Humans often avoid change. For instance, you may stay in the same residence or job because it is comfortable. While this is normal, sometimes it is the right time to make a change. As a working professional, this may mean taking a new position or joining a new company. The truth is that these work transitions are often stressful, even if they are positive.
While change is challenging for most people, it is especially hard if you are in recovery. Change can cause stress, which is often a trigger for those struggling with addiction or mental health disorders. Change can also lead to many new things in your life, which you may or may not know how to deal with yet. The good news is that you can make a work transition and make a plan to prevent relapse. When you have support and practice self-care, you can get through the transition and find a better path.
Challenges of Work Transitions in Recovery
A work transition can be the result of many variables. Regardless of the reasons, it is sometimes necessary. If you have decided it is time for a change, it is normal to feel both excited and nervous. This is because while the change may be for the best, it is still a change that causes both stress and the requirement to adapt to a new environment.
The Stress of Work Transitions
In our modern world, stress is hard to avoid. While stress management is important for mental health in general, it is particularly helpful in recovery. Research published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences revealed that stress is a key factor that often plays a role in initial substance use, addiction, and relapse. Therefore, while in recovery it is helpful to acknowledge when situations are likely to be stressful and prepare for them.
Feeling stress during work transitions is normal. There is a learning curve even if you are in the same role at a different company. Stress is often considered negative. However, it is a natural and important response to new environments until we feel safe in them. If you feel stressed during or before a transition, it is okay. Lean on your support networks and make a plan. This can help you find peace in a time of change.
Adapting to a New Environment
Work transitions generally mean adapting to a new environment. Transitioning to a new company requires a complete change in your environment. However, even changes within the same company can result in a new environment and community. These changes take time to get used to.
A new environment is particularly challenging if you’re in recovery. Your life after treatment is different. You have created a life where you can stay sober and get the support you need. This includes learning what can trigger you and ways to manage these triggers in a set environment. In a new environment, you will be faced with new situations, individuals, and other stimuli. These all take time to learn how to manage while in recovery.
Staying Sober During Work Transitions
Learning to live a sober life, including work transitions, begins in treatment. In treatment, you will detox from physical dependency and learn tools that will help you navigate a variety of situations. Two skills that will especially help to maintain sobriety during a work transition are getting help and having a plan.
When you are going through a work transition, it is normal to feel a sense of isolation. Your co-workers are likely to change and therefore your community is shifting. However, there are other options for continued WORD support. Reaching out to loved ones for support during this time is a great option.
Another place to find support is through peer groups. Attending support meetings is one way to talk through issues you are experiencing with others who can truly empathize with the challenges of living in recovery. Research has shown that peer support is vital to decreasing the risk of relapse in recovery. Therefore, these groups are good places to look for help when you are in need.
Making a Plan
It can be challenging to make plans for managing work transitions as a whole. You may not know the details of your new position or be familiar with the variables that will arise. However, you can make a plan for relapse prevention. Taking time to lay out options for yourself when you are feeling triggered or stressed will help. These skills will carry over from treatment and your old role.
For example, if you find that taking a walk is a good way to relax and manage stress, look at options for walking near your new office. Knowing what has been helpful for you in the past will help you to formulate options so that you have different choices to manage triggers and stress.
Keep in mind that your plan for managing recovery in your new role or environment will change over time. As you learn about the new role, you will find new options and build a stronger foundation of community and tools to manage your sobriety.
Being in recovery as a working professional means managing work transitions while staying sober. There are many challenges involved in doing this. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we help our clients learn the tools needed to plan and manage a variety of situations after treatment. This includes work transitions. We believe that each client will find different and unique tools helpful for them, and the foundation of this is learning self-awareness. Fostering self-awareness helps clients make adjustments and stay sober as situations around them change. If you are a working professional in need of help with addiction or mental health disorders, our programs are built for you. Call us today at (949) 426-7962 to learn more.