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Returning to Work After Treatment

Returning to work after leaving treatment can be a frightening experience. People who know where we were may have question, and we may feel a stigma associated with having sought treatment. We may feel emotions like shame, guilt, and embarrassment when we see our coworkers. Fortunately, the transition may be smoother than we anticipated. We will often be surprised how understanding our friends and colleagues will be.

The stress of returning to work after addiction treatment can feel overwhelming. Dr. Peter Grinspoon, in a 2018 Harvard Health article entitled Working Through Workplace Stigma: Coming Back After an Addiction, explains, “If I had been out of work to receive chemotherapy or because of complications from diabetes, I certainly wouldn’t have felt self-conscious or self-doubting upon resuming my employment. “ However, we should do our best to recognize that addiction is a disease, and just as we would have left work to receive care for any other disease, we should be proud to know that we made the best possible decision for ourselves.

The stigma of addiction, however, can be difficult to work through. Grinspoon explained, “With addiction, due to the prejudices that many people in our society hold, the return is psychologically complex and anxiety-producing.” One of the dangers of returning to work after treatment is using work as a substitute for addiction. Rather than spending our time focused on recovery, we may find ourselves using work as a way to avoid our responsibilities to care for ourselves. Brian Hughes, in a Business.com article entitled Substance Abuse in the Workplace: What to Do When an Employee Returns from Rehab, explains, “Your employee may use job demands as an excuse to escape other challenging emotional situations or avoid dealing with painful feelings and broken relationships post-rehab.” The weeks and months following treatment can be highly emotional, and it is important to address and work through these emotions in a healthy way.

Although employers may be happy with our newfound dedication to our work, “It’s just as important, however, that he or she makes time to reconnect with friends and family, attend meetings, and enjoy sober-related activities,” explained Hughes. We must find a way to strike a healthy balance between the demands of our recovery and the demands of our profession.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can discover a life of happiness, joyousness, and freedom by making the courageous decision to seek help now. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, offers a safe location where clients can relate to staff and other clients in similar walks of life and learn to rebuild their relationships and roles within their communities. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431