The most difficult thing after recovering from a drug addiction is living with the fear of relapse. Having control over your life is ready hard enough without the burden of addiction. Unfortunately, it might get even harder as the years pass. It would be foolish of you, as a recovering addict to take your past actions and behaviors lightly and keep the same friends or visit the same places you used to party at and get drugs.
Continuing with the same old habits just because you are clean for a while will only make it harder for you to avoid relapsing. The important thing is to find awork-life balance and enjoy a happy and fulfilled life without keeping yourself busy just for the sake of not getting back to drugs. Thinking about your life after rehab will make you feel nervous, so take the time to adjust to sobriety. Deep inside, you already know what to do, but here are some tips to help you on the way:
The Process of Finding a Job After Rehab
As the recovery process lasts forever, working provides structure and stability that you need in these very early stages. Having a job means having a purpose and stable routine to fill your time and help you maintain sobriety. But, returning to work after going to rehab is stressful and intimidating especially if your coworkers and boss know you’ve been to rehab. You are likely to get questions you might not know how to respond to. So, if you are returning to a job you held before going to rehab, this is the time to accept that you are in recovery. You can be either honest and open about it or keep things to yourself. Deciding on these major steps prior going back to work will make things easier and less stressful.
In case you’ve lost your job as a result of drug addiction, it can be challenging to find a new job while you are in early stages of recovery. So, keep in mind that it is illegal for employers to ask whether a job applicant has ever abused substances, been to rehab or has a substance abuse disorder. These rules are covered in the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act where the employer is not allowed to refuse to hire a person if they are in recovery from substance abuse. An employer can rescind a job offer based on positive drug screening. In case you don’t want to keep your recovery process a secret, you might want to think about ways to best explain your situation.
- Volunteering with a company until you build rapport and eventually get a paid position.
- Get help from an aftercare program or sober living community with the job seeking.
- Ask close friends and family for job referrals.
- Look for open jobs on online websites and classified ads in the local newspaper.
To handle the stress in the workplace, take frequent breaks when possible, learn to calm yourself down with deep breathing, visit the gym, eat healthily, talk to a close friend about the stress you are dealing with, and write a journal. It is important to continue with your treatment (intensive outpatient programs) while going to work in those early days. You shouldn’t allow your job to take over your life.
Reconnecting with Friends and Family
Many recovering addicts face the dilemma whether they should drop their friends who use substances or not. Based on the fact that one third of the people that are in recovery relapse due to pressure from others, being close to people that use is a bad idea. They might also not like that you are in recovery and you will feel the pressure. You will have to learn to say “no” over and over again which might make you self-doubt and relapse after a while. The best thing will be to find sober friends that will support and love you for who you are. You need to have a healthy, stable social life if you want to succeed in recovery.
After leaving rehab, don’t be surprised if your family members give you a cold welcome home. Their memories are still fresh and they might feel resentment because of your past actions. However, that doesn’t mean you should feel discouraged. Take your time and do your best to rebuild trust. They are likely to feel uncertain about your recovery process and need reassurance. Let time work its magic and most importantly, maintain sobriety. If they need space, give them some space. If they refused to have any contact with you whatsoever, try again after you have settled down and been sober for a while.
Support from Community
Being in a community with people that will support you through recovery is crucial. Groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) provide a feeling of community and you won’t be alone when fighting cravings. Find a person in NA that will help you find a sponsor. Your sponsor will be someone to turn to when having difficulties.
You can also consider staying in a sober living home. These communities are a form of aftercare following rehab and help you easily transition from there to your normal life. Sober living homes provide a drug-free environment and assure abstinence with regular drug tests. They also offer support groups, activities and 12-steps programs. People that spend time in sober living for longer than a year are less likely to relapse.
Find Sober Activities
Being bored and having nothing to do while also being a recovering addict do not go well together. Meaning, you need fun things that make you happy and you enjoy doing every day or every other day of the week. However, don’t forget to maintain a work-life balance and avoid engaging in too many activities because that may exhaust you and lure you into relapse. There is no harm in trying new activities until you find something you really enjoy or just continue doing a few activities at a time. For example, you can volunteer at an animal shelter, work out, do yoga, go fishing, go to a concert, go to church, learn to cook, try artistry, etc. The list is endless. Last but not least, get enough sleep. Feeling tired all the time will make you stressed and more susceptible to relapse.
For more information please call our Addiction Treatment Helpline at (844) 439-4765. This is a Free and completely confidential call. We are available 24/7. In many cases, your health insurance company will cover 100% of the treatment cost. So please call now.