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Going back to work - help!

Old 01-04-2016, 11:32 AM
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Going back to work - help!

Hi,

I am wondering if anyone can offer any advice or has had a similar experience to relate. I relapsed a few months ago, badly. To make a long story short, I had to leave my job for a few months as I had become unable to work. I was getting panic attacks, was extremely shaky and confused and was unable to stop without help. I had to tell my employer the problem as I could not go to work one week, and my performance the previous weeks had been poor. It was very embarrassing but I wanted to be honest and though I didn't expect them to be understanding, they were. In fact, they have been amazingly understanding and have given me time to get myself together - 5 months to be exact. When I return next month, I will be on a kind of probation period, which is more than fair. They will also need to see I can be relied on and I know it's going to be a while before I have full trust. I am determined not to let this happen again. Alcohol has ruined many things in my life but this is the first time I let it interfere in with my work, and I really like this job. Thankfully, I have never gone to work drunk or having had a drink.



However, as time to return draws closer, I am getting very nervous about everything, and embarrassed bout what happened. I'm nervous about facing my bosses and colleagues. Quite a few people know and others must suspect or at least think something strange must be wrong - I was absent for 5 months. Then again, I am aware that this may be paranoia as people do have other things to think about! I am also terrified of failing again, having been given this chance and feel everyone will be watching me. I feel physically ready to go back, am attending alot of meetings and my acceptance is stronger than it ever has been. I am just worried that my fears will throw me off balance and I need to be confident going back.



Any advice on how to deal with this would be so much appreciated.

Thanks,

L
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Old 01-04-2016, 12:09 PM
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Are you sober now?
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Old 01-04-2016, 12:18 PM
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Welcome to SR.

I don't know your background as this is your first post. It puts me in mind of an experience I had many years ago. I was placed in an eight week rehab. It was a relief to start with, having got rid of most of lifes worries - work, rent, flat mates, etc.

But I didn't really "buy" the program such as it was. I quickly found it was easy to stay sober in such circumstances, and I learned to say whatever was expected of me. I became the blue eyed patient.

Then the time to leave approached, and I became increasingly frightened. I persuaded them to keep me for an extra two weeks, but then I had to leave and try and resume my former life without the booze.

The reason I was frightened was because I realised I had done absolutely nothing to sove my problem. I had just played a big con trick on everyone (myself!) and wasted a golden opportunity to get well. I had rejected, and continued to reject the recommended path (AA).

I stayed miserably sober for about 3 months and then drank again.

I wonder how I would have felt, returning to work with a solid support network around me, and some track record in a proven recovery method behind me.
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:07 PM
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I'm not sure what AA or proselytizing has to do with anything, but I went through the return to work thing after being out 7 months on disability - most of which was spent still drinking, the last two months were sober. I had similar fears about going back, but honestly there's just nothing we can do about what other people will think except just do our best and look forwards, not back. My experience was, almost no one asked what had gone on those 7 months - some undoubtedly suspected, but only two people asked and were satisfied by my response, which was "medical stuff". We just have to get back on with life and try not to let the fear and embarrasment and maybe self-doubt interfere.
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:30 PM
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I have been in your shoes . I was off for 18 months with an alcohol related nervous breakdown. I work for a very large company and was terrified about going back. The first few days were uncomfortable but then, honestly, it was as if nothing had happened and I had never been away.

Couple of tips. Make yourself look nice and walk in with you head high. You were ill you have nothing to feel embarrassed or guilty about. Also if people ask how you are feeling stick with a simple " I am fine thanks" and make it clear, kindly, that you don't want to talk about it. It will stop people prying.

In terms of the probation period. Just aim to be efficient, calm and Professional. That's enough. You don't need to take risks to try and be noticed as an exceptional performer.

You really will be fine. Keep telling yourself that.

(Are you sober by the way? As the answer to this question will change things)
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:36 PM
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Lots of good advice/questions here already. Did you participate in any kind of rehab/detox/recovery program at all during the time off? If they gave you the time off work to do so, that tells you something right there - they want you back. So that must mean they value you as an employee.

