If anything good could be said to have come from the pandemic, it might be that we now have a better understanding of how and where work can be effectively done. For many employees, the months of working from home to avoid COVID have continued even after many things have started to return to normal. 

It probably is not too surprising that many folks like working from home. It allows for more flexibility regarding specific working hours, supports more time with family, and saves money on commuting and other expenses.

But the work-from-home phenomenon apparently has some downsides, too—and not just the ones your boss might trot out while trying to convince you it is better for the company if everyone comes to the office. According to recent reporting in Bloomberg, more working from home has led to more daytime use of drugs and alcohol.

“Yeah, maybe my eyes are red,” says one person interviewed by Arianne Cohen for the Bloomberg piece, “but no one can see that on Zoom.”

For a person in recovery from a substance use disorder, this development is worth paying attention to—especially if your employer allows you to work at home some or all of the time. There are some key questions you should ask yourself.

Working From Home: More Stressful or Less?

Some people like working from home because it means they are less frequently interrupted and can avoid small talk and the like. Long periods without coworkers dropping by your workspace can increase your overall productivity while also lowering your stress levels.

Other people, however, need the hustle and bustle of an office environment to keep from getting bored or lonely. Maybe you prefer to be in the office because you need regular opportunities to bounce ideas off of peers or because it makes it easier to be part of the team. If that is the case for you, working from home can actually lead to more stress.

Managing your stress levels is a key part of maintaining your sobriety, so being honest with yourself—and your employer—about what might be best for you is important. If it is available to you, a hybrid option that has you in the office sometimes and at home at other times might be the way to balance out the stressors and protect your sobriety.

Working From Home: More Accountability or Less?

Maybe working from home supports your sobriety because a family member who is also at home can help you stay on track with your sobriety goals. Or perhaps a more flexible schedule makes it easier for you to attend 12-Step (or other recovery program) meetings. Or maybe working from home makes it easier for you to stay mindful—present in the moment rather than distracted by all manner of thoughts and feelings.

On the other hand, working from home might mean you are far less accountable. If you spend the whole day alone, you may find it far harder to resist temptations and cravings. You might find yourself thinking like the fellow quoted above, and the idea that you can drink or use drugs without immediate consequences may prove to be too tempting. 

This is another question that requires you to be honest with yourself. Think carefully about how any given work situation—in person, at home, hybrid—will impact your ability to stay accountable when it comes to your sobriety.

Working From Home: More Satisfying or Less?

While our jobs need not (and probably should not) be the most important thing in our lives, the fact is that your work can give you a real sense of satisfaction and purpose. Knowing that what you do makes a difference can boost your self-esteem and support your sobriety.

Do you find that you have full access to those feelings of doing good and meaningful work from the home office? Or would you find it more gratifying to work from the office so that you and your coworkers can celebrate successes and overcome challenges in person? 

As with the earlier questions, there is no single right answer to this query. Once again, an honest assessment of your situation and needs—seen through the lens of what would be best for your recovery—is the best way forward.

Residential Treatment is the Right Move for Regaining Your Sobriety

If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, working on the problem from home may not be an effective approach. At Wooded Glen Recovery Center in Indiana, we offer medically supervised detoxification, a robust rehabilitation program, and a continuum of care that provides ongoing support when it is time to return home. Via a personalized treatment plan, we can provide the resources and strategies that can help you start your recovery journey with confidence. Let us get you on the road to recovery so that you can reclaim your life.