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Balancing Work With Your Recovery After Rehab

When you suffer from addiction, working becomes the last thing on your list of priorities. Oftentimes, this can cause you to lose your job. When you attend inpatient treatment, you may not be able to have a job, which can cause you to lose a lot of the working skills you learned as an adult.

Additionally, you may have never worked a job as a sober person. This can cause working after leaving a recovery program to become stressful and difficult. You may have no idea where to start, and that is okay. 

Work is stressful sometimes, whether you are sober or not. Being freshly sober can make working even more anxiety-inducing, so it is important to learn how to balance your work with your recovery. 

When Should You Return to Work?

Knowing when to return to work can be difficult. You don’t want to rush into something that could trigger a relapse, however, you also don’t want to wait too long to start making money again. 

It is best to start working as soon as you feel comfortable, but it is important to start slowly instead of diving headfirst into a stressful profession. As a result, many people choose to work entry-level jobs on a part-time schedule when they complete inpatient rehab. This provides you with the ability to re-learn how to work a job without having too tight of a schedule where you begin neglecting your own needs.

If you identify with the following statements, you are probably ready to return to work:

  • You have a steady schedule that includes recovery maintenance techniques like attending daily or weekly meetings
  • You use coping mechanisms that are successful in preventing relapse 
  • Sobriety is the number one priority for you
  • You are living in a safe and supportive environment 
  • You feel like adding on the responsibility of a job will help your recovery rather than hurt it 

You shouldn’t return to work too early. Doing so could cause you to experience triggers before you are ready to cope with them, causing you to experience a relapse. 

There are some jobs you should avoid returning to immediately after rehab. These include:

  • Medical careers
  • Jobs that include medication dispensing 
  • Restaurant service 
  • Bartending 
  • Working a job where alcohol is present, like a bouncer or a DJ at a club

What are the Benefits of Working After Rehab?

While working can be stressful, it can also provide you with an array of benefits. Research has found that “working helps people overcome substance abuse and stay sober. Jobs provide people in recovery with income, and a sense of purpose and belonging that increases self-esteem.”[1]

The benefits of working after rehab include:

  • Restoring self-sufficiency
  • Returning to everyday life 
  • Improving financial stability 
  • Providing you with a sense of purpose 
  • Learning to fulfill responsibilities
  • Providing you with chances to work through triggers 
  • Allowing you to use your time constructively 
  • Providing you with social interaction outside of your rehab bubble 

Tips on Balancing Work With Your Recovery from Addiction 

Getting back to normal after completing an inpatient treatment program can be difficult. Whether you wait to get a job or find yourself looking for one as soon as you leave the program, there are some new skills that you will have to develop. You need to know how to maintain balance and practice good time management skills to prevent yourself from feeling burnt out and possibly relapsing. 

Practice Good Time Management 

Time management is a skill that must be practiced over time before you will master it. Many people who suffer from addiction (and people who haven’t) have lived lives full of procrastination, allowing work to build up until the last second. This can cause you to experience extreme stress, which is a huge trigger for addiction relapse.

Tips to improve your time management include:

  • Determine your priorities 
  • Avoid multitasking 
  • Avoid distractions 
  • Learn to say no 
  • Use time management apps
  • Organize your day with a calendar 
  • Take breaks for your health 
  • Avoid procrastination 

Continue to Check in With Your Recovery Needs 

When you leave an inpatient rehab center, your journey of recovery does not end. Recovery from addiction requires daily dedication to recovering from substance abuse. This means that you cannot stop doing the things that have been keeping you sober. 

Even while you have a job during rehab, you have to continue attending meetings, calling your sponsor, and journaling at night to recap the day and see where you were successful and which areas you need to work on. This is why time management is so important, as you cannot stop checking in with your recovery needs. 

Practice Self-Care 

Lastly, do not forget to practice self-care. Jobs can add stress to your life, especially if yours is fast-paced. Even without a stressful job, everyone needs time for themselves. 

When you have a job, continuing to practice self-care becomes even more important. Whether you enjoy taking bubble baths, visiting the spa, exercising, or just reading a good book, you must continue to do the things that help you relax and unwind. 

Finding Help for Addiction 

If you or a loved one suffer from addiction, it’s important to seek help. Professional addiction treatment can provide you with the tools you need to gain and maintain long-term sobriety. 

At Mandala Healing Center, we emphasize the importance of individualized treatment. This means that you or your loved one will receive treatment that is special to your unique needs, ensuring that we don’t waste your time. Contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs.