Transitioning back to work after having been in treatment can seem extremely daunting. You may be worried about a few different factors. This can include losing the job you were previously at before treatment since you were absent for a while. You may also be worried about the stressors of the workplace potentially leading to a relapse. These are valid concerns and understandable for you to have.
However, it’s important for you to remember that there are resources available for you, and you are not alone during this time. Here at West Coast Recovery Centers, we offer different resources such as group therapy and alumni or aftercare programs for the transition back to daily life.
Protections for People in Recovery Transitioning Back to Work
There are several legal protections that are available for you when returning back to work. For example, under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), substance use disorder (SUD) can be considered a serious health condition. If this is the case for your situation, then the time that you took off to attend treatment can be protected under the FMLA.
While the FMLA can potentially help, there are also a few things to look out for. Your employer might have strict policies on SUDs, which you acknowledged during the hiring process. If this is the case, then you run the risk of being fired when you return after treatment.
When returning back to work, the FMLA can ensure you keep your job if you have to attend ongoing treatment such as group therapy. This can ensure that you are able to switch to part-time work to be able to attend ongoing treatments at the same time while working.
One other thing you can do to make this transition easier is to inform your employer about your progress. If you are involved in any ongoing treatment, this can be beneficial for them to see. This way, they can see the improvements you are making.
Addressing Returning Back to Work With Co-Workers and Employers
It’s valid to feel nervous or awkward before returning back to work and having to see your co-workers and employers again. The good thing is that you get to decide how much or how little you share with them. However, it can be beneficial to talk with your boss and update them on your progress.
A way to ease some of the anxiety you may be feeling about facing your co-workers is to prepare in advance what you want and don’t want to tell your employers. You can also decide if you feel more comfortable with either telling them in person or by sending out a memo or email to each individual person.
Be Prepared for Work-Related Stress
Experiencing stress at work is unavoidable. While you may love your job, it’s important to be prepared. Stress can often lead to relapse because, in the past, while you were stressed, you may have turned to substances to cope. Some healthy alternatives for stress relief include the following:
- Regular exercise
- Watching a comfort show
- Meeting friends or family
- Trying new foods
- Keeping a journal
- Prioritizing quality sleep
If you’re noticing that your stress levels are especially bad at work, it can be beneficial to reach out to your boss and discuss any accommodations that can be made. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can protect you from being fired for needing certain accommodations. This specific act ensures that you will not be discriminated against if you need accommodations.
Alumni and Aftercare
Here at West Coast Recovery Centers, we offer alumni and aftercare programs for post-treatment assistance. We understand how important it is to have a community for support during this time. This is one of the main reasons why we developed these programs.
The alumni program allows you to stay in contact with others who are on the same path as you. This way, you have people to lean on who know what you’re struggling with. The alumni program provides safe group activities such as mountain retreats, beach bonfires, and softball games.
Extra Support and Accommodations Available for You
If you feel that you need extra support, the best way to start is to reach out to your Human Resources (HR) coordinator. You can explain to them exactly what you need or any concerns you may have, as they should be able to assist you. You may even feel more comfortable talking directly with your boss about your concerns; this can also work in some cases.
West Coast Recovery Centers is here to support you during this transitional phase. This is available through our alumni and aftercare, therapy, and support from our staff. It’s important to keep in mind that while this is a daunting time, you have resources available for you.
The transition to going back to work from treatment can be hard. You may feel lost on where to turn. It’s important to note that you are not alone, and West Coast Recovery Centers are here to help in any way possible. We make sure to provide resources for you, such as our alumni program, to ensure a smooth transition back to work. If you notice that you need more accommodations, there are many legal protections available for you, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For more information on your next steps, reach out to us today at (760) 492-6509.