Job Loss Can Lead to Relapse – But It Doesn’t Have To

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You certainly weren’t expecting this curve ball.

You were doing so well in your recovery, making progress on all your goals, and then…wham! You’re suddenly unemployed and your mind is racing 100 miles an hour. You panic and start thinking ‘I’ll soon have no income. I don’t have any job prospects. I’m doomed.’

For just about anyone, this can serve as a major trigger. It might be tempting to turn back to drugs or alcohol to cope with this frightening situation. But, your job loss doesn’t have to lead to relapse.

Maintaining Your Sobriety While Out of Work

Take a step back. Take a deep breath, realize this isn’t the end of the world, and then move forward with the following “JOB LOSS” steps to avoid relapse during this difficult time.

  • (J)ust keep moving: Do the basics. Get up. Get dressed. Exercise. Cook. Focus on doing the simple daily tasks you must do to survive. Take it day by day. Keeping this rhythm going and continuing to put one foot in front of the other will help you get through hard moments and allow you to build motivation to look for jobs and start something new.
  • (O)wn it: Did you know it’s okay to grieve a job loss? Just because no one died doesn’t mean you can’t mourn. Give yourself permission to cry, get angry, miss your job, and feel a little lost. It’s all part of the process. Denying your feelings won’t help. Go ahead and work through them.
  • (B)e good to yourself: It may be tempting to sleep, eat or channel surf your way through a job loss. While it’s good to grieve, and this might involve extra rest or a quiet evening watching your favorite flick, don’t neglect your health. Keep up the exercise routine and maintain a balanced diet. When you feel good physically, you feel better mentally.
  • (L)earn from it: What can you take away from this experience? Should you look for a job in a different industry? Do you need additional training? Is there something else you would like to do? Turn your job loss into an opportunity. Perhaps now is the perfect time to take a class or pursue your dream job.
  • (O)vercome: Again, look at this as an opportunity. You’ve already overcome so much. This is just another hurdle to jump in your recovery process. Keep in mind nearly everyone loses at least one job in their lifetime. You can do this. In the future, you’ll look back on this time and feel a sense of accomplishment for working through it and finding a new occupation.
  • (S)eek support: What systems have you put in place to help you in recovery? Turn to these for support during this time. Reach out to friends, family, a sponsor or support group. Search for job-seeker resources in your area. You don’t have to do this alone.
  • (S)trengthen your sobriety: This difficult time won’t break you. It will make you stronger. It’s hard, and it hurts, but you’ll come out better on the other side. As you learn how to cope with job loss without relapse, you grow in your sobriety and achieve an even stronger walk in recovery. Working through this situation will strengthen your resolve and help you move toward your goals for the future.

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