Getting back to “normal” after completing a long-term inpatient addiction recovery program can be a challenge.  Normal might mean something entirely different now that you have committed yourself to a sober lifestyle. You may have to find new friends, new hobbies, and even a new job.  Whether you had the luxury of taking time off work to seek treatment for your addiction, or you find yourself looking for new employment during your transition back into daily life, you will need to foster skills that allow you to maintain balance and prevent yourself from becoming too overwhelmed in early sobriety, putting yourself at risk for relapse.  Finding a work/life balance is important for everyone, but especially for those in recovery who need to conserve some of their energy for staying vigilant in their sobriety. Here are some tips to help you find balance once you return to work.

Don’t Immediately Aim to Become an Over-Achiever

All too often, early sobriety creates a sense of excitement at the possibilities that come with freedom from substance abuse, as well as an overwhelming desire to make up for past wrongdoings by taking on every challenge that comes your way.  You may feel the need to prove yourself by filling your plate with extra work and taking on especially difficult challenges at work. While this motivation is admirable and may be beneficial to you down the road, it is important to avoid over-eagerness when it comes to working in early sobriety.  Take on only what you can handle, and do a good job completing the tasks assigned to you. If you find yourself becoming stressed or anxious at work, talk to your boss about how to better manage your time or disburse the workload. Above all, your sobriety needs to take priority at this time in your life.  

Show Up Early

Arriving to work a bit early, with plenty of time to settle in and grab a coffee if you need one, allows for a stress-free start to your day and the avoidance of any repercussions from the boss.  It is likely that when you were in active addiction you had a hard time being punctual in the workplace, if you decided to show up at all. Now that you are sober, you have the luxury of restful nights and early mornings.  Getting up a bit earlier in the morning and arriving to work with time to spare gives your day a relaxing yet productive energy, and lets your team know that you care about your job.

Check in with Your Recovery Needs

Transitioning back to the public sphere after an inpatient treatment program is just that, a transition.  It requires a slow pace and a great deal of self-assessment in the process. You may have a sponsor or counselor with whom you still have contact, and it is important to check in with them regularly to keep yourself accountable and talk about how you are managing stress.  You will be a better worker and a more productive member of society if you put your recovery needs first. It can help to build a supportive network of others in recovery to serve as a home-base, allowing you to vent your frustrations and challenges in a non-judgmental environment.  

Practice Good Time Management

Time management is a skill that must be learned and practiced before it becomes second nature.  Many of us have lived a life of constant procrastination, allowing work to build up until the last minute and then becoming overwhelmed as the deadline approaches.  This can lead to failure and unnecessary stress, which can, in turn, cause you to doubt your ability to succeed in the workplace. Try researching time management techniques or reading a book on productivity to pick up some great tips for making the most of every minute of the day.  Fostering these skills will enable you to become an efficient worker, while also finding the time to actively participate in your recovery activities. However, time management also means knowing when to relax and schedule some off-time, allowing yourself to fully recharge before taking on the next day.  

Take Care of Yourself, Inside and Out

The best way to simultaneously promote good work performance and success in recovery is to create healthy habits that help you feel your best.  Find time to exercise regularly and eat well whenever possible. By keeping your energy up and enjoying the mood-elevating effects of exercise, you will increase productivity and prevent relapse at the same time.  Self-care also means tending to your spiritual needs. Attending church or a religious service, meditating, or practicing yoga, can all contribute to feelings of wellbeing and gratitude, and help you to manage stress and overcome challenges in the workplace.  

 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Burning Tree Ranch, we specialize in long-term care that produces real results, especially for those who have experienced relapse.  Here you will find a team of qualified and compassionate professionals, ready to help each client through a customized treatment program that addresses all aspects of addiction, including the identification of co-occurring disorders.  We know that the journey towards recovery doesn’t end with the conclusion of an inpatient program, and therefore we provide extensive aftercare programs to best support our clients during their transition into lasting sobriety. We also know that addiction affects the whole family, and therefore loved ones are encouraged to participate in the recovery process and take advantage of all our support resources.  For more information, call us today at  512-285-5900