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Look Out for Addiction to Work

man on couch working

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.

Everyone has fears, but for many in recovery, these fears can hold back progress and cause a lot of worries. When you were using, you probably were able to suppress some of your anxiety. As a person in recovery, however, fears will crop up now and then. Some types of fear are healthy and can be motivated to make a change. For example, if you’re afraid your temper will make you lose a relationship, you might decide to go to anger management classes and learn new coping skills.

Other fears can make you stagnant, however. Some people fear change, for example. They’ll do anything to keep from changing, even when changing would benefit them.

Anyone can change, however, and anyone can learn how to cope with their fears.

Many of these fears are ones that are experienced regularly – and you’ll want to learn how to cope with them. Luckily, as time goes on, you’ll learn to be less frozen by fear and begin to walk through your concerns.


What are some of the most common fears in recovery?


  1. Getting sober: A lot of people fear the “unknown” when it comes to sobriety. Will you be able to cope? Make friends? Will you be bored in recovery? Change is scary, and that’s true for almost everyone. Don’t let these fears get in the way of seeking help. These questions will be answered in time, once you get sober. You’ll probably find that the answers are pleasing.
  2. Fear of failure (or success): A lot of people fear failure because they are worried about what people think. At the same time, others fear success because they’re not sure what it will bring or if it will be satisfying to them. Addiction is a disease. There is no failure or success for the person suffering from it. If you can’t get clean, it’s not that you failed. It’s that you’re sick and the treatment hasn’t “taken” yet. Keep getting help for your illness, just like you would for any other serious disease.
  3. The future: A lot of people fear what tomorrow will bring. Will you be able to live a life free of drugs? Find a job? Live happily? The future can seem like a vague and frighteningly blank canvas. Take life a day at a time while you’re getting sober. Making goals can help with this fear, but your primary goal is to get and stay clean.
  4. Fear of feeling: Emotions can be scary, and when you’ve been using for a while, you may be used to the sense of “numbness.” Getting clean and learning to cope with emotions -not only fear- can be difficult. Being afraid of how you’ll feel is natural. You can’t control your feelings, but you can control how you react to them. When you’re feeling something that scares you, pick up the phone or go to a meeting. Other people can share their experience with coping.
  5. Fear of rejection: What if you change so much that people don’t accept you anymore? Fear of rejection is something everyone has faced. You’re not getting clean and sober for anyone but yourself. People in 12-step meetings are there to help you grow and will lend their support if you need it. All are welcome there! If you face other rejection, your time in treatment will help you learn how to cope with it.


These are just a few of the fears many people face in early recovery. You may have others that crop up along the way. Fear is a universal emotion that you will learn to cope with after you have walked through it a few times. Don’t hesitate to share your worries with others – they, too, have had to face many of them. Although it’s not a “fun” emotion, it is a normal one. If you let it control you, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on a lot of good things in life.


How Sober Living Can Help

In recovery, it’s often said to take things “one day at a time.” This is an excellent mantra to live by, especially when you feel overwhelmed by various emotions. Things will get better, and this too shall pass. A supportive environment can help make things more comfortable when you've started your journey.

Living in a community of supportive peers can help make your recovery journey easier. By the Sea Recovery in San Diego sets the tone for the top recovery houses, offering help with aftercare and day-to-day living in a group setting. Please give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options. All calls are 100% confidential, and we are happy to answer your questions.

Getting clean is a great accomplishment, and there’s a lot to celebrate. Finding a new way of life can be a huge relief for those who have been in the throes of addiction for a while. Staying clean, however, can be hard work. Many people in recovery talk about how they feel about “catching up” with the rest of the world – there’s so much to do! Whether it’s establishing new relationships or starting a new job, there is a lot of work involved. Many recovering addicts throw themselves into this new way of life with great enthusiasm – but it’s easy to get burned out. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to take the time to practice self-care.


Why Self-Care?

A few minutes each day nurturing yourself is an integral part of embracing your new way of life, and it can help you prevent burnout. Self-care is sometimes a foreign concept to people in recovery. After all, you may have spent a lot of time being “selfish” or only caring about what you wanted (such as drugs). It’s important to realize that self-care has nothing to do with being selfish. Instead, it’s a way to take care of your own needs, if only for a few minutes. Self-care can help you ease the stress of life in recovery, allowing you to continue your hard work.


Self-Care Methods You Can Try Anytime:


These are just a few things you can do to help yourself de-stress during an emotionally taxing day or help yourself remain centered. Many other things may help you care for yourself – as long as they don’t hurt you or anyone else, they can be beneficial.

Self-care methods will change as you move along in your recovery and discover new hobbies. The most important aspect of self-care is that it helps you feel better.

Don’t be too hard on yourself in early recovery! You can’t change everything overnight, and no one should expect you to. You’re on a path that will ultimately help you live a sober, serene life. Don’t let anyone steal that joy.

Are you looking for a safe, comfortable, supportive sober living home? Please give us a call at 760-216-2077. We are happy to answer any questions you have. Thanks!

Feelings – we all have them, and we all struggle with them no matter what stage of life we’re experiencing. In early recovery, however, emotions can be overwhelming and frightening. They may seem to come out of nowhere, and you may wonder if you’ll ever feel normal again.

Are These Feelings Normal?

In short, yes! It’s very normal to struggle with your emotions as you get clean and begin a new path to recovery. Many people recovering from addiction experience a broad range of emotions, from intense sadness and anger to even euphoria. Most of these feelings are fleeting, but that doesn’t stop you from reacting to the intensity. After all, what did you previously do when you had an emotion you viewed as negative? You used your drug of choice, most likely.

In fact, many people in recovery will tell you that they didn’t just use when they were sad or angry. They used when they were bored, scared, happy and just about every other emotion on the spectrum. Using drugs or alcohol suppressed these emotions. So it’s natural that these feelings bubble to the surface when you’re first getting clean.

When Feelings Make You Want to Use

The critical thing to remember is that this too shall pass. Emotions are often a trigger that makes people want to get high, but getting high will throw you back into a cycle that can last much longer than the feeling itself. You will end up feeling worse, and you may not be fortunate enough to make it back into recovery for a long time. Remember the reasons you wanted to get clean in the first place. Recovery is worth it.

You don’t have to use drugs to make these feelings go away. Instead, you have the opportunity in recovery to acknowledge these feelings, examine where they come from, and even take actions (like meditation, reading or other types of self-care) that can help those feelings pass more quickly. Most importantly, you don’t have to feel alone with them when they come to the surface. You can share these feelings with your support network, and they can help you learn to cope in more positive ways.

How Long Will This Last?

Emotional up and downs are a regular part of getting clean and sometimes living life itself. These intense emotions may be a roller coaster for the first month or so of being clean. However, some people may have severe mood swings that last longer than this. If this is the case for you or your loved one, it’s essential to get screened for any underlying mental illnesses.

A competent treatment center can help you navigate the storms of early recovery and can refer you to a therapist or psychiatric professional for assessment if needed.

Getting clean isn’t always easy, but there are many rewards.


Are you looking for a safe and supportive sober living option? Please call us at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options. We’re here to help you make the best possible decision for yourself or your loved one.

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