If you work at a job during recovery from addiction, there are things other than work-related stress that might trigger a relapse. Workplace outings or social events are one such situation. Many companies organize these events to do team-building. However, they can also present opportunities for alcohol and drug use. For those who are still developing tools and skills to support their hard-earned sobriety through treatment, attending these events can be especially risky.
Triggers in Social Situations
Getting together with coworkers outside of work can be fun because it allows you to connect with them. It also tests the strength of your recovery. Many of these gatherings inevitably encourage the use of alcohol. Some colleagues might openly consume other substances. Seeing these behaviors happening around you can be tempting because these substances that you have tried so hard to get rid of are accessible to you again.
Unfortunately, in the wider American society, the use of substances including alcohol and drugs on social occasions has been normalized to the point that not joining the act can make you feel alienated or isolated. Under peer pressure, your mind might begin to play tricks on you, saying that it does not matter if you only use it once. Another source of stress might come from not revealing your status of being recovering to your employer and coworkers. They are not aware that you are currently in a vulnerable state and these social events can be triggering to you.
Coping With Triggers While Staying Sober
You can certainly learn to cope with such triggers, especially when these workplace outings require the participation of everyone. There are ways for you to enjoy the party without risking relapse. First of all, you can begin gathering information about what kind of outing this is going to be. Find out if alcohol will be served and whether you can choose to bring your drinks. You can ask the host of the venue these questions. This helps you to be prepared about what you are walking into.
Be prepared for questions when someone asks you why you are not drinking. If you do not wish to speak about your recovery, you don’t have to. You can prepare a good excuse or simply say “no.” If you feel pressured or uncomfortable in any way, it is fine to just walk away from that conversation. Do not allow others to grab a drink for you, because they might get a drink with alcohol.
Make a plan that will help you remove yourself from the social event quickly and safely if the atmosphere of the gathering changes later in the night. Consider having a sober friend with you or hire a sober escort who can help you get out of the situation. If you are by yourself, make sure that you have the phone numbers of trusted friends who know about your recovery and can come and get you. Do everything you can to prioritize your sobriety.
Inform Your Coworkers About Recovery
Maybe it is time to reveal you are in recovery to some trusted coworkers so that they can support you. Being able to be transparent about it and gain support from people at your workplace can make the company culture more recovery-supportive. Or you can reveal this to your employer who may give you the choice of opting out of some social outings. Many federal laws require employers not to discriminate against employees if they are in recovery.
You can always determine if you want to be in these socializing events. Over time, you might become more steadfast and stable in maintaining sobriety, and then you will be better prepared for participating. Although it is recommended that people in early recovery try to avoid social events. In the long term, being able to socialize presents lots of benefits for your emotional and mental health. Still, before you enter that stage of stability, you need to work on strengthening relapse prevention.
Strengthening Your Relapse Prevention Plan
Workplace-related stress in today’s business environment can be very complex. Work-related activities make up the largest proportion of people’s everyday life. Even workplace social events can be accompanied by a sense of duty and a heavy demand. Relapse prevention for working adults needs to consider all these factors.
The strategies you apply to workplace relapse prevention not only help you maintain progress in recovery but also shape the company’s overall culture towards addiction recovery. A culture that positively embraces abstinence as a viable component of a healthy lifestyle is commended in a recovery-supportive workplace. Coworkers share a certain level of awareness about the harmful effects of substance addiction. The employer wants to adapt social events to fit everyone’s mental health needs. Your decisions can play a key role in pushing a company’s culture towards its goal.
Do you know how to cope with triggers during workplace outings? If you dread these events becoming stressful, maybe you can seek help from recovery specialists who can coach you. You also need strong peer support. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center in Orange County, CA, we are a strong recovery community made up of specialists and peers. Because we are also a close-knit community, you can benefit from personalized care and attention that is hard to achieve at larger facilities. Our recovery specialists understand the importance of dual diagnosis treatment because addiction often has co-occurring mental health issues. Believing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, we offer the most customized relapse prevention plans. Our experienced staff help working professionals maintain a work-life-recovery balance. We are onsite 24/7 to offer you support, including providing coaching for workplace scenarios. Act now. Do not delay and risk your recovery progress. Call us at (714) 492-1119 today.