Returning to our Work after Getting Sober

While many addicts are unable to sustain a level of functionality which enables them to hold down a job, there are those motivated by the need to support their habit who are able to maintain employment through their addiction. Now that you have successfully completed substance abuse treatment and are living in sobriety, you may be hesitant to return to work out of fear. Perhaps you are ashamed to face your coworkers and admit you had a substance abuse problem, or maybe you are worried you will not be able to perform at your job without your substance of choice. Do not let these fears you’ve built up in your own mind prevent you from returning to your career, for they are rooted in your own beliefs rather than reality and can be easily assuaged.

Feelings of guilt and shame are a natural part of everyone’s experience in early recovery, but it is important to work towards letting go of these emotions as they hinder our progress in sobriety. To this end, you should confront your fear and return to work, answering and questions from your coworkers honestly without revealing unnecessary details about your private life. There is no shame in admitting you had a problem and took steps to deal with it. On the contrary, this shows a great deal of maturity and integrity on your part. You will see that this fear of facing your coworkers was entirely irrational, as they will respect you more for admitting you had a substance abuse problem and taking action to treat this illness.

You may also believe that your performance at work will suffer now that you are no longer using. Many people see their substance of choice as a useful tool, giving them a boost in energy and performance at work. This is another irrational belief, as any intoxicant will negatively impact a person’s decision making, concentration, and ability to process and recall information. The notion that your performance will suffer without drugs or alcohol is your disease of addiction talking, trying to convince you to return to substance abuse rather than continue in sobriety. The best way to confront this irrational belief is by returning to work, as your reality will provide evidence exposing the fallacy of this thought.

Recovery requires us to change our thoughts and beliefs, as those we maintained in active addiction are irrational and serve no purpose other than to undermine our efforts at sobriety. Many people in early sobriety have a great deal of fear and anxiety revolving around the idea of returning to work. You may think your coworkers will look down on you due to your addiction, or that you will no longer be able to perform at work without your substance of choice. These fears are best confronted with hard evidence, and such evidence can be acquired through acting in spite of these fears and returning to work. Facing your fears is an important part of growth in recovery, and returning to work in spite of your fear is an opportunity for growth you should not pass up!

ABOUT EVOLUTIONS TREATMENT Evolutions is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in beautiful South Florida. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment centers around addressing and healing the underlying issues at the root of addiction, rather than merely medicating symptoms away.

Our treatment program includes individual and group-based therapy to help clients understand and manage their symptoms and emotions.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, alcoholism, or any co-occurring disorders please call us at (833) 818-3031 or visit