Understanding that you have a problem with substance abuse, accepting it, and deciding to fight it is only the beginning. With the help of your loved ones and addiction treatment specialists, you can take those first steps towards recovery. Substance abuse treatment is important and necessary, and it will lay the foundation for you to achieve long-term sobriety and rebuild your life.

However, after going through addiction treatment, you may find it challenging to pick up where you left off in life before you entered recovery. It may even be inadvisable to continue your life exactly how it used to be because it didn’t provide you with enough structure or fulfillment. Recovery requires building a strong system of support and finding purpose and meaningful action to drive you forward.

Finding employment after rehab is one of the cornerstones of recovery success.

The Importance of Employment

Drug and alcohol rehab can take a toll on you emotionally, physically, and mentally. Therefore, it’s natural for people in recovery, especially immediately after drug and alcohol detox or dual diagnosis treatment programs, to lack the energy or mental strength to devote to looking for a new job or reentering the workforce. And that is fine – if you have the option and you feel like it may be too much for the present moment, you shouldn’t force yourself into anything. Have a conversation with your treatment specialist on when it would be best for you to gain employment again.

No matter when it happens, a full-time – or even part-time – job can help you in many different ways.

  • You’ll gain a steady source of income, however big or small.
  • You’ll develop a routine, which is essential for maintaining mental and physical health.
  • Depending on the job, you have the opportunity to meet new people and enrich your life with more social contacts.
  • A job gives you a sense of self-worth and a purpose in life. It has been well-established in science that humans are the least happy when they feel they have no purpose in life. This is true for any individual, regardless of their history. Having something important to do every (work) day gives your life meaning.

A job after alcohol or drug rehab may be just what you need to get back on your feet and regain control of your life. Here are the steps you can take to maximize your chances of finding employment after alcohol or drug addiction treatment.

Decide What Type of Job Fits You Best

While you may feel that you can’t afford to be picky, you should take a moment to consider what job you’d like the most. Take into account your level of education, the skills you possess, and your previous work experience. Did you enjoy your previous employment? Can you see yourself doing it for a long time to come?

Reentering your career may not be easy, but if you liked the path you were on previously, it could be the best choice.

That being said, you can also look into pivoting and finding a different profession altogether.

Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking of switching careers in addiction recovery:

  • For the time being, you should avoid high-stress workplaces and jobs that have tight deadlines. If these deadlines also tend to shift around, they may not be what you need right now.
  • Consider the nature of your addiction. If you’ve been through alcohol rehab, maybe choosing a job in food service or as a bartender would needlessly expose you to the very substances you are trying to avoid.
  • If you want a new career, you could benefit from acquiring additional skill sets. It is up to you whether a job training program is a good fit, both financially and mentally speaking. You could also look into online courses, as many of them are offered for free.
  • Manage your expectations. Not everyone wants to hire recovering addicts, especially when that comes with a criminal record. That is just the fact of the matter. However, there are plenty of employers who won’t mind your history with substance abuse disorders and even those who are in recovery themselves and who will want to help you out. You will never know unless you give it a go.

Job Hunting

Embarking on a job hunt is a stressful time for anyone. It can be especially overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start or what to do. Hopefully, you have a general idea of what field you’d like to work in and where you will feel comfortable. That’s a great start.

When it comes to actually looking for a job, several aspects can help you, both online and offline.

  • Networking

Regardless of the type of job you’d like to get, networking is essential. Building a relationship with a potential employer or coworker will increase your chances of landing a good job. Connect with people in person or on social media (LinkedIn is especially geared towards this). Be friendly and personable. There’s no need to mention that you’re in recovery unless it’s absolutely necessary. Make sure to leave a good impression on people who might recommend you for a job or let you know when there’s an open position that you’d be interested in.

  • Reaching out to these services

CareerOneStop – Service Locator – The Department of Labor’s advice is to visit this site to help you with your job search. It narrows things down according to your geographic location, meaning that finding local jobs is a lot easier. The Department also urges you to contact the staff at your local treatment center and recovery support groups because they could have more information.

America In Recovery – A non-profit organization that puts you in touch with employers willing to hire recovering drug addicts. This is an entirely free service.

The HIRE Network – While not specifically geared towards helping those recovering from drug or alcohol abuse, The HIRE Network assists those that have a criminal record in finding employment. If you fall into this category, definitely take a look here.

  • Start your own business

If it is at all viable for you, you may look into starting your own business. Some businesses don’t require a lot of financial investment to get off the ground, and you’ll have the benefit of not answering to anyone but yourself. This independence can be a good thing, meaning that you won’t have to explain your history to an employer, but it can also be a bad thing because you will be the only one responsible for how well your business does. The sole responsibility may not be the best in terms of stress management at the start of your re-employment.

  • Become a freelancer

Similarly to opening your business, becoming a freelancer will give you the freedom to not depend on an employer. If you have a skill that is suitable for freelance work, such as designing, writing, digital art, editing, or similar, you could look into finding clients and building your portfolio.

However, as in the previous point, freelance requires you to be in charge of your schedule and create your own work routine. Consult with your specialist on the best course of action for you.

Conclusion: Patience And Continued Recovery

Reentering the workforce after having been through rehab is not an easy thing. Even when you feel mentally and emotionally ready to tackle life after drug abuse and alcoholism treatment, it may take a while before you land a job that you’re content with. The key thing here is to be patient. Patience and persistence go a long way.

Reach out to your friends and local support groups and make online profiles on sites specializing in finding jobs. Search both online and offline for training programs if you feel like you need them, as well as job openings that will suit your qualifications. You may not have many options in the beginning, but if you feel like you’ll be unhappy at a particular job, don’t settle for it.

You mustn’t forget to keep working on your recovery throughout this journey. Whether you get a new job right away or not, you need to keep going forward. With the help of your friends and family and professional assistance, you will overcome any obstacle in your path. Just don’t get discouraged!

If you need any help in getting back on your feet after coming out of a treatment facility, please give us a call at (619) 630-7844 or visit our website for more information.