4 Ways Addiction Affects Your Career

Do you remember as a child when your parents, or other adults, would try to tell you that your actions don’t just affect you?

At such a young age it can be hard to comprehend that our actions can affect those around us as well.

Well, sometimes though, even as we grow older, we still lack the ability to see this. And, this especially presents itself in the lives of addicts. Oftentimes, someone who is suffering from an addiction has a hard time seeing that their actions are negatively affecting their families, friends, and even co-workers and strangers.

But, not only can an addiction affect the people around you, it can also affect other areas of your life. So, while you might think an addiction is just something you participate in at home and it has no effect on your social life or work life – it does.

Here are a few ways addiction affects your career:

    1. It can give you a criminal record.

      Most jobs do a background check before officially offering you the position. And, a criminal record – especially one for drugs, alcohol, or something of that nature – can be a huge red flag to an employer.

      Even if it was just a one time deal, you might find yourself getting turned away time and time again because the employer sees you as a liability rather than an asset.

    2. It can cost you your job.

      Maybe you don’t have a criminal record and maybe you already have a good job. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t lose it.

      Showing up to work consistently late because of a hangover, slacking on your responsibilities because you are preoccupied with getting your next fix – all of these things could be grounds for termination.

    3. It could cost you loss of income.

      Of course, losing your job would be the ultimate loss of income. But, calling in sick when you don’t have sick days could be costly. Or, it could hinder you from getting promoted which could offer a financial advancement.

  1. It can make it difficult to get along with coworkers.

    Getting along with your coworkers is what helps set a good morale for the office. And, getting along with them is healthy for you considering work is likely where you spend most of your time. But, addiction can easily stand in the way of that.

Rather you are doing something you love or just need your job to get by – is your addiction really worth losing it?

How to Manage Work and Recovery

Once you have made the bold decision to seek help for your addiction, you might find yourself facing a few more challenges – one of those being:

How do you keep your job while still being actively and fully involved in your addiction recovery program?

Both activities take a lot of time and effort and it can be easy to see the challenge this presents and automatically want to give up. But, before you rule out that you are strong enough to manage the two, take our advice on managing them:

Consider how addiction effects your job.

First, you need to find the motivation to do both and this often comes from understanding how your addiction is hindering you.

So, start by making a list of all the ways that you know that addiction is affecting your job and you will find that it will actually be a positive step in your career to learn to manage both recovery and work, rather than just giving up.

Talk to your employer.

It can be hard to be open about our struggles, trials, and tribulations. But, if you are going to manage work and recovery, your employer needs to be on board.

Talking to your employer might even open up more tips to help you manage them both. For example, they might suggest that you leave early every Thursday to ensure you make it to your group meeting.

Or, they might ask if you would like them to lessen your list of tasks to ensure you are not too stressed and can easily manage both.

It will help to have your employer on board – they need to be informed in case recovery effects work and they also might be able to help you.

Make a schedule.

When managing both addiction recovery and work, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. And, when you get overwhelmed, you might start forgetting important tasks or meetings.

So, make a schedule and stick to it the best you can. Use your schedule to help you prioritize your tasks and also to help ensure you don’t forget anything.

For example, if you know you have your meeting on Thursdays, then schedule the least amount of work that day and as long as you stay on schedule, there is no reason why you shouldn’t make your meeting because of work.

In addition, a schedule is great in helping an addict recover.

How have you learned to manage work and recovery? Share your tips with us in the comment section.

3 Tips for Managing Stress at Work

Regardless of the industry, you worked in, if you have ever held a job at some point in your life then you have felt the stress that can stem from work. It can be intense and unique – especially since you are in a setting other than home and somewhere you spend the majority of your time.

And, work-related stress can be intense – even if you love what you do. It might start out as just the stress to meet a deadline, but, it can quickly turn into a chronic and overwhelming issue that can be both physically and mentally harmful to your health.

A few sources of work-related stress include:

  1. A low salary
  2. Too much work (an excessive workload)
  3. Too few opportunities for advancement or work-related growth
  4. A lack of social support
  5. Lack of challenging or engaging work
  6. Not enough control over work-related decisions
  7. Demands that are conflicting or unclear expectations regarding performance

And, they actually say that work-related stress can act as a trigger to addiction, meaning it is incredibly vital that you learn to manage it.

