Rebuilding Your Life in Recovery: Part 1

Rebuilding Your Life in Recovery: Improving Your Work Ethic

photo of deskReturning to the workplace after rehab can often be a scary transition. We worry about what people will think, what they know about where we were, and whether we will be judged.  The reality is that re-entering the workplace is a vital piece of recovery as we navigate life again outside of our engagement with addictive behaviors.  While this can be an exciting step it can also be nerve wracking. Going back to work requires us to comply with structure, accountability, socializing with others and daily mental stimulation.  Working allows for us to access areas of creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and building relationships. This can be a very positive outlet as we transition out of treatment and back into life’s responsibilities.

Here are 3 skills we can develop that will improve our work ethic:

  1. Communication: No matter what stage of re-entering the workplace you are in, you will be required to communicate effectively. It may be inquiring about job openings, interviewing, training or engaging in teamwork. Communicating effectively allows for us to share, grow and connect with team members and co-workers.  When communicating verbally, it is important to remember to use consistent eye contact, speak clearly and be aware of body language. Closed arms or lack of eye contact may give the non-verbal feedback that we are not welcoming open communication at the time. The more we practice open communication, both verbal and non-verbal, the better we will become at communicating.
  1. Leadership: Leaders typically are perceived as strong and confident people. Growing in our leadership allows for us to simultaneously grow in our social skills. It requires us to work in a group effectively, to problem solve collectively, and to engage in a manner that is useful to the project, team or job. The latest QS recruitment survey (2010) lists the four most important skills sought by executive level recruiters as interpersonal skills, communication skills, strategic thinking, and leadership
  1. Assertiveness: Assertiveness is a trait commonly referred to in a social or relational setting. Being assertive means the ability to stand up for your own beliefs or rights in a calm and communicative way that doesn’t involve becoming aggressive or passively accepting unjust responsibility. Learning to be assertive will help us to be heard while honoring our own beliefs and rights.  Being assertive is not always comfortable, but when we can assert ourselves to others we can begin to grow and challenge ourselves in new situations.

Throughout this transition it is important we remain patient. We are entering a new chapter that will call on us to use many of the tools acquired in recovery.  This is a process. We won’t be able to jump back into the swing of things without patience and learning.  Find a support system, whether that is a friend, a therapist or a trusted group that can help support you, and give constructive feedback as you continue to grow yourself personally and emotionally in recovery.  It is ok to ask for help and turn to others when in need. We all have room for improvement; you are not alone in this process.  These moments of challenge often prove to be our biggest growing opportunities.