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Look Out for Addiction to Work

Today, work or how you make a living is one of the things American culture values. Men especially are told that they are their work, while women try to balance their ambition with their family goals. Any work problems and goals may cause self-esteem issues for people who are ambitious. Addiction to work is common among people in recovery as well as others who are not.

In recovery, there is sometimes a complicated relationship with work. If you’re still in a career you love, you may feel you have to make up for time lost to addiction. Other people in recovery choose to start new jobs or careers. Either way, there is often a feeling of “not being good enough” when a person in recovery returns to the workplace. This is one gateway to addiction to work.

Overworking or working more than forty hours a week on a regular basis can cause you problems in your recovery. You need to remember to focus on yourself and working your program.

Why Do You Need Work-Life Balance?

As a person in recovery, a work/life balance is important. Without your sobriety, you won’t be able to keep a job or excel in your career for long, anyway. In early recovery, you will still be working on personal issues and relationships.  Working too much or all the time can harm your progress immensely and keep your focus away from your recovery, which can lead to relapse.

Working an assigned set of hours and keeping to those hours only can be the solution to balance in some industries such as hospitality. However, some people who work in office settings allow themselves to be tethered to their jobs through devices, checking email on their days off or working every day of the week.

Working more than 40 hours a week is the standard because more hours are simply unhealthy for your body. Your mind and spirit also need a break to spend time nurturing your relationships, going to 12-step meetings, and getting the proper amount of sleep.

Addiction to Work is a Real Thing

Working too much can be an addiction. If you’re using work to distract yourself from your friends, family, and home life, that’s a problem. Avoiding something doesn’t make it go away, and overworking yourself can cause you a lot of stress. You may work so much you forget to eat, sleep or hydrate properly. You may find yourself canceling important events like watching your kid at a play or going to a family get together. Putting your work before your recovery can cause you problems.

All of the same behaviors – such as lying, manipulating, and avoiding life on life’s terms can start to emerge when you’re using work as an escape from life. You may make excuses to work when you don't need to. You may sacrifice relationships or responsibilities to spend more time working.

Working like this isolates you. You may forget some of your recovery basics or feel triggered to use your drug of choice because work stresses you out.

Addiction to work can be serious, but it is treatable just like any addiction. First, admit you're powerless. Ask for help from somebody you trust in recovery.

Staying Focused on Recovery

Staying focused on recovery can help you keep a healthy work-life balance. If you’re already “in too deep” you may need help moderating the amount of time you work and sticking to a structured schedule. Addiction to work can be stopped in its tracks if you commit to putting your recovery first in your life again.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to others if you find yourself working as an escape. It’s not uncommon for people in recovery to pick up a new addiction.

Just recognize it for what it is, and reach out to your sponsor and others who can help you reclaim a balance on your work versus home life. You’re powerless over your addiction, but you’re responsible for your recovery. It’s okay to ask for help reclaiming your free time if your work life is getting out of hand.

Consider Sober Living

Many people in early recovery want a healthy transition when they’re going back to the “real world”. Sober living homes offer a place of safety and support. Sober Living San Diego offers structure, security and sobriety tools for residents making their way through their recovery journey. Learn more about what we offer at 760-216-2077.



Read Full Bio
Mark Gladden
CEO / Founder
Mark Gladden is the founder of By The Sea Recovery, a sober living facility located in beautiful San Diego, California. After struggling with addiction, Mark finally found recovery and a new purpose in life, to help others who are battling the same battle he faced.
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