Work is part of life; we need to work to make money. But, chronic work-related stress does not have to be.

Sometimes, it is something that could even be fixed with a simple improvement in communication or a change in your daily routine. But, it is your responsibility to address it and find ways to handle it.

It is all about learning to handle your stress in a healthy way:

  1. Track what is causing you stress.
    Make note of when you are feeling stressed – when it started and what you think might have caused it. You have to determine the source to accurately address it.
  2. Learn how to respond in a healthy manner.
    Rather than running to the closest McDonald’s or grabbing a beer after a long day, try ending your day with a walk in the park or a meditation session. What you do when you are feeling stressed is what can foster your addiction. If you always go to beer to cope with a hard day, you are setting yourself up for an alcohol addiction.
  3. Establish boundaries.
    Sometimes, it can be hard to cut back on the overtime or not check your work email even after you are home for the day. But, you have to establish boundaries and stick to them in order to find that rest. There should always be a separation between work and play.

How to Talk to Your Employer About Your Addiction

When it comes to having an addiction, it can be like of like jealousy…

It is that big green monster so rudely lurking in the closet. You don’t want anyone to know it is there.

So, when it comes to talking to people about your addiction, it can be extremely difficult. It is not something you are proud of – in fact, you are ashamed – and you don’t want people to think of you any differently because of it.

Even something as simple as discussing it with your spouse or your children can prove to be far too much. But, when it comes to discussing it with your employer the game gets even harder. You really don’t want to taint the image your employer has of you…

However, if you are considering going to an addiction recovery program, you need to discuss everything with your boss first.

Otherwise, there could be some miscommunication later on and if they honestly did not know what was going on, they might just think you are slacking or have lost your punctuality.

An important thing to remember when talking to them:

  • They probably already know that you have a problem. Although most people don’t think that anyone but them knows what is going on, oftentimes, people around you are all too familiar. A lot of signs of distress, especially with addiction, are not easily hidden no matter how hard you try. So, they probably already know at least that something is going on, even if they don’t know exactly what.

Now, under some laws in certain parts of the world, employees are protected from being fired if they choose to go to rehab. So, before you decide to go talk to your boss, start by finding out what your rights are.

There is a chance you might also have access to paid time off for an event such as this. Either way, know what you are going up against so you are prepared for the worst and best case scenario.

Then, when it comes down to actually discussing the issue with them, ask to speak to them in private. Let them know what is going on and ask that they keep it confidential.

Typically, your boss should honor this as they usually just want what is in your best interest. But, go prepared with all of your information, any questions you might have, and a plan with your next steps in mind so that no stone is left unturned in that office.

You can do it! Your recovery matters.

Could Your Job Be Triggering Your Addiction?

Both in the midst of an addiction and during the continued recovery process afterward, one of the main topics of discussing involved with the idea of addiction is what triggers is.

Once you are on your way to becoming sober, you have to make yourself aware of what triggers your craving for the drug or alcohol and constantly try to avoid those things.

But, sometimes during an addiction, it can be hard to pinpoint just what it is that is causing you to maintain the addiction in the first place.

Sometimes, it can be a collaboration of things – from stress┬áto childhood trauma.

But, have you ever considered that work could be one of those things? Probably not.

Work and Substance Abuse

In fact, workplace stress is actually considered to be one of the top triggers for addiction. Think about it – work is where you spend most of your time, so if you are stressed and flustered during the majority of the time you are there, it is likely that you will feel the need to find something to take your mind off that.

The stress from work – or other life events – takes a toll on both the body and the mind. And, this toll it takes on both our mental and physical well-being makes temptations much harder to resist.

Work and Isolation

A lot of people report feeling isolated at work. Oftentimes, we work in our own cubicle or even our own office with a door and everything. This isolation can make you feel even worse – especially if you are already stressed. You might find yourself feeling stressed and alone.

This is especially true for people who work remotely or from home – the feeling of isolation only increases.

So, take time to consider if your workplace could be bringing on your feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. It could be what is causing you to feel the need to use drugs or alcohol as a relief.


So, whether it is the stress of work, the isolation you feel at work, or even just a combination of both – it is time to do something about it. Sometimes, it might be something you can overcome by just making a few changes in your life.

Sometimes, it might be something you can overcome by just making a few changes in your life.

Other times, it might mean that it is time for a career switch. While your job is important, maintaining your sobriety is even more important.