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Setting Boundaries With Coworkers

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The stresses of the workplace are plentiful. Regardless of your client’s career, the workplace is riddled with stress, anxiety, and challenge. Establishing effective boundaries for those navigating their recovery is crucial for continued success. However, it can also be challenging to separate one’s professional and personal lives. Boundaries with coworkers take many forms. It is vital to address the different ways individuals can distance themselves from the workplace whenever possible to continue prioritizing their mental health, emotional health, and sobriety. 

Coworkers in the Workplace

Coworkers are an unavoidable part of professional life, and they present some unique challenges for those navigating their sobriety. Where those in recovery have the power to decide their most involved supports, social circles, and even family, an individual doesn’t have this same level of control over coworkers. Coworkers can have wildly varying ideas and preconceptions of things like “addiction” and “recovery.” They may not be as well informed about the struggles that those in recovery face or understand their deep desire to stay sober. 

Coworkers also dictate the work atmosphere. Those in recovery and abstaining from any addictive substance may find themselves surrounded by a culture that doesn’t share one’s views on these destructive substances. After-work visits to a local dive or just openly discussing and normalizing the use of addictive substances can be prevalent, creating a problematic and confusing atmosphere for those balancing their ongoing recovery. 

The Need to Set Boundaries

Boundaries are essential for your client to maintain sobriety. They help individuals distance themselves from the stresses of the workplace, allowing them to enjoy their leisure time without obsessing about it. This separation is essential as it lets individuals further their identity outside of the workplace. Boundaries also distance individuals from detrimental atmospheres or influences that may cause them to dangerously romanticize their time with addictive substances or begin to normalize their use. 

Sobriety is essential above all else, both for one’s health and continued efforts toward personal and professional goals. Setting boundaries is necessary to ensure that coworkers don’t adversely influence your client’s goals.

Setting Boundaries

There are many ways to set boundaries between oneself and coworkers, and, commonly, an individual will need to employ a combination of strategies to establish a healthy life beyond the confines of the workplace. Finding the proper variety of methods is crucial, and putting space between oneself and coworkers is necessary to focus on the sober future ahead. 

Keep To a Schedule

Scheduling is a powerful tool in recovery. In the workplace, keeping a consistent schedule can mean sticking strictly to what an individual’s assigned shift may be and giving each time to go home, rest, and relax. While going out after work may be tempting, it can also put an individual in an unpredictable situation. This potential predicament is even more likely if there is no set location or end-time, making it difficult to plan appropriate coping strategies. If one does want to go with friends after work, planning ahead of time and deciding on the location, time, and the company is crucial for mitigating unnecessary and unforeseen stressors that may impact sobriety. 

Keep Personal Information Private

Keeping personal information to oneself comes in several different forms. For some, this means keeping their personal life, interests, hobbies, and past to themselves while simply using the workspace to discuss job-related things. However, this notion also extends to your client’s personal contact information. Maintaining the privacy of their phone number, for instance, mitigates the chances of coworkers contacting an individual outside of a dedicated work schedule. This decision further separates one’s personal and professional life and maintains a healthy balance between the two. 

Take Time Off

Using vacation and sick days can carry a stigma, especially with the United States’ intense work culture. However, they are something that every employee is entitled to. Using these days for personal time and healing can reinforce boundaries between one’s professional life and individual needs. Prioritizing continued sobriety and utilizing vacation to further personal goals is a noble hallmark of recovery and essential for balancing an individual’s life between unique needs, interests, and the workplace. 

Practice Effective Communication

Practicing effective communication strategies at the workplace is essential in maintaining established boundaries. By finding effective means to communicate your client’s intentions, needs, and concerns, they can better maintain control over their recovery, even while at work. Learning to say “no,” delegating professional goals and tasks, and being able to confidently express oneself all reinforce personal identity and sober goals, making employing other boundaries more effective for continued sobriety. 

Setting professional boundaries with coworkers is a crucial skill to practice while maintaining sobriety. Located in beautiful Orange County, California, we at Pacific Sands Recovery Center understand the complicated and delicate balance of managing your professional obligations and ongoing recovery. Whether you are taking the first steps towards a transformative, sober lifestyle in our detox or residential programs or preparing for ongoing outpatient while navigating the professional sphere again in your newfound sobriety, your time with us focuses on your unique needs and goals for recovery. With an array of programs and approaches available, coupled with our intimate professional-client ratio, we create a plan that is dedicated uniquely to your future, all while in a safe, comfortable, and supportive atmosphere. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us or speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique circumstance, call us today at (714) 429-1119.

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