Life Lessons: Using Recovery Tools to Excel at Work

September 2, 2016

I’ve noticed in my path to recovery and in my new careers and life as an entrepreneur that some of the most driven, successful, passionate, zealous, and hardworking individuals in the American workplace have been recovering drug addicts and alcoholics.  Something about being in recovery really does seem to make a difference in one’s overall zeal and passion for succeeding in life.

Of course, people in recovery often go through very difficult times before reaching this point. Individuals who renter the workforce after beating addiction are met with certain unique difficulties.  Fortunately, they will have gotten a plethora of life lessons in the course of going through addiction treatment, and it is important that they use these life lessons to really tackle life anew after rehab is completed and use these lessons to be successful in life.

How to Use Rehab’s Life Lessons

In my own professional life, there are a few things I learned as a result of fighting against and beating addiction that I now apply to every aspect of my life.  I hope to see other recovering individuals do the same. As a community of recovering and sober individuals, we can all be successful and happy.

  1. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.  When I completed rehab and beat addiction, I learned that I had to be really good at asking for help when I needed it. There’s very little margin for error in the life of someone who is recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol.  When we need help in life, including in the workplace, we need to be able to ask for it and reach out and get it.
  2. Letting go of the past is key.  This alone has been a huge lesson for me in sobriety.  I could not stress this enough.  One of the life lessons that we learn that we must apply in our careers if we want to be successful is that we need to be able to just let go of the past and move on with our lives.  We won’t be successful in the workplace if we are constantly thinking about or are worried about our old lives as addicts.
  3. Recovery is a lifelong journey and it will literally last for the rest of our lives.  This one truth used to overwhelm me in my earlier days of sobriety.  I just wanted to forget about the fact that I was ever an addict.  But that actually held me back at work.  As soon as I embraced the fact that I was once an addict and that was something I was going to have to keep an eye on and constantly be aware of and work to prevent from ever happening again I was able to find strength and resolve in those truths and my success as an individual soared.
  4. Give it back and pay it forward.  Another thing I learned in recovery was that I would go on to find great strength in giving back, and after I had truly gotten so much from others, now I could really help others by giving back, and in doing so I was even stronger in my sobriety and in my recovery.  This truly was the right way to go it would seem, and this alone was probably the best life lesson I learned.  By applying this in my goal to also be successful in business, I was able to engage 110% in opening and running inpatient, residential, drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation centers and programs.  

Rehabilitation and recovery from addiction teaches us many things.  It is a shame and a loss when we ignore those lessons and don’t use them.  The true key to success in the workplace for any recovering addict is to really use the tools and the life lessons that one has experienced thanks to both rehabilitation and life in recovery.

Per Wickstrom is the founder and CEO of Best Drug Rehabilitation, one of the top holistic rehabilitation centers in the country. He found sobriety after a decades-long struggle with addiction and has since dedicated his life and career to helping others find the same life-affirming success he has. His program is based on natural and holistic methods and has helped lead hundreds to recovery. Connect with Per via his blog or LinkedIn.

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