Staying Sober: Getting Back Into the Real World and Your Workplace

7/26/2021 by Vanessa Holwell

When you’re in rehab for addiction, you’re surrounded by people that support your recovery, and there are no temptations around. But you can’t stay in rehab forever; eventually you must go back to work and get out into the real world where temptations lie. The thought induces anxiety, but it’s a step you have to take.

While rehab prepares you as much as possible, the noise of the world and the stress of your job can often block the lessons of rehab from your memory. Here are some tips from 70 Million Jobs for making the transition easier. While these tips aren’t the only ways to cope with integrating back into your daily routine, they can certainly help.

Acknowledge the risk of relapse

About 40-60% of addicts relapse within a year. That means it’s a coin flip’s chance that you could relapse as well. The real world offers plenty of temptations when it comes to drugs and alcohol. You must stay strong and use the coping skills you’ve learned to stay sober. However, if a relapse does happen, it’s important to realize it’s not the end of the world. By forgiving yourself, you prevent yourself from going into a deep spiral where addiction can take over your life and you have to start all over again. Alcohol and drug addiction is difficult to break, so recognize that you may slip up. It’s important to accept this and cope with it as best you can.

Going back to work 

If you need to find a job, there are many job search websites that can connect you to potential employers. Some websites even specialize in helping individuals who have struggled with drug problems. For example, if you've faced misdemeanor drug charges, you can find second chance jobs at 70 Million Jobs for free.

Additionally, getting a degree can open up more career opportunities for you. It can even increase your earnings depending on the career path you take. Going back to school doesn't have to feel overwhelming; in fact, you can earn a degree by taking online courses instead of going to campus. From education to business, there are several industries you can choose from as you begin the next chapter of your career.

Go slow with a structured routine

One of the biggest triggers for relapse is stress. While you get settled back into your normal life and job, it’s important not to overwhelm yourself. Instead, take it slow and one day at a time. Feel free to plan your schedule; structure can be a big help for recovery. The body naturally loves rhythm and routine, so doing this helps you feel better every day. Routines also help you feel in control, which is something you need to beat addiction. Once you’re back at work full-time, it can be difficult to find the time to relax, so do your best to set aside a half hour for meditation or a couple hours for reading. Whatever it is you like to do, try to treat yourself to it each day. 

Turn to a furry friend

When coming out of rehab, you may find that many of the people from your old life aren’t around. Whether it’s those you left behind in the world of drugs and alcohol or those you love who have a hard time trusting you, it can get lonely. Addicts often lose their self-esteem or feel guilt that makes it harder to mend relationships and create new ones.

Many people find dogs help them cope with these feelings of guilt. Dogs don’t judge, and they are happy to listen. Their bond with humans is prehistoric in nature. Playing with a pet can actually lower stress levels in humans. Walking your dog also releases “feel good” endorphins to chase away the blues. 

Additionally, dogs make it easier for you to facilitate relationships with other people, which can be helpful in both your social life and the workplace. Folks love to bond over a shared love of dogs. Whether it’s talking to neighbors at the dog park or playing with your kids and the puppy, you are likely to find that man’s best friend is a great way for you to become more social.

If adopting dogs is not feasible for you, there are other ways to benefit from their love and attention. Signing up for a dog walking service is a great way to spend time with friendly pooches. Plus, you make a little cash on the side. It’s a win/win situation.

Addiction recovery is as rewarding as it is challenging. With time and patience, you can get your life, relationships, and job back on track. By practicing a little self-compassion and being realistic about relapse, you prevent spiraling back out of control. Creating a structured routine that goes slow will help the days go by easier. Finally, dogs often help people in recovery feel better and connect with others.

Worried about finding a job with a criminal record? Turn to 70 Million Jobs for misdemeanor and felony friendly jobs.