Hopping Back in the Job Market

So, you have completed treatment. Now what?

The vast majority of people require some form of employment to function in society. Now that you have stabilized and have a foundation in sobriety, you need a job.

The prospect of returning to the work force can be more than a little intimidating. At first, you may feel like everything is new; even with job experience, we alcoholics and addicts functioned through a lens of substances and the haze of using before entering sobriety. This means that, once sober, the entire process and prospect of finding a job can be overwhelming.

However, the process of finding a job is hugely beneficial to your recovery. There are numerous confidence building aspects to getting a job, not to mention succeeding at work.

Having a job can bring back normality and stability where once there was chaos.

On the Hunt

The process of finding a job can be so time consuming and stressful that it should be considered a full-time job.
A critical question to ask yourself is “What can I handle right now?”

For instance, if you worked in finance but found that to be so stressful that returning to that field might jeopardize your sobriety, then perhaps search for another field for your first job in recovery.

Searching for jobs is just the starting point. Then comes interviews, which can feel like you are selling yourself. Just remember that this process stresses everyone.

Many people in recovery go back to school and work after recovering from active addiction; however, jumping back into such a loaded schedule too soon can be a mistake. Try adding things back one at a time and build yourself up along the way.

If you don’t require a paying job at the moment, consider a volunteer position. Committing to work to help others can help you immensely.

Benefits of Working

Having a job comes with enormous benefits—just the act of finding, applying and getting a job is a huge step forward. The obtainment of employment proves to yourself that you can commit to a plan and see it through.

Once you have a job, it keeps you busy. Boredom and lack of engagement can be disastrous for someone in early recovery.
People with too much time on their hands often get themselves into trouble. For us addicts and alcoholics, trouble can mean relapse and relapse can mean death.

Normalcy also comes with having a job; most people have to work and sharing in the endeavor that is so central to everyday life brings you into the fold.

A steady income from the job can be hugely beneficial or dangerous. Some people need to be careful about money in the early days of recovery—too much money could prove too tempting at times.

Active addiction is often marked by great instability as many of us kept no regular schedule while using and searching for more. A job not only provides stability, but a way to constructively use your time. You are working to improve yourself financially, morally, punctually—the list goes on.

You should be proud of yourself for having a job. You should feel a boost of self-esteem for all the good work that you do. Showing up on time and functioning day after day is not always easy, depending on how long you were in active addiction and the specifics of your story.

Work teaches us to be self-sufficient. Learning not only how, but that we can succeed without help can be a life-changing lesson.

Responsibility is a huge benefit of having a job. You learn responsibility when you show up on time and do the job you are assigned. Being responsible is one of the most critical lessons needed to be a stable, happy and functioning member of society.

A job may provide you with a healthy community. This may not always be true but having co-workers with which to spend the day often breeds comradery.

With a job that you have maintained for a while, you should be proud of yourself and gain a sense of wholeness. You are also working towards a goal, helping support yourself and succeeding in the same way that most people do.

You are Capable

Though the task may feel insurmountable, you are more than capable of finding a job and getting back into the work force after treatment.

It’s not only possible, it’s probable that you will find a job and gain all the benefits it brings—if you put in the effort.

The recovery community is familiar with newcomers returning to the job market. Ask around for suggestions regarding where to work. Some jobs are not ideal for someone in early recovery; bar tending, for example, might set you up for failure. Reach out to those who have been where you are and learn from their experience in finding a job.

The amount of knowledge and support that exists around you is enormous. Utilize those tools to ensure you succeed in recovery and all life has to offer.

You are a capable and valuable human being and many employers would be lucky to have you on their team.