The workplace can be an intense source of stress for anybody, with some degree of professional stress being a common experience. However, for alumni continuing to balance these workplace stresses with their continued sobriety, identifying the impactor workplace stressors present is paramount. While unfortunate, some professional environments go beyond simply bringing stress, and can instead be entirely toxic workplaces. Toxic workplace environments can have intense ramifications on the mental health and sobriety of even those who have navigated professional treatment and are continuing to further their sober goals.
What Is a Toxic Workplace?
Toxic workplace environments are more than an environment that produces stress at work. Rather, they can be wholly detrimental and can continue to impact each person’s mentality, attitude, and mental health both inside and outside of the workplace. Toxic workplace environments are places where intense stress and antagonistic behavior are so closely tied to the culture of a particular professional space that it can be wholly difficult to escape.
While having a difficult coworker that a person doesn’t get along with can still be difficult, it does not necessarily make the entire workplace toxic. However, when the culture of a particular work environment itself seems to reward bullying or an overly competitive atmosphere or otherwise does not nurture or teach workers to advance within the professional field, these toxic effects can have dangerous repercussions for an individual.
Elements of a Toxic Workplace
Toxicity in the workplace can come in a variety of forms, and some may be more easily identifiable than others. However, being able to recognize the elements of a toxic workplace can empower those in recovery to prioritize their recovery and consider the effects of these currently held professional positions on their sobriety, mental health, and overall quality of life. Some of the most profound elements of a toxic workplace include:
- Poor communication between management or coworkers, or unclear goals, expectations, or other essential information
- Compromised work-life balance, either by having forced overtime, inconsistent hours or schedule, or being contacted about work-related queries even while off work or at home
- Unfair expectations in the workplace, from unrealistic goals to being expected to skip lunch or bathroom breaks
- Competitive atmospheres, especially atmospheres or cultures that seem to breed hostile mentalities that can lead to a lack of professional support, bullying, harassment, or other behaviors
- Intense micromanagement in the workplace, or managerial styles that seem to focus more on exercising control rather than achieving a goal
- Lack of internal growth opportunities
- Pervasive manipulative behaviors, especially when coming from managerial staff
Each of these elements of a toxic workplace can have profound effects on a person’s mental, emotional, and even physical health. However, these stresses can compound for those navigating their sober lives. Between unnecessary and intense workplace stresses, difficulty establishing barriers between personal life and professional life, and even longer work hours that can compromise other hobbies or self-care opportunities, exploring the challenges presented by a toxic workplace is necessary to continue prioritizing each individual’s hard-earned sobriety.
The Effects of a Toxic Workplace on Sobriety
Each individual’s journey with sobriety is an ongoing process, and it is not something that is ever truly “completed.” Rather, those continuing to manage their sobriety and pursue personal goals will continue to make adjustments, identify new stresses, and develop new coping strategies to further their sober lives while navigating urges and cravings. However, the exhaustion and increase increased chance of burnout caused by a toxic workplace can compromise many of these otherwise effective coping skills.
The stresses can not only birth more intense urges and cravings, but for some, these environments may also be less than supportive or understanding of a person’s sober goals, further compromising their sober efforts, introducing new stresses or high-risk situations, introducing doubt, or otherwise ostracizing an individual for their sober efforts if the use of drugs or alcohol is not only normalized in a work environment or culture but even celebrated. Distancing oneself from a toxic work environment in sobriety is necessary to facilitate a healthy new lifestyle.
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Sobriety should be celebrated, with each milestone marking how an individual has overcome any number of challenges in their pursuit of a healthier life. Identifying any of these elements of a toxic work environment is instrumental in creating a plan to cope with the stresses therein. Left unaddressed, these environments can not only compromise personal sober efforts, but also bring intense feelings of anxiety, depression, self-doubt, a compromised sense of self-worth, and much more. While difficult, distancing oneself from these environments may be necessary as an individual considers alternative employment opportunities that may be more conducive to a developing sober lifestyle.
Working with the professionals and peers at our Hawaii recovery center can help those in recovery identify toxic elements of their own workplace, establish healthy boundaries between their personal and professional lives, and even navigate the difficult decision of finding fulfilling professional employment that doesn’t compromise an individual’s hard-earned and celebrated sobriety.
A toxic workplace can not only impact your mental, emotional, and physical health but can also have profound effects on your sober efforts. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we are committed to helping you address all aspects of your continued recovery through our Hawaii recovery center, including addressing the effects and options for navigating toxic work environments. Recovery and sobriety are entire lifestyles, and continuing to prioritize your sobriety and success is paramount, and we can help you develop the necessary skills and support needed for a sustainable and healthy life of sobriety. For more information on how we can help you through a toxic work environment, or to speak to a trained staff member, call us today at (866) 390-5070.