Going back to work after spending a month or longer in addiction treatment is a challenge. You will likely be anxious about returning. It will take a little time to get back into the swing of things. You may not know what your coworkers have been thinking about your absence. You may fear the stress of your job will lead you to relapse. Overall, it’s probably better to be a little nervous rather than complacent. If you are getting ready to return to work after treatment, there are a some ways to make the process easier.

Think about what to tell your coworkers.

People will have noticed your absence and they will ask you where you’ve been out of curiosity or genuine concern. You should be prepared for questions and have a strategy for answering. Every job is different, of course, but it’s unlikely you will be able to keep the reason for your absence a secret forever. Furthermore, people can make up crazy stuff when left to their own devices. It might be better to own it and control the narrative.

Don’t take on too much at once.

If you’ve been gone for a while, you probably don’t have much on your desk. You might have to get up to speed on what’s happening. Don’t be in a rush to get all of your old responsibilities back. Take it slow and allow yourself time to adjust.

Take frequent breaks

Going full speed all day can wear you down and stress you out. Stress accumulates. Every hour or so, take a short walk, take some deep breaths, and unwind a little before getting back to it.

Focus on the positive.

There are many ways in which going back to work is excellent for recovery. It gives you a regular schedule and frequent social contact. You have responsibilities and you feel useful. You make your own money, so you’re not completely dependent on others. These are all good for you. The biggest downside is the stress, which you can learn to manage.

Avoid certain coworkers.

People with addiction issues tend to gravitate toward each other. Spending time around people with the same problems makes you feel more normal. Unfortunately, that might mean your work friends are a bad influence. You may need to make an effort to distance yourself from anyone who might tempt you back to your old ways.

Beware of becoming a workaholic.

It’s common for people in recovery to transfer their addiction to something else. Now that you’re going back to work, make sure you do it on your terms so it doesn’t become an addiction. Work can become just another way of striving for fulfillment and avoiding unpleasant thoughts. Try to keep some balance in your life so you don’t get burned out and end up relapsing.

Take care of yourself.

Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, eat healthy, and spend time with friends and family. Doing the basic things to take care of yourself and stay healthy not only makes you happier, but it makes your career sustainable.

Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.