How to return to work after being in addiction recovery

For someone who is on the road to addiction recovery, it can be difficult to return to work and an office that may haunt that person with bad memories. It may seem strange and cause people to feel embarrassed about their absences. That low self-confidence may cause a person to think he or she is alone and potentially relapse. Here are a few suggestions on how to handle the return to work and normal life.

People’s explanations are their choice

Most people who return to work may think they need to explain when asked by a coworker about their whereabouts for the past few months or weeks, Marc Kantor of PsychCentral said. But addiction is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and that under the Family and Medical Leave Act, a person does not have to reveal any details about his or her illness if they choose not to, as long as the illness was diagnosed by a doctor. It is every individual’s choice whether he or she feels comfortable telling the truth or not, but keeping in line with the 12-steps, it is healthy to acknowledge addiction because that becomes part of one’s strength against it. Though some may judge, there could also those who share their addiction stories as a gesture of support.

Addiction Recovery is a new beginning

A person may be embarrassed to return to work, especially if he or she abused drugs or alcohol on the job, Kantor stated. Addiction Recovery offered a haven of non-judgmental people who were in the same boat and who definitely do not know his or her past, though a person’s coworkers might. A person in recovery should realize that with addiction recovery comes new beginnings, including at work. People in recovery should remind themselves that they left their old selves behind when they walked through the doors of the addiction treatment center. Just because someone returns to the same place does not mean he or she is the same person. Coworkers will begin to realize the changes and not bring up the past as soon as the person proves he or she has changed.

Do not let stress be overwhelming

Stress is one of the main reasons a relapse can happen, according to the National Institutes of Health, and the workplace can be stressful. A study conducted in 2011 by the Washington Physicians Health Program examined surgeons and non-surgeons to see if they returned to work after being in addiction treatment, and how they handled it given the aura of perfection that surrounds the profession. The researchers actually found that doctors received more scrutiny from their coworkers upon their return when compared to individuals in other professions. Despite the scrutiny and stress, researchers noted that close to three-quarters of doctors recover successfully from addiction.

Though stress can push a person over the edge, using resources like supportive friends and coworkers can help prevent a relapse. Attending regular AA meetings can also be a good stress reliever and allow people to transition back into their lives more smoothly.

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