After completing substance abuse rehabilitation, Per Wickstrom went on to build a successful career as an entrepreneur. In this interview, he shares his tips and techniques for restarting your career after treatment.
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Is it difficult to revive your career after rehab?
From personal experience, I know that it is difficult and unhealthy to maintain a career while you are struggling with addiction. So, comparatively, restarting a career with sobriety and a positive outlook is much easier. As an addict, it may have been hard to get to work on time, remain presentable, and focus on your assigned tasks. As a recovering addict, you will have regained your health, making work responsibilities much clearer.
Though you have taken time off, remember that it was necessary for your health. Your workplace and your career will benefit from the positive changes you have made in your life. So, while you may feel left out or behind on work after rehab, just imagine the negative turn your career would have taken if you hadn’t gotten help for your addiction.
What tips do you have for recovering addicts who begin working again?
Most importantly, keep in mind that your time in recovery was a benefit to both you and your workplace. With that mindset, you can step back into the office with a clear conscience. Don’t concern yourself with what coworkers might think, just do your best to reintegrate into your daily routine.
It may be beneficial for you to speak with your supervisor about what occurred while you were in recovery. Once you feel caught up, you can begin to set goals for yourself. Start out slow, so as to not overwhelm yourself. Just focus on one task at a time until you feel comfortable. Once you adjust, if you feel capable of taking on more work, speak to your supervisor about increasing your workload.
It is important, however, that you don’t try to make up for lost time. Don’t feel pressure to prove yourself, this can only lead to a dangerous burnout. So, take your time and complete your tasks to the best of your ability. Your hard work will pay off without you needing to spend every waking moment in the office. If applicable, meet with other team members to ensure that you are all on the same track. Not only will this help you improve your quality of work, it will also allow you to reintegrate with your coworkers on a healthy level.
If your career path provides opportunity for growth, take the opening only when you feel fully prepared. If not, do what it takes to prepare yourself for opportunities that may present themselves in the future. To prepare yourself mentally, ensure that you continue to attend aftercare programs and counseling sessions. To prepare yourself academically, do your research, brush up on the topic, or even enroll in a class on the subject. For example, if you want to move up to management, try a few business courses at a local community college.
While the prospect of returning to work may seem overwhelming or stressful, it is important to remember that getting help was a necessary step in your life. Without the assistance of a rehabilitation program, your chances of a successful career were slim. Now, you have the proper tools to continue on the path to a happy, healthy, and sober lifestyle, both at home and in the office.
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Michelle Peterson is a proud recovering addict. She is fighting to eliminate the stigma against those who suffer from or have suffered from substance abuse and addiction. She created RecoveryPride.org to spread messages of hope and help to those in recovery, those wishing to be in recovery, and their loved ones. When she isn’t building the site, she enjoys running and crafting.