People take leaves of absence from work for a whole host of reasons - medical, family, etc. Don't assume people think anything specific, just do your best work and things will certainly sort themselves out.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:37 PM
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Thanks so much for the helpful replies. I am sober and have been in the time I've had away. I am completely embracing AA this time and know what I need to do differently . It is just daunting going back, but I guess I need to try and believe in myself and actually do the work, instead of just talking about it. This forum is a great added help.
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Old 01-04-2016, 04:13 PM
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I think that you'll quickly put any doubt out of people's minds by just applying yourself to the work. Your description of how you were in the last few weeks sounds a lot like me... just before I quit I'd gotten to the point where I was really mentally addled on top of being physically sick. That was six months ago for me, and I know that you can tell I'm better just by looking at me and talking to me for a few minutes. I imagine you're the same! They won't have any idea what to expect, so I think just being your sober, healthier, more effective self will swiftly shut down any concerns. Good luck!!
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Old 01-04-2016, 04:22 PM
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I'm proud of you for being sober and going back. Pat yourself on the back and as others said, go in with your head held high and dignity in tact. It's no ones business what the details are. Best of luck on your return.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffreyAK View Post
I'm not sure what AA or proselytizing has to do with anything,
I'm not sure what knocking my experience has to do with the ops question Jeffrey.
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Old 01-04-2016, 06:39 PM
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With just a few months of sobriety behind you, the suggestion I'm about to make may not suit you at all. If so I would completely understand, but at least consider the benefits of sharing your experience.

Disclosure would certainly create more than a little accountability for you.

Secondly it would demonstrate an ability to be honest, even when being honest is very difficult. This would no doubt earn you a certain degree of respect and trust.

Disclosure also could have the benefit of possibly helping someone else. There are lots of us out there who are afraid to admit a problem because of the stigma attached to it. Speaking to someone who's been-there-done-that can be just the thing an alcoholic or addict needs to help them begin to take action. You might become the person they turn to at the very beginning of their journey.

The truth has a way of being a very powerful force. Even more so when used constructively.

If you get a chance see the movie "The Anonymous People".

In any event all the best to you.
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by awuh1 View Post
With just a few months of sobriety behind you, the suggestion I'm about to make may not suit you at all. If so I would completely understand, but at least consider the benefits of sharing your experience.

Disclosure would certainly create more than a little accountability for you.

Secondly it would demonstrate an ability to be honest, even when being honest is very difficult. This would no doubt earn you a certain degree of respect and trust.

Disclosure also could have the benefit of possibly helping someone else. There are lots of us out there who are afraid to admit a problem because of the stigma attached to it. Speaking to someone who's been-there-done-that can be just the thing an alcoholic or addict needs to help them begin to take action. You might become the person they turn to at the very beginning of their journey.

The truth has a way of being a very powerful force. Even more so when used constructively.

If you get a chance see the movie "The Anonymous People".

In any event all the best to you.
This could backfire awuh. OPs employers may then possibly see her/him as a liability always in danger of relapsing in the future. Given the hard work to get sober, the last thing the the OP needs now is to find their job at risk. Also, not everyone is emotionally intelligent enough ( like we are at SR !!) to understand, and there is likely to be gossiping. It really is noone else's business in my opinion. And there is no formal or legal obligation for OP to say anything so they are not being "dishonest" either.
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Old 01-05-2016, 01:00 AM
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laiste :

Quit drinking!!It seems that there is a great job opportunity for you! , take it!!

Where I live there is No jobs!

cheers
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Old 01-05-2016, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Fabat50 View Post
And there is no formal or legal obligation for OP to say anything so they are not being "dishonest" either.
People have different opinions on this, but I think by and large counseling pros will suggest that less information is better, and that's pretty uniformly what I heard before I went back to work. I wasn't being dishonest when I responded with "medical issues", just incomplete. My plan in case anyone ever asked directly, "Was it for alcoholism?" was, yes - but no one ever asked that. As it is, 5+ years on, only my former boss and his boss know what really went on, plus one coworker who is a friend I trust and told the story to.

But, YMMV. Some people find it very liberating to disclose.
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