Sobriety is all about freedom and new opportunities. No matter how fall down people have gone down as a result of their addiction they should be able to rebuild their life. Just stop alcohol or drug addiction is not going to make life perfect automatically, but it is a necessary start. Once the individual is settled into life in sobriety they will be able to greatly improve their own situation. One of the areas where they may want to focus their attention will be on their career.
A career is much more than just a job. It can be defined as a course or progress through life. A job can be something that people only do to make money – a means to an end. A career is more like a series of connected jobs that often involve improved opportunities. It is also possible to look upon a career as the jobs that have been done in the past combined with what is planned for the future.
Some people will be lucky enough to get sober and already have a career that they feel satisfied with. Other people may decide that they are unhappy with their current profession and they want to try something else. The job that may be suitable for somebody in the midst of an addiction may not be such a wonderful proposition when they are sober. It is usual for addicts to put up with any job so long as it gives them enough money to party. When they enter recovery they may be looking for much more from their employment. This may mean that they wish to change jobs or begin a completely new career. The wonderful thing about recovery is that it gives people the opportunity to completely change direction in their life.
If people just move from job to job without any strategy it is more difficult for them to find success. This is because in order for people to be somewhere they want to be they have to decide where that is and how to get there. A career path is like a map that the individual follows in order to get to their goal. The benefits of having such a map include:
* It greatly increases the chances of finding success in employment.
* It will look better on a résumé if there seems to be logical reasons for changes in employment. If people have a sketchy employment history with no convincing explanations for job changes it will not impress potential employers.
* Having a goal and a plan for how to get there makes work easier. It stops the individual from feeling like they are stuck in a job with no future.
* Success does not usually just come to people automatically in recovery. They have to work towards this and developing a career path may be part of this.
* Addicts tend to suffer from low self-esteem and they can carry this with them into recovery. Finding success in their chosen career path can help them rebuild their self-esteem.
It is often advised that people avoid making any major changes in the first year of sobriety. This is because they will already have a great deal to focus on with just building a life away from addiction. If people were to add the additional stress of making career changes or other life changes it could prove too much for them. They may become overwhelmed and relapse as a consequence.
It can also take a year or two in recovery before the individual gets to know themselves well enough to decide what they really want out of life. When people are addicted to alcohol or drugs it numbs them to their feelings and aspirations. It is only when they have spent some time in sobriety that they develop a better understanding of who they are. When people first become sober their thinking can be a bit fuzzy. If they rush into any life changing decisions then this may be something they regret later on. Of course sometimes it will not be possible for people to delay such decisions. If that is the case they will need plenty of support during the change to ensure that their sobriety is not put at risk.
In order to build a successful life away from addiction it is necessary for people to have a bit of balance in their life. Some people become so obsessed with their career that it begins to put their sobriety at risk. This is known as an addiction substitution. The individual is behaving towards work as they once did towards alcohol or drugs. They are attempting to hide from their feelings and problems by becoming obsessed with work. Like all other types of addiction this one causes deterioration to the life of the individual. It can also lead people back to their former addiction. Putting a great deal of effort into a career can be satisfying and rewarding, but only if it is not at the expense of other important areas of the individuals’ life.
It is common for people who are in recovery to make the decision to further their education. This may involve returning full-time to college or just attending an evening class. Some individuals will just do this for personal satisfaction, but most will be hoping that it improves their employment opportunities. Many addicts will have left school with hardly any qualifications so going back to college in sobriety can be completely life changing. It can open the door to new options and opportunities. It can also give people access to a whole new career.
In order to build a career in sobriety people can:
* Take time to decide what it really is that they want to achieve in their career. There is no need to rush into any decisions.
* It is worth taking the time to write down a career path plan. It will often be necessary to alter this plan as conditions change but it can be a useful blueprint to guide people towards their career goals.
* It is not a good idea to sacrifice relationships for a career. It is often said that nobody regrets not spending more time in the office on their deathbed.
* The fact that people have chosen to sober will usually mean that they will perform better at work. This alone may be enough alone to improve their chances of career advancement.
* It is usually easier to advance in an existing career than to start afresh with something new. The decision to change career paths should not be rushed into.
* Added responsibility can mean additional stress for people. They need to be sure that they have the coping strategies to handle this stress before accepting additional responsibilities.
* If people are happy with their current career and position there is no need for them to change anything.
* It is usually a good idea for people in recovery to get as much support as they can when making any major career changes. This support could come from friends, family, fellowship meetings, sponsors, or a therapist.