Recovery can be intimidating, and for those balancing their need for recovery with professional obligations, it can feel as if they have to choose between their employment and their health. Individuals should never feel as if they have to choose only one of these paths to follow. It is entirely possible to maintain one’s employment status while pursuing a sober future. By using the resources available and personalizing their recovery plans, individuals can begin their recovery journeys and continue to work towards their goals in both their personal health and professional ambitions.
How Addiction Impacts Professional Life
Addiction and substances use disorder (SUD) impact individuals’ professional lives in a myriad of ways. For some, the use of addictive substances directly affects their workplace performance, compromising their focus or professional development. An individual’s attendance may also suffer, as they may find professional obligations less important or pressing, may take time off to engage with addictive substances, or may experience a hangover or other negative side effects of substance use.
Not taking action in an effort to maintain their professional status can leave an individual’s use of drugs or alcohol unaddressed and continue to directly impact their professional life. The two are intimately interlinked. Addressing the use of addictive substances does not come at the expense of a person’s professional life, but rather as an aid in their continued professional employment and development.
Know Your Options
For many, the idea of pursuing recovery while maintaining professional employment can seem in contrast to each other. Yet, there are options to help each individual balance both these aspects of their lives. An individual does not have to leave their job in order to pursue a sober future. For some, the use of vacation time can provide an opportunity to take time for themselves. Taking this time off can be a great way to physically and mentally detach from the workplace while pursuing professional detox. Although, using vacation hours is not the only option available.
Addiction is also classified as a disease and medical condition, meaning that a person can utilize insurance and aid of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in order to pursue a detox and recovery program while having their job legally protected upon their return. This option also ensures that an individual’s journey with addiction and recovery begins as a private affair. This will help to ensure that coworkers and management alike will continue to judge an individual based on their professional performance rather than on any kind of preconceived stigma surrounding words like “addiction” or “recovery.”
Lastly, recovery can mean many things to many different people. While an individual committing themselves to a detox program and taking time off to focus on their sobriety is a powerful approach to recovery, there are ways to continue pursuing sobriety while still tending to their established professional schedule.
Ongoing outpatient programs are available at multiple times of day, with evening programs for those who work morning and daytime hours, and morning programs for those who then work nights. Finding an outpatient program can help each individual continue to focus and prioritize their recovery without compromising their daily work schedule. This will help individuals manage professional stresses and influences that may negatively affect their sober efforts.
Balancing Sobriety in the Professional Sphere
While an individual never has to choose between their professional life and sobriety, it is still important for them to understand how the professional sphere may inform their use of drugs or alcohol and otherwise impact their mental health. Identifying toxic workplaces or cultures can impact one’s use of drugs or alcohol. These can include language that normalizes or celebrates the use of these substances, unfair professional expectations, or an overly competitive atmosphere that introduces an intense amount of stress on a daily basis.
These feelings of stress, anxiety, fatigue, burnout, or any other kind of physical or mental exhaustion are likely to affect an individual’s use of drugs or alcohol. Distancing oneself from these stresses is paramount for improving emotional health. Creating blackout times where individuals turn their phones off after work can ensure that they are allowed to relax and engage with their own interests and needs after their shift has ended. In this way, they are not bothered by work or feel like their work is coming home with them.
Others may look to spend less time with coworkers outside of the workplace as it can blur the lines between their personal and professional lives. Erecting effective barriers in the workplace and from an individual’s workplace persona is crucial for maintaining their sobriety while continuing to engage with ongoing outpatient therapy. This can also help effectively balance their needs for recovery with their professional obligations.
Your professional life and sobriety are important in equal measure, and we at Pacific Sands Recovery Center are prepared to help you understand how your professional and personal stresses are influenced by the use of drugs and alcohol. You never have to choose between your sobriety and your professional life. We are committed to helping you find your own unique best practices and approaches to help you thrive in your developing sober life and professional ambitions. Your time with us through detox, residential, and ongoing outpatient therapy is customized to fit your unique needs and goals, with options like medication-assisted treatment, individual therapy, group therapy, and experiential practices all available to you. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your needs and goals in recovery, call us at (714) 492-1119.