July 31, 2015

Step-by-Step Guide on How Public Servants Can Reclaim Their Lives After Addiction

A career in public safety changes your identity. It defines you. Your friends are men and women who protect and serve. Maybe your family members are, too. It is understandable to feel reluctant about what addiction treatment may mean in your life.

Ifabuse has taken hold of your life, it’s very likely that the tough job you encounter each day was a part of the cause. Even with the knowledge that an accumulation of years of stress from the job had a role in your addiction, it can still be hard to walk away from your duties, whether voluntarily or as the result of a suspension, to get the addiction treatment you deserve. Check out this guide below to learn how you can maintain your identity as a public servant while recovering from substance abuse.

Step 1. Seek Help at the Right Treatment Center

A primary worry for first responders seeking substance abuse treatment may be leaving behind the brotherhood they have built with other first responders. Going into rehab may seem frightening if you enroll in a facility where staff and other addicts cannot empathize with your unique circumstances.

Fortunately, you won’t be totally isolated if you seek treatment at First Responders Recovery. The program here is designed with you in mind. Many of the professionals are retired first responders who provide invaluable insight about what its like to be in your shoes. Hang on to the camaraderie you have come to love by undergoing treatment in the midst of others who serve the community just like you do.

Step 2. Work Through The Issues that Got You Here

Take advantage of your treatment to really dig deep and get the mental and physical healing you desperately require. Did your substance abuse problem began after a horrible traumatic experience? It’s important to get to the root of your issues so that you can fully reclaim your life and prevent relapse. Doing so allows you to come to terms with pain or guilt that has been haunting you, but also prepares you to return to the job with a sound body and mind.

Step 3: Use Your Experience Purposefully

Ensure that your time in rehab is meaningful. Build connections with others who have had similar life experiences and continue to see these people when your program is complete. This group can help hold you accountable during your sobriety and also serve as a listening ear during particularly difficult life ordeals.

Use your experience for a greater purpose by becoming a sponsor to other public servants who are struggling with substance abuse. Your courage can inspire another to get the treatment they need.

Step 4: Find New Ways to De-stress and Connect

When you step back on the job and are presented with stress, you will be challenged to find adaptive ways to channel that stress. While your relationships with other first responders may continue to be fundamental, you should also find strategies to relieve stress and relax outside of the job. “Psychology Today” suggests rediscovering childhood fun as an excellent tool for coping after rehab. Find a new hobby or activity that you love. Engage in it regularly so that you have time set apart in your weekly schedule to clear your mind from job stress. Reconnect with your spouse, children and others who have your best interests at heart. It may be difficult at first, but having a few acquaintances and activities that are not connected with work could help a lot in your healing process.


  1. Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (3rd Edition). National Institute on Drug Abuse. December 2012. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-effective-drug-addiction-treatment
  2. Laudet, A.B., Morgen, K., & White, W.L. The role of social supports, spirituality, religiousness, life meaning and affiliation with 12-step fellowships in quality of life satisfaction among individuals in recovery from drug and alcohol problems. US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. August 2006. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1526775/
  3. Meyers, S. After rehab: 5 ways for addicts to cope and avoid relapse. Psychology Today. April 2012. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-is-2020/201204/after-rehab-5-ways-addicts-cope-avoid-relapse

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