellent opportunity to prove oneself following a stint in rehab. Channeling energy into this position with a renewed, healthy focus will help to ward off the risk of a relapse. Complementary to this point is the importance of still maintaining a work-life balance; some returning addicts trend towards being workaholics, so it is important to still make time for leisure activities, eat healthily and get plenty of sleep. Those who return to a position following rehab with a renewed sense of purpose may find themselves more productive at work than ever before.

Exploring the Job Market as a Recovering Addict

Many recovering addicts find themselves looking for new positions following their time in rehab, particularly if their addiction had a negative impact on employment, previously. Some worry that their previous work issues or gaps in resumes due to time in rehab will be particularly damaging to their job hunt. While these are certainly tricky hurdles, it is not impossible to find a job for recovering addicts.

After re-entering the job market, applicants must be especially dedicated to their cover letters and the networking process in order to be more appealing than other applicants. A job search, much like an exit from rehab, is a fresh start. Rather than feel haunted by previous work issues, recovering addicts can view their search as a way to make amends with the past and move forward. On the plus side, some jobs and supervisors are particularly sensitive to those who are overcoming an addiction and will be sympathetic to applicants who have just left rehab. New job applicants may want to work with treatment professionals to help make connections with these individuals, in hopes of minimizing the length of the job search process.

It can be intimidating to be just out of rehab and be either looking for a completely new job or have to work to get reintegrated at an old position. The good news is that this is very possible! Be open with your therapist about job-related anxieties, as it is perfectly natural to be worried about this next step. However, the regularity of having a job can be a major advantage for recovering addicts who are trying to avoid lifestyle triggers. Embrace this challenge as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to avoid previous mistakes and truly make the effort at having a fresh start.

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