National Career Development Month is an opportunity to reevaluate your professional goals and determine if it is time to learn a new skill or whether you could add to your resume in any areas that might make you a good candidate for a promotion. Returning to work after completing a substance use treatment program is also a time to view yourself, your interactions with colleagues, and your career choices from a different angle.
1. Be Patient
Often, professionals have high expectations for themselves. Under pressure to achieve ever-higher standards, you may start drinking or taking drugs as a misplaced coping mechanism. Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone, regardless of work ethic. Unfortunately, a worsening substance use disorder can impact all facets of your life – including your ability to complete your job responsibilities and collaborate with co-workers.
When returning to work after treatment, it’s crucial not to set the bar too high. Regardless of your chosen career, ease your way back up to the top of your field. Jumping headfirst into a demanding role can cause burnout. Start by working a part-time or volunteer job, then gradually increase your responsibilities as you feel ready to tackle a bigger challenge. There’s no shame in taking your time to focus on your well-being and give yourself the best chance of long-term recovery.
2. Take Advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act
Many professionals hesitate to pursue addiction treatment because they feel reluctant to leave their job responsibilities, even for a little while. However, those eligible to take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act do not need to make the difficult choice between their employment status and the need to get professional addiction treatment.
The FMLA legally ensures that employees can take a 12-week unpaid leave of absence from work for medical reasons. This law gives you the freedom to complete a treatment program with the confidence that you’ll still have a job to return to afterward.
If you are eligible for medical leave under the FMLA, use it to start your recovery journey. Otherwise, ongoing problems associated with your substance use disorder could end up costing you your livelihood.
3. Find a Sober Support Network
So many professionals build strict boundaries between the two halves of their lives – what they do at work and what happens behind closed doors. These people have managed to separate their daily responsibilities from their drinking or drug problem to such an extent that everyone around them may not even realize they are dealing with addiction.
The secrecy and denial necessary to keep up such a façade can drive people away and cause relationships to crumble. That’s why finding sober supporters is such an essential part of recovery. Often, all it takes to diffuse negative thoughts and feelings is to express them to someone else and get reassurance. If you’re open and honest about how you feel and what you’re going through, you can get the help you need when you need it.
Tailored Recovery for Professionals
Workplace stress can be challenging, but therapy will teach you more productive ways to deal with it. In an accredited residential substance use treatment program, you’ll have access to experienced clinicians using evidence-based techniques.
If your drug use or drinking have progressed to a point that you cannot stop despite your best efforts, Lakeside-Milam’s nationally accredited programming allows you to follow an individual treatment plan incorporating counseling, nutritional and physical therapy, 12-step meetings, and stress-management techniques. Call us to learn more about finding your path forward.