After completing a rehabilitation program, you’ll find yourself returning to your regular life and routine, including work. Returning to work after rehab can feel overwhelming. After all, at some point, work is stressful for almost everyone. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself, so the transition is as smooth as possible. Here are some essential tips that can help you through this adjustment:
1. Know Your Rights
The first thing you should tackle is understanding your rights before you return to work. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recognizes alcohol and drug addictions as disabilities and protects affected individuals. Know that:
- The ADA protects individuals from discrimination at work based on a substance abuse past or the decision to get help
- Employers must provide time off if it is needed to complete tasks prescribed by your health care provider for your treatment plan (including therapy, 12-step meetings, and doctor appointments)
- An employer can legally ask for a drug test to determine substance abuse at work. Employees who fail a drug test can lawfully be fired as the ADA doesn’t protect against current substance abuse.
- Employers can expect employees to keep up the same work performance levels before their substance abuse addiction and take actions if this level isn’t met. Although you have some rights into making a slow transition back to work
Reading through your rights under the ADA is well worth the time to ensure you’re fully protected.
2. Have a Stress Management Plan
As we’ve already said, work gets stressful for just about everyone at times. You can help yourself immensely by having a stress management plan. Know what stress relievers you can take when work-life gets rough, so you’re not tempted to go back to substances. Some potential stress-reducing activities are:
- Yoga or meditation
- Getting outdoors for walks, hikes, bike rides
- Baking or cooking a special meal
- Spending time with friends or family
- Self-care (massages, hair appointments, facials, etc.)
- Reading a book, listening to a podcast, or watching your favorite show
3. Lean On Your Support System
In order to reduce the risk of relapse, it’s essential to lean on your support system. If you have a hard day at work, have some people you can reach out to so you can chat things out. The people closest to you are proud of your sobriety and happy you’re regaining your old life, so they will be there when you need them.
4. Evaluate If a Career Change Is Necessary
It’s likely that during your rehab and recovery work, you identified the triggers in your life that led you to abuse drugs or alcohol. Sometimes work can be a trigger for substance abuse. It could be the stress of work or that there are people at work who regularly participate in substances. If that is the case, ask yourself if it might be time for a new job. You want to make sure you avoid triggers as much as possible. And a new workplace could help you feel like you have a fresh start!
Get Help Today at Hickory Treatment Centers
If you need help addressing your substance abuse problem, know that there are programs that can fit your needs. Hickory Treatment Centers offer a variety of programs, from detox to inpatient residential programs and more, so you can get the right kind of help. Find out more about how we can help you by contacting us today.