professional addiction recovery program

Ask any recovered addict and they will tell you that overcoming their drug or alcohol dependence is one of the most difficult experiences they have ever gone through.

But the end of that rehab journey does not mean that the rest of life is going to be easy – far from it.

Getting life back on track after drug or alcohol treatment can be difficult, and the difficulties recovered addicts face can challenge their sobriety and increase their risk of a relapse.

One of the biggest obstacles former addicts face in trying to maintain their sobriety is how to rebuild their careers, a process that is often fraught with employer skepticism.

Finding and maintaining gainful employment is a critical step on the road to a lasting recovery, especially since many addicts did not enter recovery in the best of financial circumstances. Whether you are working on your own recovery or trying to help a formerly addicted friend or family member, here are some of the employment-related challenges you are likely to face, and some tips for overcoming them.

Understand the Challenges You Are Facing

If your goal is to overcome an obstacle, you first need to know what that challenge is. No matter what their backgrounds, recovered addicts face a unique set of challenges as they polish up their resumes and start searching for a job.

The challenges recovered addicts and alcoholics face when reentering the workplace include:

  • Gaps on their resumes during periods of addiction, rehab, and unemployment
  • A history of arrest and/or imprisonment
  • Negative references from past employers
  • A spotty employment history
  • Poor educational background
  • Skill deficit, especially with recent skills

Once you understand the challenges you face, you can begin making a plan to overcome those obstacles. If your problem is a lack of education or skills, for instance, taking night classes and enrolling in a training program could help you close that gap. If there are gaps in your resume, you can work on addressing those issues during mock job interviews with your friends.

Be Realistic About Your Expectations

For recovered addicts who are ready to reenter the workplace, it is important to set realistic expectations. Whether it is fair or not, those with a history of addiction and recovery may not be able to reenter the workforce at the same level they were at when they last held a good-paying job.

It may be necessary, for instance, to aim a few steps down on the career ladder, or even start over in an entry-level position. The point is that you may need to prove yourself all over again, demonstrating your solid work ethic and building a history of successes you can point to when opportunities for raises and promotions come along.

Tap Into Your Network

Networking is a critical skill for those in recovery from addiction and alcoholism, with 12-step programs designed to help people fight cravings and get the ongoing support they need. Tapping into that network of support can stop a potential relapse in its tracks and help those recovered from addiction turn their lives around.

Networking can also be a powerful ally in any job search, and in this regard recovered addicts may actually have a leg up on other job seekers. The network you have worked so hard to build could be turned to your advantage, so think about who you know and how they can help you find a great job.

Don’t Go it Alone, Join a Recovery Community

Join a recovery community where you will find safe, supportive care as you transition back into society and seek work opportunities.

Burning Tree West’s Professional Program helps residents transition back into work while receiving support, therapy, and joining a 12 Step community that will help you stay sober. You will get continued treatment for addiction recovery and structured support for your career.

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