Why Your Career Can Still Bounce Back in Recovery

Home | Why Your Career Can Still Bounce Back in Recovery

It’s no secret: the American economy sustains repeated hits due to drug and alcohol abuse.  Traffic fatalities, lower productivity at work, rising insurance premiums, and more can be attributed to the effects of substance use disorder (SUD) in the workforce. At the same time, stress from work overload or job insecurity can contribute to substance use. And there’s no question that addiction can kill a person’s career. 

It can be scary to enter addiction treatment when you have lost your job and have to enter the job market after treatment ends. Or maybe you’ll be able to return to your workplace but worry about the stresses that will bring or how you might be stigmatized by your supervisor and coworkers. It can all seem pretty bleak—but there is good news: recovery can be a good time to reevaluate what you want and put yourself on a path toward accomplishing career goals

Mental Health Support at Work

At St. Gregory, our residents and outpatient clients are seeing more frequently that employers are more than willing to accommodate their recovery needs. More businesses are actively searching for ways to support employees who return to work after entering treatment for substance use disorder

At a systemic level, larger entities and social programs are exploring the idea of offering benefit packages for employees that address their mental health and emotional needs. Employers are starting to understand how their employees’ work can be affected by a whole range of life circumstances: 

  • Stressful home environments
  • Anxiety or depression disorders
  • Experiences with domestic violence 
  • Grief and loss 
  • Poor physical health/chronic pain
  • Substance abuse

In addition, it’s quite possible that your job may be protected under the FMLA and ADA so that you can return to it after getting addiction treatment. If you’re struggling with substance use disorder, know that it’s never too late to enter recovery and pursue your dreams.

Return-to-Work Agreements

Many employers create and share a return-to-work agreement (RTWA) with employees who have successfully completed treatment programs. In fact, it’s a process that the U.S. Department of Labor highly recommends before any staff member heads back onto payroll. The purpose of the document is to clearly outline workplace expectations and boundaries. The guidelines are typically quite reasonable and support a drug-free workplace. It’s possible that failing to comply with the guidelines can result in being fired. However, the RTWA is a standard safeguarding procedure that is both professional and non-discriminatory. 

Your boss may provide you with a return-to-work plan that caters to you and your recovery. This can include temporary flexibility in work hours and scheduling or mandated check-ins with your HR department, a superior, or the boss themselves. You might also see an attempt to reintegrate you into the office. This may look like pairing you up with another colleague for certain tasks or placing a team at your disposal for support. 

Undoubtedly, the adjustment can be tricky when you first head back to work. That’s why St. Gregory provides resources and programs that offer added layers of emotional and logistical support.  

Intensive Outpatient Programs For Transitioning Back to Work in Des Moines

If you didn’t require detox services or have already completed residential treatment, our intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a fantastic support system to utilize as you reintegrate into daily sober life. The program is designed to support you with a network of health experts and peers while you navigate cravings, manage stress, and communicate with family, friends, and coworkers about your recovery. We also offer ongoing support for our residential graduates via recovery coaching.

In both programs, we focus on talking through, reinforcing, and celebrating as we put into practice what was learned in residential treatment and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). With changing times, empathetic perspectives, and our IOP, nothing is stopping you from thriving as you return to your job or career.   

Allow St. Gregory Recovery Center To Support Your Return to the Workplace

You’ve come a long way, and there’s no doubt that you deserve the opportunity and the challenge to head back to work with confidence and dignity. You’re not the first person in the world or at your business establishment to struggle with addiction, and St. Gregory is here for you. Contact us today at either of our centers in Des Moines or Bayard to learn about the resources and rights available to you in the workplace. 

Our graduates tell their stories…

When first arriving at St. Gregory I had mixed feelings about the health and wellness workouts. I came in at 136 lbs and didn’t think it was possible to reach...
- Chris
The good life is not merely a life free from addictions, physical and/or psychological—addictions that usually are the outward manifestations of deeper problems—but a life lived in harmonious balance, free...
- Matt
I came to St. Gregory’s at my all-time worst—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Having gone through a bad rehab experience once before, I had been very reluctant in succumbing to that...
- CJ
No matter where I start my thought process when reflecting upon my time before, during and after St. Gregory’s, I always seem to end up in the same place in...
- Kaele


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