Returning to work after drug rehab is different for each person. Some individuals make the transition easily because it was not a place of drug or alcohol use. Others struggle because their work was a trigger causing substance use, and they need to find other means of employment. Overall, it does not have to be a battle to return to work, and practical tips make it much easier. Whether you are in a position to return quickly or need other options, there are solutions for every scenario.
When Should You Return to Work?
Every individual should ask this question when they start planning during aftercare or at a point during the treatment when it becomes time to start thinking about work. Consider the following when answering this questions:
Before returning to the workforce, ask yourself:
Did you consider exploring other employment options but didn’t because of your addiction?
Did you want to continue your education, but addiction prevented you from doing so?
Do you have to return to work immediately, or is there some breathing room financially?
Returning to work may look different now that you are in recovery. You may be more motivated to seek higher-level employment or return to school to become more qualified. You may also find that you are in better control of your finances when you are not suffering from substance dependence. This will allow you to spend more time working towards your future.
When deciding whether to go back to your old job, ask yourself:
Did your old job keep you around drugs or alcohol all the time?
Does your job cause a significant amount of stress or worry?
Were there dysfunctional relationships at your place of employment?
Returning to your old place of employment may be the easiest option, but it may not be the best choice. You should honestly examine how your old job affected you and whether it contributed to your substance use. If it did, then looking for another option is the best choice.
What to Look For in a New Job
If you are not comfortable returning to work, that is fine; take the time needed. If you do decide to re-enter the workforce, you should make sure your new job aligns with your recovery goals. Here are some things to consider when looking for a job.
The job should provide regular hours and keep your days running with a predictable pattern. Regular hours make it easier to attend meetings or other support groups.
The job should have a steady routine, tasks, and predictable patterns and not necessarily have a rapidly changing environment. Working conditions should be reasonable.
The job should provide clear expectations and boundaries and help you feel secure and confident in your job. Part of this should involve knowing what to expect.
The job should also offer room for growth and lay out any potential opportunities that could be worked towards. This helps set short-term and even long-term goals.
A new job should be part of your recovery plan and shouldn’t replace it. When reentering the workforce, you will face challenges and may experience stress. Knowing this, it is important that you are still connected to aftercare or some form of support. Doing so will ensure you remain stable during your transition back to the workforce.