Recovering a Career After Treatment

Universally, one of the paramount things on most people’s minds during treatment is how they’re going to support themselves post-rehab. There’s one side of the coin that addresses new opportunities, and the area of a ‘get well’ job. This is common for many, but what if you’re returning to an existing career? How do you balance picking up where you’ve left off, and perhaps more importantly, how do you rebuild your working relationships?

These variables are measured differently for each individual, to be sure, but there are a few commonalities that are wise to be addressed in nearly every situation. If no one at your place of employment knows about your struggle and stay in treatment, it’s a good idea to confide in at least one person, preferably someone higher in the food chain, like an immediate supervisor. This accomplishes several things. By explaining your situation, you’re gaining respect, as opposed to sympathy. Whether or not the supervisor in question has been in treatment themselves (or has a loved one who has), people generally respond with respect and support, on some level. It develops a strong sense of camaraderie and trust in most situations, and an on-going relationship on that level can also help keep your recovery on track, as well as more accountable.

There’s a delicate balance between being transparent and keeping your private life and personal journey just that, private. But a compromise can be in order, and again, may be just the thing that helps keep you accountable and hopefully, sober. A good rule of thumb here is to take a good, hard look at what these relationships were prior to your addictions, as well as your treatment. During this process it is going to be vital to make any amends that are needed. Even if it’s on the level of apologizing for not being at top-form, it needs to be done. There’s no doubt that this can be a scary task for most people. But in the end, most people are reasonable, and if in fact they are, one appreciates a person who is coming clean and is admitting their faults and shortcomings, You’ll quickly find out how valued you’ve been to the people you work for in these moments. By building a cornerstone of honesty at the outset, your chances of having stronger working relationships only gets better.

One of the main things that needs to be monitored in these situations is workload. Remember, you’ve just undergone a life-changing program and process, and it’s going to take some time to get running back to the same level of productivity you were at before. This is a good place to exercise your camaraderie and relationship with your supervisor (if you have one), and to let them know that you may need a certain amount to time to return to form. You may have to look at the option of doing slightly different areas of work, at least temporarily, to get back into the swing of things. There’s no shame in this, and the fact that you’re still in the healing process is something that you shouldn’t lose track of.

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