A whole lot of people—including you yourself, perhaps—spend many, many (many!) hours on the job. We think of the work week as lasting 40 hours, but for a lot of folks, that number is the floor rather than the ceiling. People get to the job early, work through lunch, and then stay late—in some cases to collect overtime hours. They might keep working right through the weekend—maybe for their primary employer or maybe they have a second job or are part of the gig economy—and they leave their vacation days unredeemed. 

None of that is particularly healthy—and it can really be problematic for a person in recovery from a substance use disorder. In fact, there are all kinds of issues related to work that can have an impact on your recovery journey. Let’s take a look at several of them.

Taking Time for Treatment and Returning to Work

One of the more challenging aspects of getting yourself into treatment can be gearing up to tell your boss that you need some time off. That requires some preparation and some fortitude, but the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides you with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to seek treatment for a substance use disorder—and if you have sick leave or vacation banked, you may not have to rely solely on unpaid leave. You can find more ideas and information about talking with your boss in this blog post.

On the flip side, you will need to reintegrate into your workplace after you return from treatment—newly sober and just getting your recovery journey underway. Among the things to consider as you get ready to go back to work is how much of your story you want to share with your coworkers. Remember, you are entitled to privacy and should not feel pressured to explain where you have been. Here is a blog entry that considers a range of issues related to returning to work.

Managing Stress on the Job to Protect Your Sobriety

We all have stress in our lives—and, of course, our jobs are often a primary source of that stress. Managing stress effectively is an essential part of protecting your sobriety, so it is important to have strategies at work to help you stay balanced. There are a number of ways to do this including building breaks into your day (choosing times when you are not necessarily available for your coworkers to just drop by), eating lunch away from your desk, and more. It is important that you find stress management strategies that work for you. You can find more information about stress here.

Beware of Work as a Substitute Addiction

Sometimes it can seem as if your recovery is rolling along fairly well. You are not using drugs or alcohol—and that’s the goal, right? 

For some people, however, a substitute addiction can develop. A person might find themselves exercising to excess, gambling beyond their means, or, yes, working all the time. Staying clear-eyed about your relationship to your job is an important way to protect your sobriety. Here’s a blog entry with more information about substitute addictions.

Is Your Work Friendly to Your Recovery?

As your time in treatment comes to an end, it is a good idea to think about the culture at your workplace. Is it the kind of place that expects you to be part of the gang that goes out for drinks on Fridays after work? Is it a place where coworkers support one another, or is there a lot of competition and sniping? At the end of the workday, do you feel energized and satisfied or stressed out and dissatisfied?

This thought process is necessary because it is possible that your workplace is actually a threat to your ongoing sobriety. If that’s the case, it might be time to seek out a new gig. Here is a blog entry that provides some advice if you find yourself looking for a new job in recovery.

Put Us to Work Helping You Get and Stay Sober

This entire blog entry has been about your job and how it may support or upend your recovery. Let us tell you a little bit about our job and how it supports your sobriety and recovery.

At Wooded Glen Recovery Center—located in Henryville, Indiana—our job is to provide personalized treatment for substance used disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. 

To do our jobs well, we rely on evidence-based practices, our extensive training, our years of experience, and our commitment to empathy. We will see you through medically supervised detoxification and our intensive rehabilitation program. When your time in residential treatment comes to an end, we will continue to work to support your recovery journey via our continuum of care.

When it comes to helping you reclaim your sobriety and your life from drugs and alcohol, you can absolutely count on us to put in the work.