Addiction interferes with practically every single aspect of your life. From relationships to your physical and mental health. Often times, addiction can also cause problems in your workplace. I was an alcoholic and drug addict for many years. I can testify that my professional life was affected by my addiction. Some people fail to realize that addiction does not discriminate.
I started experimenting with alcohol when I was only 9 years old. My drug abuse problems began when I was a teenager. As a result of my substance abuse: My grades dropped dramatically, my relationship with my siblings and my parents suffered, any my attitude and irritability got pretty bad. I even started suffering from insomnia, anxiety and depression.
All of this only got worse as the years went by and I kept abusing. I ended up getting sentenced to two years in prison for drug-related charges. It was only then that I realized how big of a problem I had so I decided to get clean.
As soon as I got out of prison I checked into a rehabilitation center where I got treatment for my addiction. As a part of the treatment I attended therapy, and in some sessions we talked about what I would do after I got out of rehab. I didn’t have a clue. I wasn’t trained in any specific field. I didn’t go to college and I barely graduated from high school. My therapist suggested I take some classes at a local community college, so, when I finished my treatment, I enrolled in an html course. I really enjoyed learning about html.I kept taking classes on the subject and ended up learning about business as well.
Flash forward to today, almost a decade later, I own a website development company. I’m successful, sober, and happy. It hasn’t been easy to build and run a company while still battling to stay sober. There is no cure for addiction.We struggle with temptation every single day. I’ve managed to do it and be successful at it. After everything that I’ve been through to reach the point i’m in today, I came up with some tips I’ve learned over the years on how to maintain your focus at work during recovery.
- Get Your Priorities Straight
While having a job that can give you financial stability is important,it shouldn’t be your number one priority. Giving all your time, thoughts and energy to your work and not leaving space for anything else can lead to severe consequences. This is why coming up with a self improvement plan is crucial.
The first job I got after getting out of rehab was selling perfume. I got really good at sales really fast, but I was working so hard it started taking a toll on my health. My anxiety and depression came back, and it almost led me to relapse. Luckily, I realized I had to make a change before things got out of hand.
You might feel like finding financial stability should be your main goal right now, but, in my opinion, being healthy, happy, and having good relationships with those around you is far more important.
- Look For Help and Support
Recovery isn’t something you should go through alone. Getting support from family and friends is essential.You can also ask for help and support from your employers. This can be fundamental in staying focused at work during this very hard time. You can find information about Employee Assistance Programs which usually cover going to rehab. You should also research about the legal protection you can have in terms of keeping your job while you’re in rehabilitation.
I didn’t know about these programs while I was an employee, but now that I’ve become the employer, I make sure my employees have all the support they need in case one of them ever needs any kind of assistance or help.
- Keep Attending Meetings and/or Therapy
If you’ve already finished treatment, you probably already know that it doesn’t end there. It’s fundamental you keep going to meetings and therapy. Having the support Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous provides can help you drastically at work as well as your daily life. In my experience, it was those meetings that helped me the most when I was feeling overwhelmed and low on energy at work. Being able to share how I was feeling and getting advice and support from people that understood exactly what I was going through gave me the strength I needed to keep going.
- Stay Healthy
As I mentioned before, not taking care of my mental health during work almost led me to relapse. Being healthy doesn’t mean not suffering from any illnesses, it means leading a lifestyle that allows your body to function correctly. Without this, it’s almost impossible to concentrate on anything, let alone focus on work while also focusing on staying sober.
Drug and alcohol abuse can cause a lot of damage to your body. Now it’s your chance to treat it right and make up for some of it. This means exercising regularly, cutting on junk food and sugar and eating more fruits and leafy greens. You should also make sure you get periodic medical check ups. Taking care of your mental health is just as important. A great way of working on your mental health is through meditation.Anyone can do it and it can really make a difference by reducing your anxiety and stress.
- Do Something You Love
At the end of the day, if you’re not motivated to do something it’s hard to actually focus on it and give it your 100%. The best way to always stay motivated is by doing something you love.
Thanks to those classes I took after rehab I found my passion. If I hadn’t had the anxiety and depression episode that almost led me to relapse at my old work, I wouldn’t have realized the importance of loving what you do.
It was this wake up call that helped me decide to start my own business. I finally had the chance to do something I was really passionate about. Even though it hasn’t been an easy journey, starting my own business made me happy from day one. So I encourage you to find something you love, and you’ll never feel like you’re working.
Maintaining focus on work can be hard enough without having to worry about addiction and recovery. Setting your priorities, asking for help, attending meetings and therapy, taking care of your health and doing something you really love can make this process a lot easier.
RD Neha Kava
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