Working While in Recovery: Can it be done?
The short answer is – it depends. Since there are different stages of recovery, let’s focus on which stage of recovery is most conducive to working while in recovery.
First, let’s quickly cover the stages of recovery:
Rehab/Detox – The first step on the recovery journey is purging the toxins from one’s body. This means in-patient rehab (aka “detox”) During this stage, you’re eseentially in a facility, under 24 hour supervision. Obviously, this means that you can’t leave (or shouldn’t leave).
PHP or “Partial Hospitalization Program” – This program is for people who will spend part of their time under close supervision in a hospital setting, but will have some freedom to travel to and from counseling sessions. If your treatment facility allows it, you should consider working while in recovery.
IOP or “Intensive Outpatient Program” – This program is for someone who’s an outpatient, meaning that they sleep somewhere else, but that their days are largely made up of counseling sessions. Again, if your treatment facility allows it, you should consider working while in recovery. Know the differences.
Sober Living – This used to be called a “halfway house” but that term has long since been abandoned for anything other than ex-convicts looking to rebuild their lives. Sober living homes are like dormitories. People rent a room or, to save money, share a room, with other patients in the advanced stages of recovery. As outpatient homes, residents have more freedom to come and go and will generally structure ther day around counseling sessions, work and/or school. This is the phase during which it’s most appropriate to start thinking about getting back to work.
For starters, the safe haven of a sober living home (or any outpatient treatment program) provides the perfect backdrop against which residents can start slowly seguing back into functioning normally. Going back to school or taking a job is almost always encouraged.
Second, at this later stage of recovery, most health insurance plans will have run out meaning that you’re paying for continuing care out of your own pocket. Working while in recovery will help cover the costs of treatment programs such as sober living homes.
Besides the advantage of earning a wage at a much-needed time, there are many other advantages to working while in recovery including;
Remember to approach this in a healthy manner
While you’re making your daily to-do lists, securing help and assistance from others as needed, spending quality time with your family doing fun things, it’s also important that you pay attention to the basics. The human body doesn’t run on good intentions alone. So before you go off and start a new job, remember to pay attention to your nutrition.
- You need to prepare for work and refuel at regular intervals by eating well-balanced, healthy meals.
- You need to get an adequate amount of sleep each night – the average adult requires between 8 and 9 hours of sleep nightly – allowing your body to restore and revitalize.
- Be sure to drink plenty of water during the day. Rehydration is an excellent way to maintain sufficient bodily fluids and keep stress in check.
- Take appropriate vitamins and supplements.
- If you are on medication, take it as prescribed – especially if the medication is for a chronic condition or is part of your recovery program.
If you’re consider working while in recovery, talk to your addiction treatment case manager and anyone else whom you might feel is qualified to give you advice. Doing so will allow you to understand what you’re facing and to reconfirm that your support network has your back.