Transitioning Back To Work After Recovery

Transitioning Back To Work After Recovery

We’re in either one of two positions when it comes to a job after treatment or during recovery. We either have a longstanding job or career, or, we have an opportunity to start over completely. There is a third option as well- we may have a job or longstanding career, but we would rather start over completely.

Choosing a job and making the transition back to work first involves honestly assessing where we are at in our recovery and what we can or cannot handle regarding work. For example, if we’re a doctor and a few months sober, we may not be ready to see patients or perform surgery or safely write a prescription. If we’re an actor, the grueling hours of being on set and the demands of a public relations tour might be too much. If we’re starting over completely, the idea of being in an office for long hours, having to take on too many responsibilities, and learn new skills might be overwhelming.

Despite societal standards and expectations, what job you choose and how you choose to do it is completely okay. If you choose to return to a career full time or part time, that is okay. If you choose to go into a completely different job path, that is okay. If you choose to take time off from work entirely, that is also okay.

You can also choose to take what we call a “soft job”. Soft jobs are our mellow introduction back into the work force on any level. When we use the term soft job, we aren’t offering criticism to those who work soft jobs. However, there is a marked difference in responsibility and pressure between a heart surgeon and a bookstore clerk, for example. A soft job is:

        • Part-time with minimal hours
        • Easy in responsibility with only a few tasks required
        • Not in a similar field to previous jobs or career paths
Taking a soft job is an easy way to transition into the basic responsibilities and accountabilities of being employed:
        • Showing up on time
        • Adhering to a schedule
        • Reporting to management
        • Executing assigned tasks
        • Fulfilling responsibilities
        • Working with others
        • Receiving an income
        • Managing money

Know Your Rights If You’re Returning To A Job

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 offers us certain protections and guarantees if we have to leave a job temporarily in order to pursue treatment for mental health/behavioral health. When we return to work, we are also guaranteed certain rights. Familiarizing yourself with your rights and guarantees under law is critical for making sure you don’t face any discrimination, punishment, or undue termination.

Recovery is not a one stop destination. Meaning, whatever time you take for treatment and whatever treatment you might engage in, isn’t a fix-all situation. Part of recovery is maintenance by way of doctors, therapists, recovery meetings, psychiatrists, scheduled urinalysis labs, and much more. You may have an outpatient or alumni program you are required to attend as well. Recovery can and most likely will continue to ask for your time.

We learn to prioritize our recovery because it is our way of prioritizing our health and wellness, even while at work. The FMLA protects your ability to continue taking care of yourself and your recovery after you return to work. If you are returning to a job you previously held, your rights under the FMLA allow you to:

        • Have your old job back or a job that is equivalent in pay, responsibility, and benefits
        • Maintain the same health insurance benefits as before
        • Take any time necessary for appointments, further treatment and other necessary time for your health
        • Know that your rights under the FMLA are protected
        • Be protected from retaliation or retribution from employers in response to using your rights under the FMLA

Best Practices: A Self-Care Guide

Ongoing care and maintenance in recovery is just one part of returning to work after treatment. You will have an ongoing appointment with yourself to participate in self-care on a daily basis. By creating a self-care plan, you promise yourself to meet your needs, take care of yourself, and reduce your stress in the ways which work for you in particular. Everyone needs self-care, but what they need from self-care specifically is different. Some self-care practices which work for many people at the office often include:

        • Spending time outside in the sunshine when possible
        • Having a schedule which allows self-care time
        • Meditation and mindfulness practices
        • Eating well-rounded, nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day
        • Live plants near your desk and using essential oils for relaxation

Balancing Recovery And Work

Balancing recovery and work can feel like trying to achieve mastery in a complicated art form. Early stages of recovery are fragile and vulnerable times, making support at work all the more important. Thankfully, work and recovery don’t have to be exclusive. Hired Power’s recovery services are designed to support and guide you through every phase and challenge of life, including your transition back to work. You can attend an outpatient program, work with a therapist, attend recovery meetings, and even have the sober of a Personal Recovery Assistant while working a regular job or returning to your career. Monitoring Services like our real-time data driven breathalyzers, check-ins and scheduled urinalysis tests can help maintain accountability for sobriety in the workplace and include active communication with employers. When work travel is involved, Safe Passage Transportation services will make sure you get from A to B and back again with a certified recovery professional offering you the support, understanding, and structure you need to maintain health and sobriety.

You’re Never Alone

Being in recovery in the workplace can feel like you’re completely on your own in a world that nobody else can understand. You’re never alone in recovery. Hired Power offers recovery focused services specifically designed to help you find success in recovery and in life. Our dynamic team of recovery professionals have the personal and professional experience needed to guide you through every step of your recovery journey and make sure you bring recovery home. For information, call us today:

Hired Power knows what it takes to stay sober and maintain recovery. Our recovery services are designed with two key goals in mind: to help you stay on the path of recovery and make sure that you can bring recovery home. With a team of experienced professionals with unmatched passions, you can feel secure knowing you’re never alone. We’re here to stand by you.