Tips To Stay Sober At Work After Treatment
Congratulations on attending addiction treatment and completing it! Being sober has probably given you a new zest for life. Yes, most people that head into treatment have lost quite a bit of good things in their lives and quite possibly have hit rock bottom. Getting out of treatment and back into your real world on your recovery path is exciting, but it can also bring on some anxiety.
You may be headed back to work aren’t quite sure how you’ll handle temptations and cravings for alcohol or drugs. There’s always the co-workers that are inviting you to the bar after work for a few drinks. Or the office party where half the people are drinking and getting drunk. Or that cute guy that you hope will ask you out, but will probably want to have a few drinks. How will you deal with all of those temptations heading back to work?
Tips for staying sober while at work
Get to know your triggers
You’ve got to get to know yourself pretty well going to stay on the recovery path of sobriety. What triggers cause you to want to drink? What are your soft spots? If you know that going to the bar after work to hang out with your co-workers will make you want a drink, then stay out of the bar. Decline any invitations, letting them know that you’re now on the recovery path and you feel that would be too much of a temptation.
Or, if you don’t want to tell them that you’re in recovery, you can simply decline politely. It’s alright to know your boundaries and set them firmly. In fact, they may respect you for that, and if they don’t, you don’t want to hang out with those people anyway.
Put a strategy in place
Let’s say you show up for work one day and there’s an impromptu celebratory party where alcohol is involved. Have a strategy for when you find yourself in situations like this. Maybe you’ll have to excuse yourself, stating that you didn’t feel good or you had another appointment to attend. Or, you could just tell them that you’re not in the mood to party and go about your workday. You could also fess up and be honest with them, stating that the temptation to drink is just too much, so you’re going to pass on the celebration.
Practicing self-care will help you deal with cravings at work and anywhere else. Be sure to take care of yourself emotionally and physically while on your recovery path. You might not love to exercise, but even taking brisk walks regularly during the week can boost your self-esteem and help you to feel better. Be sure that you’re taking healthy snacks and lunches to work with you, as just the act of taking care of your physical body can give you a sense of accomplishment.
When you lack self-care, you start to feel bad about yourself and that can be a trigger to want to revert back to addictive behaviors.
Have some fun outside of work
It’s wonderful that you have a job and that you have a regular income. That certainly feels good when you get your paycheck, as you can cover your expenses. But all work and no play can become a trigger for recovering addicts or alcoholics. Be careful that you’re not substituting one addiction for another, such as becoming addicted to working instead of alcohol or drugs.
If you find yourself working much of the time, and thinking about work when you’re not actually working, you may have simply substituted one addiction for another. If this is the case, get off that work track, and make yourself have some fun and relax outside of work time. This may be challenging to do at first and if you need help, reach out for help from a third-party, such as a counselor or mentor.
Maybe you don’t even know what you enjoy doing anymore. If that’s the case, make a list of things that you think you would like to do. Things that you used to enjoy or things that you think you would enjoy. Even if that list is comprised of one or two things, it’s a start. You might want to even ask one of your friends or family member to do something with you for fun. If you can’t think of anything, do a Google search for fun activities and hundreds of ideas will pop up. Learn to balance work and play, and that way you will be less triggered or apt to succumb to cravings for alcohol or drugs.
What if you don’t like your job?
What if you don’t like your job? What if you actually dread getting up every day and going to work? What do you do then? Well, the reality is that you probably need some income to pay your bills, have a place to live, drive a vehicle, and eat. But the good news is that people change jobs every day. They either want a new job because they don’t like what they’re doing or they just aspire to do something different.
Be encouraged that you do not have to stay at a job you don’t like forever. You will have to strategize in order to change careers, and it will take some time and it will take some effort. You may need some help with this, so feel free to reach out to a career coach or life coach that can coach you through the process of acquiring a new job. Or maybe you don’t even know what kind of job you would like to do. In this case, a career coach would do wonders, because you can discuss various career fields and see perhaps what you would most enjoy.
You might not be able to change jobs tomorrow, but eventually, you will. You might even want to go back to school, and there may be a way that you can do that as well. Just know that there are various options when it comes to careers.
If you stay at a job that you hate, this can certainly become a trigger for you to begin drinking or drugging again and you don’t want that. So, if this sounds like you, begin doing some research as far as different careers and decide to reach out for help if you find yourself struggling with taking concrete steps toward a new career.
What if I relapse?
You may be afraid of relapsing while on your recovery path, and that’s understandable. Firstly, know that a recovery path is not a straight line, but a zig-zagging line that doesn’t always go as planned. Life does not always go as planned and sometimes we fall down. If you do relapse, you simply have to get back up, dust yourself off, and get back on the recovery path.
Too many people relapse and then think that they are horrible people and go off the deep end, drinking like crazy or drugging like crazy. You don’t have to do that. Simply admit that you fell down, and get back on the recovery path. You might need to reach out to a counselor, or a 12-step group, or you may have to go to outpatient treatment for a while. The point is that there are treatments out there and recovery paths that you can begin walking again. You don’t have to stay stuck in the mud.
Coping with challenges in healthy ways
Living life on the recovery path may not be easy breezy, but life isn’t always easy breezy. The good news is that you don’t have to cope with the challenging times by drinking or drugging. You can learn to cope with triggers and cravings in healthy ways and if you find yourself struggling, reach out for help. You don’t have to go at this alone any longer, as there are professionals, friends, and family members that would be happy to help you along your journey.
Remind yourself of how far you’ve come. You’ve completed treatment and now you’re doing the best you can at your current career. There may be times when you find yourself craving your drug of choice, but know that you don’t have to succumb to those desires. You were probably taught in treatment some effective coping skills and perhaps have a relapse prevention plan too. Become familiar with ways that you will commit to handling cravings and triggers.
The role of commitment in recovery
If you’ve made a commitment to call your sponsor when you’re wanting to pick up a drink or use, follow through with that commitment. If you’ve decided to meditate every day to try to calm your mind, follow through with that commitment. If you’ve committed to attending several 12 Step meetings a week, follow through with that commitment. As you can see, following through with commitments can certainly help you stay sober on your recovery path.
If you have questions regarding inpatient or outpatient treatment, please give us a call here at Elite Rehab Placement. We’d be happy to assist you any way that we can. Your sobriety matters, so if you’re struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, take your first step toward freedom today. We can help you navigate your recovery path in a way that suits you best. We’re here for you!