Rejoining Society: 4 Tips and Tricks for Returning to Work After Addiction Rehab
When you return to work after a stay in rehab, you are faced with a few new decisions. If you have been honest with your coworkers, then they know where you have been. However, if only your supervisor knows, you may want to make up something to tell your work friends.
You have every right to keep what you have done for yourself to yourself and not face questions and judgements. You want to be proud of the fact that you completed a drug and alcohol treatment program, but there may be people at the office that just won’t understand.
Here are 4 tips for returning to work after addiction rehab.
Know Your Rights
You will want to talk to your boss and/or the human resources department to make sure you know your rights. You may need some new accommodations such as additional time off in the beginning to integrate back into the workday. You can begin back to work with half days the first week or longer if needed.
Some offices have “mandatory” happy hours and you will want to stay away from this type of activity. This is where your immediate supervisor will need to know your new limits. It is up to you if you want to discuss the “why” you can’t attend happy hours with your coworkers.
Plan What You Are Going To Say
Before returning to work after a stay in addiction rehab, you may want to practice what you are going to say to your work friends. Not all will understand, but most will be supportive.
You have every right to your privacy, so if you want to make up an ailing relative across the country, no one would know or blame you. You will need to keep the story straight as the weeks and months after your return goes by.
Know That You Are Not Alone
You may feel as if you are the only one in the office, and sometimes the world, that is struggling through addiction recovery, but you are not. Although a human resource officer or supervisor may not divulge others in recovery without their permission, they may tell you that you are not alone.
Some companies, if they are large enough, may have recovery meetings. These may not be as anonymous as you would like, but it is a possibility to help with your reintegration into the workplace as well as additional support.
Take It One Day at a Time
Recovery is about one day at a time, after all, that is the only way days come to us. You may want to set a goal for yourself each morning, either a personal or professional/work goal. That way you have something to work on and look forward to while you are working.
This goal, on top of staying sober, could be to reach out to one person at work and talk to them about your struggles. You never know how your story will impact and possibly help another person.
In the beginning, do not tempt yourself by going to an office function that will be serving alcohol. Your supervisor will understand and this may be the time to let the rest of the office know what is going on with you.