Completing an addiction recovery program is a great achievement. However, addiction is a chronic disease and recovery is a lifelong journey. To successfully maintain and thrive while living a sober lifestyle, you must carefully plan your next steps.
While finding a job may feel like the most important next step after addiction treatment, it is important to take things slowly and to always keep recovery as your number one priority.
If you are leaving a residential treatment program, you may find transitioning to a more independent living situation especially stressful. You may be faced with relapse triggers, relationships in need of repair, the need to find a job or return to school, and other challenges.
The risk of relapse is greatest during the first 90 days of abstinence, so it is especially important in early recovery to avoid people, places, and activities that have triggered past addictive behavior. If the work environment or co-workers at your previous jobs triggered your addictive behavior, you need to find alternate work opportunities.
Take time to determine what work situation would make you happiest, as well as what situations you want to avoid. Consider the fact that stress and exhaustion increase the risk of relapse, so you want to minimize a work situation that is overly stressful or demands long hours.
Commit to a healthy work-life balance. This may mean working part-time initially until your sober lifestyle becomes more firmly engrained into your life.
Looking for Work
Many addiction treatment programs provide employment coaching to their clients, including resume building and interview skill workshops. They can also connect you with resources that specialize in helping those in recovery find jobs.
If you apply for a job where your potential employer does not know you are in recovery, it is up to you whether or not to disclose that information. Under such laws as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Workforce Investment Act, you are protected against discrimination due to any past alcohol or drug use. An employer is only allowed to ask an applicant if they are currently using illegal drugs.
If you were convicted of a crime related to your alcohol or drug use, you will generally need to report that to a potential employer. In this case, you may want to attach a letter to your application explaining that you have successfully completed a treatment program and are committed to living a sober life.
As you look at job postings, keep your recovery goals firmly in mind. If you find a job that sounds perfect, but you’re not qualified, don’t immediately dismiss the job. Find out if there is an entry-level position or internship that could help you achieve the necessary qualifications.
If a certification or degree is required but you are not financially able to pay for school, investigate whether your state unemployment office offers free schooling. For instance, the Florida Reemployment Assistance Program offers a variety of free classes and certification programs for Florida residents, in addition to employment assistance.
- Connect with the United States Department of Labor’s Career One Stop to explore careers, find training, and locate jobs.
- Check out America in Recovery, a non-profit organization that connects employers who are open to hiring those in recovery with prospective employees.
- Websites like Indeed.com and Monster.com offer hundreds of job postings. Once you create an online resume, you can easily apply to available jobs.
Remember that working your recovery program is more important than anything else. Take time to find a work situation that supports your recovery.
Turning Point of Tampa has been offering Licensed Residential Treatment for Addiction, Eating Disorders and Dual Diagnosis in Tampa since 1987.