Maintaining Your Professional Career After Rehab

This is a guest blog from Amber Ramsey for #YesSheCan

Returning to work after getting support for addiction is a huge stepping stone for recovery! But for those with the motivation to seek help for substance abuse, entering recovery can be challenging – but so can returning to work. Luckily, with motivation, support and work, your dreams can still become a reality. In this #YesSheCan guest blog, we talk about how you can keep going in your professional career after rehab and gives advice to leaders who want to help their employees. 

Finding The Help You Need

Work challenges that can lead to substance abuse can also come from peer pressure, a lack of coping skills and the cycle of use and abuse in addition to stress. Things like breathing exercises and avoiding personal triggers can help you better manage your stress.

Additionally, you can set up a small meditation space in your home to help you focus and unwind after a long day. Addressing these core issues and developing healthy habits and routines is essential for re-acclimating to work.

Many firms offer employee assistance programs that can help with treatment as well. Review your company’s policies and culture. Has your company posted any standards for helping valued employees overcome their addictions? What is management’s outlook and policy for those in treatment? Take a look and see if your company’s policies match these ideas.

Alcohol In The Workplace: Changing Peer Pressure

Alcohol has been an ingrained part of workplace culture for a long time. Whether it’s going out for drinks after work or leadership having nice scotch in their offices, there’s an air of acceptability and even expectation surrounding work-related drinking.

The BBC reports that 86% of those surveyed felt there was an expectation for them to drinkat private-sector work events. In fact, while many co-workers bond at a local bar or restaurant over a few drinks, some places of business have workday happy hours, keep beer in their office kitchens and promote alcohol-based activities.

In fact, people who may have a problem are not just those defined as alcoholics. Even if you are not physically addicted, you still may have experienced severe consequences or other problematic actions associated with drinking, like unrestrained behaviours, DUIs or blackouts. And according to JDP, workplace drinking can lead to poor employee performanceand attitudes and discomfort for non–drinkers in your office.

Networking can be a major aspect of your job, especially if you are trying to move up professionally. These events often have alcohol, and you may feel the pressure to drink. However, it’s important to stay focused on your personal and professional goals.

Many employees also feel that grabbing a drink after work with their co-workers helps them unwind and strengthens their work relationships. Unfortunately, this can be a slippery slope to substance abuse if done too often. While you can opt out of these, it may leave you out of the loop in your career.

Setting Boundaries At Work

How can you stay up to date with your colleagues and avoid the temptation to drink? Once you return to work, you’ll need to set boundaries. Here are some things you can do:

  • Communicate with your co-workers. Being honest is a risk but it also might encourage someone else with a substance use problem to seek help. It also will prevent people from twisting your arm to go drinking.
  • Find others who don’t drink in your group. You can easily spot the people ordering water or soda at open bar events and outings. Some quickly admit they don’t drink, but don’t assume they are in recovery. There are many reasons people avoid alcohol altogether.
  • Psych Central writes that work trips and outings will tempt you to revert to bad behaviors. They advise, “It’s easy to think home rules don’t apply when in Vegas at the annual convention, but let me assure you, this is when you must be super-vigilant. Plan in advance to attend local meetings; stay in close contact with your sponsor and other members of AA.“
  • If you’re feeling tense at work, remember to practice self-care. This can make a world of difference in relation to your stress levels.


According to Slate, some industries seem to go hand-in-hand with drinking, such as advertising, finance, politics and new tech companies. Ian Mirmelstein, an advertising executive formed Sober Executives in Advertising, Media & Marketing (SEAM) in 2017, to support sobriety in these industries. SEAM offers activities like alcohol-free happy hours. Look for these groups or form a meet-up of your own.

Set Goals that Will Lead to Success

Stress in the workplace can lead to substance abuse problems. Getting the help you need is critical for your career. When you return to work, a little faith and setting boundaries and continuing support can help you succeed.

Amber Ramsey is a career woman who got her start in the corporate world. Her fire, spirit, and creativity weren’t something that could be contained, and she found she was better suited to the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Read more about her work at

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