After you’ve completed your treatment for substance abuse, it’s time to start rebuilding your life. The hardest part is over, but you may have some new challenges ahead. One of the biggest hurdles you will have to face is re-entering the work-force post treatment. It can be hard getting back into the groove of things, but with a little bit of help, you can do it. Below are a few of the challenges you might face upon returning to work after treatment and how you can overcome them.

  • After missing work for so long, your coworkers might question your absence. You can respond in one of two ways. You can create an excuse such as the passing of a relative, or you can reveal the true reason for your absence. You are entitled to your privacy, so you shouldn’t feel bad about making up an excuse, but this comes with the additional stress of having to stick with story in the future. However, if you tell the true reason for your missing work, you run the risk of people knowing an intimate secret about yourself. The best option for many is to simply state that you were dealing with personal issues at home and that you would rather not talk about it. Nobody needs to know the truth thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act, and your coworkers should respect your right to privacy.
  • At the end of the week, your coworkers might ask you to go out for drinks. There’s nothing wrong with spending time outside of work with your acquaintances, but you do not want to put yourself in a place of temptation. If your coworkers ask you to grab drinks, you can make up an excuse like how you have to get home to let your pet out or you have to pick up a child from school. If you cannot think of a proper excuse and you want to spend time with your coworkers and friends, you can go with them but only drink water or soda. When someone asks why you aren’t drinking, say that you are on a diet. In some cases, your coworkers may pressure you to have a drink with them to unwind after a tough week, which is why it is best to simply avoid going out with them when they go to the bar.
  • When you return to work, you might want to keep yourself busy in an attempt to block out negative thoughts. While this may make you look like a stellar employee making up for lost time, it’s important that you don’t develop workaholism. Working too much not only leads to burnout, but it can also prevent you from enjoying everything else in post-treatment. Find a way to spend time with your loved ones and friends, and make sure you are participating in other activities.

Returning to work after substance abuse treatment has its challenges, but it’s part of the process of rebuilding your life. Take it slow, and remember that you’re entitled to your privacy. Don’t let anyone pressure you or make you feel uncomfortable throughout your process.

What are some challenges you have faced while returning to work after substance abuse treatment?

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