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The process of getting sober and journeying through recovery yields a lot of amazing and new experiences. We find that our friends and loved ones trust us more. We have more free time for hobbies and activities. We also will still have some type of employment, either the position we had during our active addiction, or we may seek new employment now that we are sober.

For most people, employment is an important part of successful living. We need the money to pay bills, buy necessities, buy fun things, take care of our family, and fund leisure-time activities. For most of us, working is not an option but is something that we have to do. As we journey through recovery, we may find our feelings toward our employment changing. Others around us will probably witness our change or transformation. We will have a clearer mind, calmer body, and refocused goals, to name just a few positive changes. However, some of us hold pretty high-level, high-stress positions. Stress can cause relapse in many individuals. So what do we do if we find ourselves in a position with a high-stress level? 

Stress in the Workplace

Every single job has some form of stress. In a sales job, there is the pressure of closing the deal. You probably have target goals that you need to hit every month. Those goals can cause a lot of pressure, can make you compare yourself to others, or require that you work extreme hours. Other employment may be stressful because of its fast-paced nature. Maybe you work in the food industry, where you are expected to cook at a fast pace but still make every food item perfectly. Or maybe you wait on tables at a fancy restaurant, and you need to get every order perfect, remain calm, and greet every table in a gracious and inviting manner. That can feel overwhelming even to someone who has been doing it for years. 

Working with Others

Now that you are living a sober lifestyle and journeying through recovery, you will probably notice those around you far more than you did before. As much as we all want to say that other people do not affect us, the truth is we are all affected by those around us. Other people’s moods, actions, and choices can have an impact on us in some form. There is a good chance you will be working with people who are not sober. Understanding your comfort level and your limit will help you to not place yourself in uncomfortable or dangerous situations. You will probably not tell everyone about your past addiction or current sobriety journey. This means that other people will not know your situation or your comfort level unless you tell them. Think about how much, if anything, you want to share with coworkers. Then simply think through situations before placing yourself in them. 

Understanding Your Limits

Everyone has a different tolerance to stress and anxiety. The level of stress that you can manage to get through will be different than how much a co-worker can handle during a normal workday. Understanding your limits is key to success. For some people, pushing yourself too far can result in relapse or increased mental health struggles. A great way to really think through the decision of staying in your employment or seeking a new position would be to talk the situation through with a family member, friend, or sponsor. Other people will be able to give you an outsider’s opinion of the situation. Every position or job you take will have some sort of stress level. Understanding what is making you stressed, and what you can do to change it, is something that you want to thoroughly consider. 

You may find that the stress you are feeling is actually more associated with an internal mental health struggle or past trauma and not necessarily the job. Working through and analyzing your feelings is an integral part of the recovery process. We cannot make informed decisions without fully understanding our own feelings. Our employment can sometimes be tricky to analyze, because, simply put, we do not always like our job. Understanding how our job is affecting our sobriety, however, is important and should be separated from our basic feelings of if we enjoy our job. If our employment is causing temptation, extreme stress or anxiety, or other strong emotions, then it may be right to consider looking for new employment. Or it may be that taking the time to change or work on what is causing the stress may be an option. Talk openly with your supervisor or manager about how you are feeling. They may be able to help. 

Every place of employment has some level of stress. Whether you have lofty goals, a fast pace, or challenging coworkers, you will probably find that at least some of your days are filled with stress or anxiety. For those of us journeying through recovery, extra stress or anxiety can be dangerous. The added pressure may make us want to turn back to our addictions or may heighten our mental health struggles. Learning to understand our thoughts and feelings will help you to know when you are nearing your limit. Sometimes it can be hard to analyze your situation by yourself and to know what the best or healthiest decision would be. Here at The Guest House we understand that you will be facing many challenges and questions as you journey through recovery. We are here to help you at any stage, with any struggle. Call us today to learn how we can help you at (855) 483-7800.