Discussing Recovery in the Workplace

Sep 22, 2023

Knowing how to speak about your experience with addiction recovery in the workplace may be an important skill. Although addiction does not define who you are, as alumni it is part of your past. Re-entering the workplace after treatment can be a tough transition for some. Your experience with recovery and sobriety is important and can be worth sharing with others for a number of reasons. Talking about your recovery in the workplace can be one way you advocate for yourself. It can feel difficult to know when or how to discuss recovery in the workplace or to ask for support once you’ve returned, but there are ways you can do so appropriately.

Discussing Recovery in the Workplace

As an alumnus, you have put in tremendous work toward recovery and sobriety. This life-changing achievement is commendable. As you now transition back into work after treatment, you may find yourself in the position to speak about your recovery. There is a time and place for important conversations to be had. While in treatment at Renaissance Ranch, you were surrounded by people who understood your struggles. It may be intimidating to then interact with co-workers who may not be as familiar with addiction and sobriety. 

Your sobriety is vital to your health and well-being. Returning to work after treatment is a reasonable goal to have in place. We want to empower the men we help. This includes assisting with transitioning back to work. Making sure the people in your workplace are aware of your sobriety could be helpful. For alumni who had to take time off of work for their treatment, it could feel uncomfortable to ease back into socializing within the workplace. There are options to help make this transition easier for you. Remaining transparent about why you were absent from work could be important. There is no shame in needing help and when we hide or avoid the truth, shame can fester. 

After treatment with us at Renaissance Ranch, it is essential to slowly integrate back into life outside of treatment. In treatment, you learned about yourself in new ways and discovered you are capable and deserving of recovery. This remains to be valid outside of treatment. Adjusting to life again could seem scary or difficult. Some tips for making that adjustment easier could include creating a schedule for yourself. Setting reasonable goals could also be helpful as it could give you something to look forward to. 

Your Rights in the Workplace

Returning to the workplace after treatment for any addiction may seem overwhelming. It is crucial that you are aware of your rights in the workplace. A business can not terminate your job because you needed treatment unless there is a safety risk. Jobs must provide accommodations to you as well so you can effectively perform your job duties. Remaining honest about what accommodations you need can be helpful. 

Speaking about your recovery or sobriety should not jeopardize your job. In fact, it may be helpful to you to be open and honest about your sobriety. This can give co-workers the opportunity to support any additional needs you may have. Anyone who has sought out treatment for addiction deserves to advocate for themselves. Advocacy can feel foreign to some individuals. Some may even question if they are deserving of extended support in the workplace. The more you advocate for yourself, the easier it should become over time. 

The United States has the FMLA, or Family and Medical Leave Act, implemented for most employers and their employees. This is important to be aware of for any individual who needed to take a leave of absence from work in order to get the necessary treatment. Taking a leave of absence should not affect your job status as the FMLA protects eligible individuals.

Discussing Your Recovery With Coworkers

Speaking with co-workers about your recovery could seem daunting. Remember there is no shame in getting help for addiction. One example in which you can talk about your recovery in the workplace could include being honest about having been to treatment. This could open up the conversation and allow you to answer any questions. It is not unprofessional to inform co-workers and your boss of your recovery. 

While in treatment, you were well supported. Having continued support after treatment is vital to recovery. Allowing your co-workers and even your boss to be part of your support system could be beneficial. Your co-workers do not necessarily need to know all of the details of your addiction or recovery. We suggest you share to any degree you are comfortable with. Keeping your support system aware of your needs in the workplace is important. It creates an additional safe space where good communication is ongoing. 

Returning to the workplace after treatment is a feasible goal for many alumni. It is essential you are aware of your rights within the workplace and that you advocate for yourself when necessary. Receiving treatment for addiction is brave and sharing your experience could benefit you. Being honest about the accommodations you need is one way you can advocate for yourself as you continue on your recovery journey. We understand having a career is important to many of the men we help. Recovery and sobriety are vital to your well-being and we want to continue to support you after treatment. Please call (801) 308-8898 for more information on how we can help you transition back to work.