Addiction recovery is a life-long journey, and it is expected that an individual will be coping with its unique effects throughout their life. While one may have taken time off from work to attend a detox program or residential treatment program, they will still need to balance their life in recovery with their professional life after graduating from these programs. Learning how to balance the two is a testament to one’s growth in recovery.
However, it is also a skill that needs to be practiced. There are strategies that an individual can employ to begin balancing their newfound life in sobriety with their full-time employment.
Setting Realistic Goals
Goal setting is a part of every stage of the recovery process, and the same idea applies when balancing one’s recovery and professional obligations. However, when setting appropriate goals, it is essential to consider both sides of one’s situation. That is, ensuring that one’s expectations are realistic for their sobriety, as well as their professional ambitions. Setting goals that are too aggressive in either space can endanger success in the other.
Setting appropriate sober goals means that it is essential to be mindful of one’s abilities. If an individual is living in the “real world” and coping with professional stressors, it can be unrealistic to think they can move through their days or weeks without anxiety or experiencing urges.
Rather, practical goals can mean ensuring that an individual has maintained their sobriety, made it to work on time each day, and set up support at the ready if urges arise. The idea that one should simply be done with anxiety, depression, or should not expect to still experience cravings or urges can lead to unhealthy, unrealistic goals.
Likewise, setting appropriate professional goals is also necessary. Maintaining a full-time job in recovery is complex, and holding on to meaningful employment should be celebrated. However, it is also unrealistic to expect oneself to be perfect in their position right away or reach lofty promotions in a short timeframe. Managing one’s expectations of their recovery and professional life simultaneously demands that one has a measured and balanced approach to all dimensions in their lives. This means that they take their personal and professional development at a slow pace if necessary.
Setting effective boundaries between one’s personal and professional lives can be significant in mitigating stress. Having a set time to physically and emotionally “clock out” from their job can help prevent workplace stresses from bleeding into one’s home life. Doing so can mean making a deal with oneself not to work past a particular hour or turning off their work phone after a specific time of day.
This approach can allow an individual to deal with one stressor at a time, helping prevent oneself from getting overwhelmed. Doing so also ensures that while one is at work, they are mentally prepared to cope with the stresses and expectations that it entails. While an individual is at home, they can focus wholly on their recovery, self-care, and outpatient programs.
One may also find benefits in setting boundaries by not socializing with colleagues outside of the workplace. This tactic can further help an individual separate their personal and professional lives while they develop additional coping strategies. It can also encourage them to create healthy, sober, social networks that support their recovery.
Scheduling and managing one’s time is essential for both professional development and maintaining one’s sobriety. Attending outpatient therapy programs is vital to developing appropriate recovery strategies and managing one’s sober life. It is important to continue attending these gatherings for one’s health.
Working with a boss to set a clear, consistent, concrete schedule or set times where they will be unavailable due to these outpatient obligations can help an individual prepare for this balance. Depending on one’s job, it may also be possible to work out a day of the week to work remotely, where an individual can still work and prioritize their sober obligations.
Finding a Sponsor
Sponsors can be an incredible resource throughout addiction recovery. Many sponsors may have already had to balance their own professional lives with their own sober goals. This kind of first-hand experience can be instrumental in creating a practical approach to the subject, all while providing an understanding and compassionate ear that understands the complex, nuanced situation that balancing these lives creates. Talking to sponsors and developing a professional goal while maintaining a recovery-focused mindset is the cornerstone of an effective strategy in balancing employment with their continued recovery efforts.
Learning how to balance your life in addiction recovery with your professional obligations is a delicate process. There are many unique tactics and supportive communities that can help you along the way. At Avalon Malibu, we are prepared to help you understand the interplay between your recovery and professional life and are ready to support you with our effective programs. Education, individual and group therapy, and aftercare planning, and alumni support groups are all available to help you balance the complexities of the professional world and your recovery goals. We offer programs for each stage of your recovery journey to meet you where you are at, from detox and residential therapy to intensive outpatient programs in a supportive and understanding community. For more information on the various programs available to you or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (844) 857-5992.