Job Hunting in Recovery
Overcoming addiction is scary.
Job hunting can be overwhelming. The combination of the two is almost enough to make a person want to crawl into bed and never work again.
Fortunately, job hunting in recovery doesn’t have to be as daunting as you might think. A lot of the same skills and advice for finding a job in a normal situation applies to finding a job in recovery. However, there are a few special considerations to keep in mind as you search for suitable employment.
It’s Up to You How Much You Want to Disclose
Most people in recovery are protected by federal law against discrimination. Laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act protect people with disabilities, which includes those in recovery.
However, the laws do not protect individuals who are currently abusing drugs or alcohol. This is yet another reason to get and stay sober.
Overcoming Obstacles Shows You’re a Hard Worker
If you feel overwhelmed with the weight of staying sober, getting your life together, and getting a job, take a deep breath. Remember that you have grown through recovery. You have skills that the other candidates don’t have because you have worked hard to face your demons. You have overcome a lot, and you can confidently go forth into the job market.
There Are Job Resources for People in Recovery
The U.S. Department of Labor offers a One Stop Career Center. On the website, people in recovery can find help with career paths. There are also resources for individual states and local areas.
Choose Your Career Path with Care
If you struggle with alcohol addiction and you’ve been a bartender for the past 10 years, it may be time to consider a new career. Leaving to explore other options may also be a smart move if you made friends with your coworkers by taking drugs to blow off steam after work.
Yes, sometimes a career change comes with difficult choices. This may include lesser pay, staying out of certain career paths altogether, or taking a job that you feel is beneath you. Is your sobriety worth the sacrifice? Most people in recovery would agree that it is.
It’s Okay to Have a “For Now” Job
The reality is that most of us need to continue to work to pay the bills. But, sometimes the circumstances of a job, such as stress, are what led to substance abuse in the first place.
Deciding to take a “for now” job gives you the opportunity to focus on yourself, your needs, and your issues while in recovery. Doing a menial job is often less stressful and can give clarity of mind. It can also give you time to think about what you want to do in the future and take steps toward those goals.
Remind yourself that the main goal is to remain sober and have a fulfilling life. Take steps to attain that through whatever means necessary—even if that means washing dishes or stocking shelves while you work on healing your mind, body, and spirit.
Your value doesn’t depend on how prestigious your career is or how much you make.
It’s Not About What You Know, It’s About Who You Know
The addiction recovery process connects you with a host of people you otherwise wouldn’t know: counselors, sponsors, and friends in the trenches of sobriety with you. All of these people are rooting for you and will often work hard to get you back on your feet.
If you’re in a 12-step program, your sponsor can be a credible reference for a job. If you’re living at a recovery program, your house manager can provide a reference and connect you with potential employers. Being part of the recovery community opens doors, if you’re willing to be upfront about what you need.
Of course, getting and maintaining a job comes second to getting sober and taking care of yourself. If addiction is getting in the way of your career and personal life, the first step is to find help. If you are struggling with addiction, consider Victory’s detoxification program which can help you build a foundation of sobriety and then look toward the future toward meeting your career goals.
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