I have made a complete 180 in my life. Just last year I was homeless, jobless, and alone. I was addicted to painkillers, heroin, and methamphetamine. I drank all day and night long and begged for money on street corners. I hadn’t seen my family for years. Then my brother reached out to me and told me his wife was pregnant with my nephew. He told me that he wanted me to be a part of the child’s life, but not if I wasn’t clean. So I changed. My brother helped me enroll in a rehab treatment facility where I detoxed completely of all harmful substances.
It took over six months, but eventually I made it back onto my feet. I got an entry level job at a great company and I started dating again. Just last week, I got my first promotion! My new boss has really taken me under his wing and I feel like we are beginning to form a strong friendship.
With the huge workload that has come along with my new position, I haven’t had any free time. But my boss just sent me an email saying we are going out for drinks after work on Friday, no matter what. Even if I make up an excuse to miss it, I won’t be able to avoid him forever. And I really like the guy and I feel as though my career could really benefit from hanging out with the boss after hours.
I am terrified. I have not touched alcohol since the day I found out about my nephew. I am afraid that I am going to relapse in front of my boss, and ruin my job and life. I do not want to destroy everything I have worked so hard to rebuild. But I know that if I even go near a bar, I will revert back to my old self. What are some ways that I can work towards preventing a relapse, but still go out with my boss?
“Boss’s new buddy”
Relapse triggers and coping skills
Dear “Boss’s new buddy,”
Often our bosses will reach out to lower employees because they want to show you that they are human, just like you. Being honest with your boss can show that have made mistakes, but that you are strong enough to move past those previous errors and create a better life for yourself.
Let your boss know that you are in recovery. You do not need to give him all the dirty details, just tell him that you have struggled with substance abuse issues in the past, and that you think it’s best to go somewhere where you will not be tempted. Your boss will most likely respect you for having the strength to admit when you cannot handle a situation. He is not going to just ditch you as a friend or employee because you do not drink.
Relapse triggers are everywhere, and it is going to be very hard to avoid them. It is better to live your life implementing relapse prevention coping skills that have been proven to work.
Relapse prevention coping skills
Distract yourself. Make sure you always have a phone, book, or some type of media to distract yourself with if you feel a trigger coming on. If you start to get upset or angry and feel like using, take out your distraction and just turn yourself off to the outside world.
There are many other ways to avoid a relapse such as:
- Avoid going to locations where you would use
- Avoid interacting with people that use
- Take other forms of mediation to subsidize any pain or uncomfortable feelings
Best of Luck,
Mental health and stress management
I am in my first semester of college ever. I decided to wait a few years after high school and deal with my substance abuse issues before I went off on my own. I was diagnosed with ADHD, and given medication, which helps me manage my stress levels. Lately though, I have been feeling as though my mental health is deteriorating. I really want to stay sober but I do not know what else I can do to manage the stress and work in my life. What can I do?
Holistic addiction treatment
Dear “Late Bloomer,”
When we do not have proper ways to channel the pressure we feel weighing down on our bodies, we get much worse. Bottling up your emotions and feelings does not make them go away. Learning holistic addiction treatment skills, you can prevent a relapse.
Holistic practices can include activities like yoga or hiking. Next time you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, practice some deep breathing and try meditating. Light candles in your room or use essential oil diffusers. You can also look into seeing if there is an acupuncture center nearby where you can try this form of alternative care. A chiropractor can also help in releasing built up tension in your body and lift the weight of stress from your shoulders.
Best of Luck,