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Changing The Way You Think About Work In Drug & Alcohol Recovery

It might be challenging to return to everyday life after completing addiction treatment. After all, you've just been through a significant metamorphosis. You have faced your addiction head-on and achieved abstinence. You've developed coping mechanisms and acquired new abilities that will aid you in making healthy decisions in the real world. 

While it's essential to remain confident during your drug & alcohol addiction recovery, it's reasonable to be worried. Returning to work may cause anxiety for many reasons. Like many, you may have taken some time off to go for substance use treatment and concentrate on getting healthier during your recovery. While returning to work can be strange at first, it will go more smoothly with the proper preparation. Here's what you need to know. 

Man scaling a mountain

What Challenges Can I Expect? 

Even if you haven't been away from work for a long time, you may face various difficulties when you return. Much relies on how you left things with your employer, especially if you took a leave of absence without telling anyone where you were going.  

Telling others about why you were away may attract unwelcome attention when you return. You can feel as though you're in the spotlight and that people are treating you differently as a result. You might also believe that your employment isn't as safe as it used to be. 

In addition to any potential office gossip, here are some other problems that you may face upon returning to work: 

  • Relearning specific skills needed to do your job 

  • Catching up on work and other things that you missed 

  • Feeling like a different person who may no longer fit in with the work culture 

  • Returning to stress factors that may have contributed to drug abuse in the first place 

It is crucial to remember that while these issues might be challenging, you can conquer them with time and determination. To start, it would be helpful to consider whether your job contributed to your addiction directly through stress or unfavorable workplace culture. If this is the case, seek ways to make your surroundings better. 

If this isn't doable, it might be time to look into other employment options. 

Make Returning To Work Easier 

Don't give up on your job just because you're fresh out of treatment. (However, if you think you are in a toxic environment, switching to a new job may be the right course.) You are not alone, and many others have walked in your footsteps. According to research, over 23 million Americans are affected by drug abuse and addiction each year. Many of them, like you, go through addiction treatment before returning to work. 

While your specific experience returning to work will be unique, there are several things you can do to have a smooth transition back: 

  • Prepare what you will say. Consider what you'll say if someone asks about your condition. While you are not required to tell your coworkers the complete truth, remember that the more truthful you are, the more specific things will sound. (A good alternative is to say you were away working on health issues and leave it at that.) 

  • Have an outlet to vent. Everyone needs to vent about work stress, and your circumstance is no exception. It's critical to open up to your family and friends about how you're feeling in your professional life — just as it is to develop a support system during your addiction treatment. 

  • Take up hobbies. Work should not take up all of your time. Taking up hobbies that you can do in your spare time will help you relax and keep you busy with healthy activities. 

  • Be kind. Don't retaliate if you're the object of some uncomfortable office gossip. Maintaining a calm and collected demeanor will display your ability to rise above the situation (and it will make the gossipers look bad, not you). 

  • Know your rights. If your job security is in jeopardy due to your addiction treatment, it's critical to understand your rights. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) often covers employees who need to leave work for substance use disorder treatment.  

Cheerful group talking at work.

Returning to Work Is a Positive Thing 

Someone's substance addiction rarely goes unnoticed by the people they interact with daily. Many of your coworkers will be relieved that you have decided to take action, and you may be shocked to hear how proud they are of you. 

In general, returning to work is beneficial to your addiction recovery. It is more necessary than ever in your life to have structure and stick to a plan and keep yourself occupied with activities that are not related to drug consumption. Without your addiction getting in the way, you can prosper. 

If your job has led to your substance addiction, it is time to make a change. The first step will be getting help for your substance use disorder and seeking treatment. While finding a drug and alcohol detox program can be an intimidating process, it is an essential step for you to take to get better. 

If you are unsure about your local treatment options, check out, where you will have access to the best detox centers near you. We understand that coming off drugs and alcohol can be complex, and our primary goal is to make sure that your detox experience is as comfortable as possible. provides quality information to locals around the country in need of treatment. If you or a loved one is currently struggling to manage a substance use disorder, find out more by visiting and discovering the opportunities and help you need.

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