I understand demanding jobs. I’m the founder and CEO of a well-respected private addiction treatment center. To keep the company afloat and growing, I work round-the-clock. I eat, sleep, and breathe my work. Even when I’m not “on the clock,” I am bound to the office by technology. There are situations that only I can take care of, so there are inevitable intrusions upon family dinners and vacations. If I didn’t set hard boundaries, such as not taking calls when I’m putting my children to bed or during our family time on Sunday mornings, my work would take up every moment of my life. I’m not alone. Thousands of you reading this, whether you are school teachers who are grading papers late into the evening or truck drivers who are pushing hard to make a delivery deadline, know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s one thing to work hard when you’re healthy. But if you’re also dealing with substance abuse or addiction, how do you find time to take care of yourself and get help for your addiction when you have to put food on the table?
First and foremost, there is no family and no job in the long-term if you don’t get help for your substance abuse issues. As drug addiction takes off and develops, it becomes harder and harder to keep your job, your family, your children—anything you value. You have to put your recovery first or you will lose it all.
My treatment center specializes in treating C-suite executives, celebrities, professional athletes, politicians and others who “don’t have the time” to spend three months in treatment. For those with jobs and lives that can’t be put on hold, we have created a special treatment program that allows them to work part time and attend to themselves and their needs the rest of the day. You can do the same thing in your life. Here are some tips.
- Consider Outpatient Treatment: There are many quality treatment programs that are not residential. If you must work, there are treatment programs that are available that are part-day plans. Insurance generally will cover these programs because they are less expensive than residential treatment centers. Heavy regimens of 12-step programs along with psychotherapy, acupuncture, meditation, and other forms of healthy living can also get you on the right track. Go with the level of care that works for you, but be ready to move to a residential environment, if you find yourself relapsing.
- Develop a Healthy Regimen: Individuals who are “indispensable” to their jobs are very often workaholics. Make your recovery part of your lifestyle. Schedule an early morning workout and a 12-step meeting before work and after work follow-up with a yoga/meditation class and a conversation with your 12-step sponsor or a psychotherapy session. Keep your day tight and ensure that you have healthy plans for the times you normally drink or use. This change in lifestyle that includes professional care will help you take care of yourself.
- Know When to Say When: At a certain point, residential treatment is what is needed. Make plans to go into treatment for as long as it is necessary to get a firm hold on recovery. Find a treatment center that will help you manage the work issues that only you can take care of while still making adequate time for your recovery. If you are the sole proprietor of a one-person business, such as an electrician or plumber, draw on your savings to feed your family while you are in treatment. Can your spouse get a job while you’re in treatment? If you’re an oil rig worker or work on a fishing vessel, make plans to be in treatment when you’re off the rig or the boat. You may not be able to stay in treatment for the optimal period, which is 90-120 days, but give yourself whatever time you can.
Your business needs you, and in the same breath I can almost guarantee that it’s sure to fail if you don’t take time to get yourself in the best health possible, which includes addressing any substance abuse problem you or your employees may have. You’re worth the time.