When you’ve completed a drug or alcohol treatment program, you might feel on top of the world and ready to conquer anything. Unfortunately, the reality isn’t always so kind, and one of the first problems you’re likely to face is how to rejoin the workforce.
Being unemployed can lead anyone to face a variety of stressors, such as loss of income, too much idle time, or depression, and for someone in recovery, it will be tempting to return to drugs or alcohol to cope.
If you have a criminal record related to drug or alcohol use, this can also lower your chances of finding gainful employment. Some employers might not want to hire a person with a felony record, in particular, or you may be unable to meet the criteria for hiring. For example, someone whose driving license has been suspended or revoked won’t be able to work as a truck or bus driver or delivery person. For that matter, no license might mean that someone simply can’t travel to where jobs are available.
Even if you don’t have a record, there might still be a lengthy period of unemployment on your resume that you will have to account for. While you shouldn’t have to share personal details of your recovery with everyone who asks, the unfortunate truth is that refusing to explain probably won’t do you any favors either. In fact, addiction is classified as a disease, so you are not legally obligated to tell a prospective employer about your treatment for substance abuse.
If you need help finding employment, there are services available to help. America in Recovery is a nonprofit organization that connects recovering addicts and those with criminal records with employers through a free website. The U.S. Department of Labor has job centers that offer training referrals, career counseling, job listings, and more.
You may also consider going back to school. Whether you’re interested in a four-year degree or some sort of technical training, financial aid and grants are available to help. If you have a more immediate need for work, there are job training programs, apprenticeships, and internships. Even volunteer work could eventually lead to something permanent. There are also temp agencies that match people with temporary jobs, which can give you something to put on your resume and maybe even lead to something you’re interested in long-term.
If you’ve attended a good treatment program, there should be people available through that facility to help you with employment. Counselors, sponsors, and people you’ve met in group therapy or 12-step meetings are also potential sources of information.
Remember to be patient. Stressing yourself out too much as you job search is only going to be counterproductive and may threaten your sobriety. You might not find the perfect job or the best paying one right away, but just keep pushing forward.
If you or a loved one need help to quit drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.