When people walk away from an addiction they can begin to rebuild their life. The wonderful thing is that it will be possible for the individual to completely turn things around so that they can find success in recovery. A key element for life for most people is employment. This is not only needed to pay the bills. The individual can also get a great deal of personal satisfaction from their career. Some people who enter recovery will be lucky enough to still have a job that they love. Other people are initially unemployed in sobriety or doing a job that they do not particularly enjoy. Finding meaningful work in recovery is something that a great many people in recovery will have to deal with at one stage or another.
It is often advised that those who people should avoid making any major changes to their lie within the first year of recovery. The reason for this is that usually those who are in early sobriety will already have enough going on in their life. Additional stress could be overwhelming, and this might derail their sobriety. Another reason for why such advice is given is that it can take a bit of time before people know what they want out of their life. Major choices that are made early in sobriety might later be the source of regret.
This advice to avoid major life changes in early sobriety is sound, but it is not always practical. Life does not stop just because people are trying to get their life back together. Sometimes the luxury of delaying major change is not going to be available and people will be forced into taking action. This can sometimes be the case with employment; if people are out of work it may not be feasible to put off looking for a new job for a year. The individual may have dependents who are relying on a paycheck.
It isn’t just unemployment that motivates people to look for a new job. These are some other common reasons:
* When people become sober, they tend to see things in a different way. This may mean that their current job is no longer suitable for them, and they may want to try something else. It is important not to rush into this type of job change, but it can be a positive life-changing choice.
* The job that the individual currently has may not be suitable for somebody who is trying to stay sober. A good example would be individuals who have a job that involves spending a great deal of time around alcohol. This might not be a good career for people trying to escape alcoholism.
* When people are involved in substance abuse it can interfere with their ability to be effective at work. Things can become so bad that the individual loses their job and is now unemployed.
* The individual does not need to have been sacked for their substance abuse to harm their career. Even though they are now sober the relationship between them and their employers can be so bad that a change of job is an attractive option.
* If people have behaved badly in the past it might not always be the case that colleagues are willing to forgive and forget. The individual may feel that they are always being judged for their previous misdeeds. Colleagues may make snide remarks and the person in recovery may feel like they are never really trusted. It can be difficult to work in such an atmosphere so the best option might be to seek alternative employment.
* When people are in the midst of an addiction their policy to work may be to do the bare minimum – so long as they receive their paycheck each month they are satisfied. This attitude tends to go away when people become sober. They can become ambitious. In their attempts to climb higher in their career, the individual may need to change jobs.
One of the toughest decisions that people need to make when applying for jobs is whether or not to disclose their former addiction to their employer. There are those who would advise those in recovery to be completely upfront about their past history. Such honesty is highly commendable, but the reality is that employers may be automatically prejudiced against such candidates. Currently, the job market is a tough place, and admitting to an addiction could make finding employment a real challenge. Even if the candidate is offered the job after such an admission to previous substance abuse problems, this information might later be used against them.
It is never a good idea to lie to potential employers. If this dishonesty is discovered later it could be used as a reason for dismissal. There is usually no obligation for the individual to disclose information about their former addiction at a job interview. It is classified as a disease, so the interviewer will not be allowed to push too hard for such information. Previous employers are also not expected to disclose anything about their former employee’s addiction.
The choice to tell potential employers about a former addiction is a personal one. Those who are determined to live a life of rigorous honesty may feel that they need to be open about their recovery no matter what the consequences. Other people who are desperate for employment may decide that it would be unwise to volunteer such information.
These are the steps that people can take to find employment in recovery:
* Many companies that offer internship programs. This is a type of apprenticeship that gives the individual the opportunity to gain the experience and skills they need to work in the industry in which this business is situated. An internship can lead directly to a job offer or at least give the individual something impressive to put on their résumé. Most types of internship are unpaid. In some cases, the individual may even need to pay money to join.
* Those individuals who have been unemployed for a long time may find that volunteer work is a good way to get back into full-time employment. Even if this does not lead to an actual job offer, it can provide work experience. Those who already have a job might also consider volunteer work as a means to picking up new skills and expertise. If people have a strong desire to work in a certain industry, then they could gain entry by initially offering their services for free. Volunteer work can also have other benefits for people in recovery.
* If people have a criminal record and they live in the United States, they will be able to use the HIRE Network when looking for employment. This resource puts the individual in touch with employers and organizations that will be willing to offer the opportunity to get back into work. The HIRE Network website offers employment options for every state in the US.
* Some individuals who become sober will find that they no longer like the idea of working for other people. They may decide that a better option is to start their own small business. This can be a good option for people who are already established in their sobriety; it is likely to involve too much stress for those who are newly sober. Starting a business is a commitment that involves plenty of time and effort. It may be possible to start up an online enterprise relatively cheaply, but most small businesses require at least some type of startup capital. If people are already in employment it is best to work on their small business part time until they are sure of a steady income from it.
* It is a good idea for people in recovery to get plenty of support when looking for employment. Those who belong to a recover fellowship will be able find such support in the meetings or directly from their sponsor. Those who have a therapist will be able to turn to this professional for guidance. During any job hunt there can be a great deal of stress and disappointment; even getting the job will cause plenty of turbulence in sobriety. It is crucial that the individual is prepared for this before they begin their job hunt; otherwise their sobriety could be derailed because of it.