Being anxious about returning to work following inpatient drug treatment is completely normal. But by knowing what to expect on your first day back, you’ll be better prepared to field questions and overcome those first day hurdles.
Returning To Work Following Inpatient Drug Treatment
You’ve successfully completed inpatient drug treatment at a drug rehabilitation center. Congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment. But now you have to return to work, to wandering glances and hushed tones. That thought in and of itself can be terrifying. But if you overcame addiction, you can overcome this. Take a deep breath, follow this guide and return to work with your head held high. You’ve got this.
What to Expect on Your First Day Back to Work
Being anxious or nervous about returning to work following inpatient drug treatment is completely normal. But by knowing what to expect on your first day back, you’ll be better prepared to field questions and overcome those first-day hurdles.
People Will Have Questions
While some may be genuinely concerned about you and how you’re doing, others will simply ask questions out of curiosity. Know that you’re not required to explain your situation to coworkers. But you may choose to be completely open and let them know what you’ve been dealing with. Either way, the choice is yours.
It may be a good idea to think about what you’re going to say if asked where you’ve been. You have a few options. You can tell your coworkers that you had to go away for a bit. You could tell them you had some health issues to work through. Or you could opt to tell them the uncensored truth. Keep in mind that the closer you stick to the truth, the easier it will be to keep your story straight. Consider talking with a counselor, trusted friend or loved one beforehand to work on your choice of words. This will help you feel more comfortable with what you’re going to say.
You’ll Have Some Catching Up To Do
You’ve been gone a while and you’ll naturally have to deal with changes that have occurred while you’ve been away. Accept that you may be a bit rusty in regard to your job skills. Catch up on any informational updates that pertain to your daily duties. Then, take some time to adjust and bring yourself up to speed.
But You’re Not Alone
You’re not the only one who has had to deal with personal challenges in their life. In fact, you may be surprised how many people have also dealt with addiction or struggled with a friend or family member’s addiction. You may feel uncomfortable and awkward, but you don’t have to feel alone. Know that you most likely have many silent or even potentially vocal allies in your workplace.
Stay Strong and Keep Your Head Held High
Remain realistic when you’re returning to work after rehab. Your job will be challenging and there’s no real escaping workplace stress. But your health should be your first priority.
Use Stress-Relief Techniques
This is the time to utilize every technique and tool you learned while in inpatient drug treatment. By implementing the techniques taught at inpatient drug rehab facilities and taking care of yourself, you’ll be in a good headspace to return to work and thrive. For example, utilize some or all of the following techniques to relieve stress while at work:
- Avoid stressful situations, if possible
- Take a deep breath or step outside to calm down when in a stressful situation
- Use time management tools
- Reduce interruptions (unneeded emails and/or text messages)
- Eat a healthy diet
- Work toward short-term goals
Leave Work At Work
Stress management is vital to maintaining long-term sobriety. One of the biggest stressors in your life is work. But by prioritizing what’s important in life, you’ll learn to not let that stress follow you home. Start to understand that work needs to remain at work and when you walk out those doors at the end of the day, you need to leave that stress behind.
Find Trustworthy Co-Workers
It can help your stress and your confidence to have some other co-workers to rely on as part of your support network. While everyone doesn’t need to know that you were in rehab, many find it helpful to confide in two or three trusted colleagues. If you need help with prioritizing work tasks or simply need a boost of support or encouragement, a confidant in the workplace can be a really good thing.
Know Your Rights As An Employee
Reintegrating into your workplace will naturally come with a few bumps and growing pains. But know that you have the right to ask for certain accommodations from your employer to make the process a little easier. In fact, employers are usually required to comply with special instructions or limitations deemed necessary for your recovery by a health care provider. This can include things like time off for doctor’s appointments as well as limited introductory work hours. You also may be within your rights to request additional training in order to bring your skills back up to your prior standard, without your work performance being penalized.