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If Addiction Impacted Your Job Performance, Here’s How to Make it Right

When addiction has control of your life, it takes over your integrity and belief system. Over time, it can start to negatively influence other parts of your life, like family and work. As you find recovery and get things back on track, you may notice there are things you need to make right.

Many people get nervous about this step in the recovery process. It’s normal and it can be nerve-racking. But instead of focusing on your nerves, focus on the freedom you’ll find when you make things right and move forward with a clear conscience.

But as you work to repair your life, relationships and make amends, how do you handle the employer relationship?

3 Ways to Make it Right at Work

It can be a difficult question to answer an easy one to ignore. Whether you’re still employed or have moved on to another job, here’s a few ways to make it right at work:

  • Make it right directly.

    Depending on the situation, you may have an opportunity to make a direct amends or an apology to your employer, manager or coworker. While this may seem like the most nerve-wracking of conversations, it’s a testament to your growth of character in recovery. Some people need to make amends about a workplace conflict, poor job performance, or even something you’ve done wrong.

    Depending on the nature of what you need to make right, going directly to the person and apologizing could be the best option. Go into the conversation with courage and humility. It will be over soon, but stay in the moment and remember recovery is equipping you with the character needed to make it right. You’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders as soon as you do. If there are consequences, move forward and do the next right thing. Remember to keep your recovery practices strong, and make sure you have a support network – like a counselor, sponsor or recovery coach.

  • Make it right indirectly.

    There are some situations at work that you can’t fix directly. Whether the person you want to apologize to has left the company or if making it right would jeopardize your career or introduce a legal matter, it’s not always appropriate to hash out the past. But there are things you can do to make it right. Repaying money anonymously, donating to the organization you worked for, giving extra time unpaid or simply committing to new behavior in the future can help make it right.

    However, there are some situations that require full honestly, so if you’re having a hard time wondering what to do, consider talking this through with a sponsor, professional mentor or recovery coach. You can’t change the past, but today, you can do what you can to make it right to walk forward free of guilt or shame.

  • Make an integrity pact.

    One of the most liberating parts of recovery is reconciling your actions with your beliefs again. In active addiction, you may have compromised the values you hold for yourself and your career. After you make things right, try making an integrity pact. An integrity pact is a framework you can use to stay on track and make sure you’re living – and working – in accordance to your values and beliefs.

    You don’t need to show it to your boss or friends, it can just be something to keep you focused on bringing the recovery principles to the workplace. Grab a journal, a cup of coffee and an hour of your time and sit down and plan how you’ll better align your recovery and your work performance.

What Should Your Personal Integrity Pact Look Like?

Here’s what your personal integrity pact might include:

  • Habits That Keep You on Track:

    Whether it’s exercising before work or 30 minutes of meditation before you head to the office, find habits that keep you energized and focused. It could even be a 15-minute mindfulness check-in right when you get to work, helping you focus on the day ahead and grounding yourself in what you want to accomplish.

  • Goals:

    After you set habits that will keep you on track, set some work-specific goals for yourself. Whether it’s finding a mentor, attending a class to boost your skills, a promotion, or going back to school, build in goals to keep you moving forward and to keep your ambition up. When you have focus and goals to work towards, it will help you keep your performance in check. Plus, as you start accomplishing goals – no matter how small – it will feel great to see your progress and know that you’re working with a clear conscience.

  • Regular Check-Ins:

    History is the best teacher, and in order to learn, you need to take time examining how you’ve been doing. Choose a time each week – or even once a month – and think about how you’ve been doing. Are there any conflicts at work you need to reconcile? How have your daily habits been working? Look at how you’ve been doing, and if there’s an area that needs course correcting, write down any new habits or goals you want to work on.

  • Mentorship for Accountability:

    Mentorship is always a great idea, but one of the greatest benefits of mentorship is the support you’ll have. A mentor will help keep you accountable as you pursue different goals or workplace aspirations, and they’ll serve as a sounding board if you need to debrief on any conflicts or mistakes you’ve made at work. They can help you walk through the options you have to make it right, and can share life experience.
    We’ve all been there, and we’ve all messed up. A mentor can help you build even better character in the workplace, and can help you course correct when needed. Even better if your mentor is in recovery. They’ll be able to relate to both your career goals and recovery journey.

Images Courtesy of iStock

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