To reduce the risk of relapse following treatment or rehab, it is important to add structure to your day. Risk of relapse is higher on days when you experience boredom, loneliness or a sense of meaninglessness in your life. Individuals who do not have skills to cope with boredom and loneliness frequently return to drugs and alcohol as their solution. Positive structure reduces exposure to cues and is effective in managing and reducing the incidence of cravings.
Positive structure is more than just being busy. It is having meaningful things to do on a regular and consistent basis that create a personal benefit for you and others. Work is the most common way to positively structure a large portion of your time. Work provides meaning, purpose, and exposure to a different social group. Besides earning money, it can be a source of prestige, personal responsibility, praise, respect, and self-worth. Work provides opportunities for: learning, new experiences, accomplishments, fun, travel, and change.
Work impacts all the different areas of your life. Devoting time to work requires juggling commitments with friends, family, and children. It involves managing the expectations of coworkers, superiors, customers, and deadlines. Some types of employment create disappointment, boredom, monotony, fear, and fatigue. Work particularly impacts the time and energy available for: exercise and social activities, personal and spiritual growth, reading, relaxation and meditation, hobbies and fun, and sleep and rest (Bond, Thompson,
Galinsky, & Prottas, 2002). So it is important to seek meaningful work that fits into and advances your life plan.
Finding, creating or keeping meaningful work will be a critical goal in your Life Plan. Many people are not satisfied with their work and feel nervous and stressed due to their work life (Bond, Thompson, Galinsky, & Prottas, 2002). The stress of unsatisfying work and a stressful workplace can set you up for relapse. That’s why it’s so important to find the right work for you. Remember, anger, interpersonal conflict, depression, and anxiety are common triggers of relapse which can easily be magnified by stressful, meaningless work.