They say “milk: it does a body good”; but, to an addict in recovery, work does a body good. Why? There are many reasons. Probably one of the most important ones is the daily sense of accomplishment. The addict feels like he is making progress.
Because addiction affects the family emotionally, socially, psychologically, physically, and financially there are many benefits to working while in recovery. Let’s discover some:
The addict affects those around him emotionally because of his tendency to bounce from anger to a melancholy isolation. This creates an emotional roller coaster for those around him. At work he is expected to communicate in a healthier way; therefore, he is practicing healthier communication patterns that creates less emotional fluctuation for him and those around him.
An addict tends to isolate himself socially, only choosing to be around those like him. Work allows the addict to interact with others outside of his normal circle. Interacting with others helps him feel less isolated, can help him feel more “normal”, provide the opportunity for a mentor and encouragement, and allow him to practice accepted social behaviors.
In recovery there can be a tendency to blame yourself more as you recognize the hurt you’ve created for others. Being active socially allows you a “normal” daily routine to take your mind off of blaming yourself and taking daily steps to reentering society, making progress, and holding yourself accountable for providing for your family to the best of your ability. These feelings are beneficial to your psychological health. Just a reason to get up in the morning can provide enough encouragement and motivation to allow for healing.
How can work help you physically unless you are a construction worker or perform other types of labor-intensive work? Before you even arrive at work, you are probably taking better care of yourself physically. You have brushed your hair and your teeth, you have showered, and you may have eaten breakfast. Before you were only thinking about that first drink (maybe after that first cup of coffee). These small steps are giant steps toward becoming physically healthy.
And last, but not least, you are becoming financially healthier in recovery. Do you remember when you first started smoking (insert your addiction here)? That one pack of cigarettes cost you $5 a day. Now you are smoking 3 packs a day ($15. I know, you are thinking that’s no big deal)! Over the course of a year you are spending a whopping $5475! The last time your wife mentioned taking the kids to (that favorite vacation spot, perhaps Disney) you replied that we don’t have the money. In addition, your health insurance went up…..again, you are taking more medication, your life insurance went up, and remember the last time you called into work sick? You took an unpaid absence because all your sick leave was used up. Having a job allows you to feel like you are contributing to the healing process for some of the financial stress your family has been under due to your addiction.
Work…it definitely does the recovering addict good! Take a small step forward today.