Supporting Employees in Recovery

Supporting Employees in Recovery

One of the most important and necessary leaps within an individual’s recovery process is their reintegration back into the workforce. This may come at various stages within one’s recovery journey and depending on how early one makes the decision to return to the workforce we can expect that a particular level of support and accountability would facilitate a smoother transition. One of the biggest problem areas that can arise during this transition is the propensity for the addict to believe that entering back into a job or occupation can supplant the importance of a continuing recovery program. For the addict that has never engaged in recovery, it is easy to see how the naivete associated with early sobriety can allow for an individual to convince themselves that they are back on track and can begin to start conducting business as usual. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While we want to balance our critical voice with the voice of compassion, it is wildly dangerous to think that we can rest on our laurels and bounce back into life without repercussions. Humility plays a big role in the ability to see with clarity how well we are adjusting back into “normal” life as it acts a check to the human proclivity towards grandiose thinking and all the dangerous implications associated with that perspective.

There are three outcomes that typically accompany the addict who leaves their recovery program behind and believes that a re-engagement into their work will act as a preventative measure towards relapse. First is the obvious and most common; an individual returns to work, forgets their program, and as a result, falls very quickly back into the behaviors that, while maladaptive, make the addict feel comfortable and familiar which generally leads to substance relapse. The second occurs when an individual returns to work, and quite immediately, replaces one repetitious and compulsive behavior for another (i.e. replaces the repetition compulsion of drug use for that of a workaholic). While this “strategy” can serve a purpose temporarily, it does not address the underlying mechanism that requires compulsive engagement in a behavior in order to avoid doing the “real work”. Simply defined, we can describe “real work” in the recovery context as an examination of ourselves in order to understand why we use, what purpose the drug use served, and what steps we can take in order to establish more adaptive and effective coping strategies. Finally, and maybe the most insidious of the maladaptive options, is what is colloquially known as the “white knuckle” approach. This takes place when we enter back into the workforce and actually stay sober but do so merely by virtue of not drinking or using. This scenario is extremely dangerous because of its ability to maintain some sort of stasis for the addict, while essentially creating a landscape whereby the addict becomes paralyzed in their holding pattern. We can convince ourselves that we are sober, and therefore, on the right path. It is important to identify this trap in order to avoid its pitfalls as this is arguably the worst of all three scenarios as it allows for the perpetuation of misery and suffering while simultaneously allowing the addict to believe they are on the course that would prove to yield the best results.

Because relapse tends to be part of the recovering addict’s story, we also need to be aware of how to best support individuals who have relapsed while working a particular job. It isn’t always easy for individuals to take a month off of work in order to enter back into treatment as this can be extremely costly, inconvenient, and even result in the loss of their job. While a 30-day treatment program and detoxification is indicated during some relapses, and almost always necessary for the first attempt at sobriety, it is not a catch-all approach within all contexts that an addict could be living within. To put it bluntly, most individuals cannot afford, financially or with respect to time, a 30 to 90-day program. Hired Power has been able to put their finger on this predicament that many addicts face, and not only have they identified it, but offer services that provide solutions for the addict in the workplace. CPRA’s (Certified Personal Recovery Assistants) are available in order to, along with the treatment coordinator, help construct a game plan with measurable and identifiable objectives that will help the suffering addict to work toward incremental goals while continually being supported by someone who has navigated this territory previously. The empowerment instilled in the suffering addict who is working with another individual in recovery is invaluable to the recovery process as a whole. Feeling as though one has agency over decisions that will hurt or help them in their daily lives creates a sense of drive to seek out strategies, interventions, and coping tools that will assist them, not only momentarily, but throughout their entire journey of recovery. The other component to these services available through Hired Power is one of equal importance to that of empowerment and support; and that is the component of accountability. While we want to allow freedom for the addict to make mistakes and then learn from them, it is also advantageous to have measures in place in the event the suffering addict relapses. This is done through drug testing, sober monitoring, and even through the safe passage program where something as minor as picking up a medication from the pharmacy is overseen in order to help alleviate temptation. In sum, we want to adopt interventions, support, and accountability programs that accommodate the specific needs of the individual, and this is what can be found through the programs and services available at Hired Power.  

Hired Power has the experience, expertise and supportive environment to help you achieve lasting recovery. We’re here to help you every step of the way. Call us today: (714) 559-3919.