Does My Job Affect My Substance Use?

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Stress is a regular part of everyday life. While a certain level of stress can be expected, having an overabundance of stress without strategies to process it can lead to the use of addictive substances in order to deal with these intense feelings. One of the most common sources of stress is one’s job. While working diligently is something that is rewarded, it can also come at a cost. One’s workplace and work culture can have a drastic effect on substance use. 

Stress In the Workplace

Holding down a job can be a tough prospect on its own. However, the culture and mentality surrounding the idea of “hard work” can also be a great source of stress. There may be a mountain of responsibilities with tight time frames that an individual may be expected to work under. 

Unclear direction, excessive shift lengths, minimal lunch breaks, or overbearing managerial practices can all compound one’s stress at work. Unfair expectations, a competitive or toxic work environment, and financial worries can all have a massive effect on a person’s body and emotional state and can leave them feeling like their lives are dictated by their jobs.

As a result, there is no shortage of stress from one’s work already. Yet much of the work culture in the U.S. is based on the idea that if an individual works hard enough, they will get ahead. This can lead to an individual pushing their body and mind past the point of exhaustion chasing this kind of unfair expectation. 

Taking on additional responsibilities, working longer hours, can also mean sacrificing free time This can mean that self-care, hobbies, interests, or even time with family are all unfortunately common sacrifices. Some work environments will even make it difficult for an individual to feel like they can take the vacation they have earned, insisting that they are needed in the workplace. 

The Need for Personal Time

Personal time is essential for every person. It is necessary to take time for oneself outside of the workplace where one can detach from workplace responsibilities and decompress after a long day. Taking the time to engage in hobbies, spend time with family, or just relax on the couch are all part of prioritizing one’s personal time. Denying these things can quickly lead to the continuous compiling of stress. It is a person’s right to be able to take time off from work and tend to the other, equally important, areas of their life. 

This emotional and physical time off also allows the body and mind a chance to recuperate from a long day and avoid developing other, unhealthy coping strategies. The body and mind will still strive for a way to process the stress in one’s life. Denying oneself the time and energy to employ self-care practices or take a vacation can cause this need for release to manifest in other ways. The use of drugs or alcohol are the most common and most dangerous manifestations of this release. 

How Substance Use Is Affected by Your Work

Substances can be tempting due to their fast-acting nature and accessibility. If an individual feels they do not have time to take off and relax, it can be easy to view drinking in the evening as a helpful mental distraction from workplace stresses. This forces the detachment from stress without ever truly addressing the source of the stress or developing a healthy coping strategy. Each time these substances are used to placate one’s stress, a positive connotation with a self-destructive practice is also being reinforced. If it remains unaddressed, it can even lead to abuse or addiction.

This can be further compounded as substance use may also be encouraged by one’s workplace. A stressful work environment may know that it is putting much stress on their employees. Regular visits to a local bar with coworkers after work hours or accepting the use of addictive substances can be a result of this dynamic. However, these practices are not a replacement for genuine coping strategies and can lead to further personal and professional stresses, anxieties, depression, and substance abuse. 

Taking time to analyze one’s work culture and environment and how they relate to one’s personal goals and interests is essential to avoid developing unhealthy coping mechanisms for workplace stress. Objectively managing one’s use of addictive substances and setting necessary barriers is essential in creating a healthy work-life balance that promotes a healthy, sober lifestyle. While one’s work can be a source of pride, it can also be a constant source of stress that demands dedicated attention and the development of personalized coping strategies. It could even demand the help of professionals to help address how one’s work has affected their dangerous substance use. 

Your job is a major part of your life, but stress from the workplace can be incredibly difficult to deal with. If you or a loved one are struggling with the use of drugs or alcohol as a result of intense workplace stress, Everlast Recovery Centers can help. Our home-like atmosphere and personalized detox and residential programs are designed to help you individualize your recovery all while prioritizing an atmosphere of comfort, community, and understanding. Your time with us is meant to find the strategies most pertinent to your unique situation, while learning valuable coping strategies, life skills, and work-life balance strategies and creating healthy boundaries. From individual and group therapy to art, music, writing, and relapse prevention, we are prepared to help you address the way substance use has affected your life. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us or to speak to a caring, trained staff member, call us today at (866) 388-6925.

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