Returning to work following rehab can be one of the most difficult hurdles in early recovery. If you are not prepared for this transition, you may end up feeling vulnerable and at risk of relapse. There will also be people leaving rehab who need to find employment, which can be a challenge for those who have been unemployed for a long time or have a poor record of employment. Here are some tips to help you transition from rehab to work more easily.
A lot of the stress and worries that people have is related to employment and financial security, so this can be a major relapse trigger. It is therefore vital that you have sufficient support as you transition back into employment. This is going to be especially important if there are aspects of your job that you associate with drinking; for example, you are expected to entertain clients or you normally go drinking with colleagues after work.
There are many potential sources for the support you need during this period of early sobriety. We hope that your rehab will have some type of aftercare programme and that you are still able to return for outpatient group therapy or one-to-one therapy. The recovery fellowships can also be an excellent resource and you will be able to get advice from those who have needed to make this same transition. If you have a sponsor, this person will be there to help you too. There is also the option of recovery coaching if you feel you really need a lot of support during this period of sobriety.
If your reputation has been damaged as a result of your addiction or you have been unemployed for a long time, it can be a struggle to get back into work. The important thing is to not become disheartened and to have faith that things are going to work out for you in the future. It may take a bit of time to rebuild your reputation, but the fact that you are now doing the right things in your life means that the right things are going to start happening for you.
The two key mental attitudes you need when looking for work after rehab is perseverance and hope. There will be some opening that will give you a chance to return to the work place and this may even turn out to be your dream job. You need to be prepared to put in the legwork and to keep looking until you find something. Do not let rejections get you down; you need to see each of these as bringing you that bit closer to your dream job.
It is also important that you have a positive mind-set when looking for a new job. If you start with the belief that you are not going to find something suitable, you should not be surprised when this turns out to be the case. This is called a self-fulfilling prophecy because the fact that you expect to fail means you behave in a way that causes this failure to occur. If you were positive, it would impress interviewers, and will keep you motivated.
If you feel that your current employment is unsuitable because it involves too much temptation or because it is a source for a lot of your stress, you may want to look for something new. It is important not to rush into anything at this point and it is recommended that you seek advice from your therapist, family, friends, and fellowship group. Generally speaking, it is usually best to not make any major life changes during the first year of recovery; this isn’t always practical though, so you may need to change jobs a lot sooner than that.