Balancing Addiction Recovery and Remote Work
The social stigma of being in recovery is beginning to be stripped away in our modern age, with encouragement and support taking the place of judgment and criticism. This is not only conducive to those in recovery but also empowers others to consider their own predilections towards addiction and how they may manifest through the substances we use. Although those in recovery, especially during this pandemic, may still be struggling with certain aspects of their new daily life. Balancing addiction recovery and remote work can pose an added to challenge to the already challenging pandemic.
The swiftness in which remote working has been implemented worldwide has had a holistic effect on life itself. With famous reports of nature returning or reclaiming parts of our towns, and emissions noticeably lowered by the lack of daily commutes in cities. However, remote work has also brought a range of new challenges for both employees, especially those in recovery.
As a provider of intervention services VA, we would like to share some tips on how you can balance your recovery and remote work after you’ve done the hard yards.
When to Start
Recovery from addiction is an intense process that will consume much of your time and energy for several weeks to months, depending on the length of your substance abuse. While remote work may allow you to start making money again, it’s important to consider when is the best time to start.
Starting a job after not working for some time can be stressful in itself, and doing so during your first year sober can potentially be catastrophic and turn into a trigger that leads you to turn back to the substance. Whether you’ve been through our intervention services VA, or attended our inpatient or outpatient programs, be sure to speak with one of our team members about when it’s sufficient to go back to work. Everyone has their own individual needs, so seeking this advice can help ensure the efficacy of your efforts.
Remove Any Triggers
Before you even start working you should look at the space you will dedicate for work, and optimize it for your personal needs. With the way our attention works, seemingly innocuous objects can actually trigger desire within us and torment us, especially while we’re in recovery.
Be sure to remove any and all of the following from your work space:
- Any substances, especially those which you were addicted to – this could be alcohol, cannabis, or even pain or anxiety medication
- Posters which depict any substance use – even if they show a different substance to what you were addicted to, the idea of using any substance can be triggering in itself
- Music which reminds you of your substance abuse – again these can have a subliminal impact on our minds and tend to make us reminisce about the substance, forgetting the harm it caused us
- Ornamental beer, shot, or wine glasses – especially triggering to alcoholics, can also be triggering to those addicted to other substances due to association
These are simply the triggers that exist in your office space, the same can apply to the rest of your house and life. Even watching television shows which depict substance use can be triggering, so be mindful of what you watch after work.
Maintain Healthy Social Communication
This is arguably as important as removing triggers, as often it’s in the throes of loneliness that we give ourselves ample reason to relapse. As with physical triggers though, some people may simply be too associated with substances for you to communicate with without rekindling the desire to abuse.
Instead, try to keep in communication with people who aren’t necessarily associated with your substance use. If this proves difficult, you may consider joining a locally-based Facebook group of people in recovery to share thoughts and feelings with others in a similar position.
Create a Flexible but Productive Schedule
Despite our best efforts, some days we will be more haunted by our addiction than others, that may be for a specific reason, or no reason at all. Acknowledging this before you start is important, as it allows you to build a schedule that gives you space on your down days. As remote work is still remarkably new to most people, employers will offer a grace period in which their employees can find their feet. Utilize this time to figure out when you are most productive, and give yourself plenty of other tasks to break up work throughout the day.
Try build a schedule that includes the opportunity for productive breaks such as:
- Walking the dog or simply going for a walk – a tried-and-true method for breaking the monotony and refreshing the mind
- Household chores – all at once they can be time-intensive, but individual chores can be a great way to have a break and still achieve something
- Quick workout and a shower – exercise is great for mental and physical health and is often recommended during recovery
Recovery Care Partner: Consulting about Addiction Recovery and Remote Work
Recovery is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges that many addicts will face in their lives, although it’s also one of the noblest battles. It is our job to continue to evolve our approaches and understandings of the daily struggles people who suffer from SUDs go through. If you have a friend or family member who is struggling with a substance use disorder, consider contacting us about our intervention services VA. Not only can we help them to stop using that substance, but we hope to give them the means to start living a more fulfilling life.