After treatment for addiction, you’re ready to get your life back on track. Typically, that means finding a job.
There may be some obstacles, such as gaps in work history or references, possible arrests, and uncertainty about revealing your past. Fortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act does legally prohibit discrimination on the basis of medical history, including drug addiction and rehab.
You may also be concerned about finding a job that won’t have a negative impact on your recovery.
Look for a job or career that offers a degree of stability, such as regular hours, clear expectations, and routine tasks. It’s also a good idea to find a job that allows for upward mobility, giving you something to strive for. Many recovering addicts also find fulfillment in careers that help others.
If you’re still not sure where to begin, check out our list of the top 5 best jobs after treatment.
Your Previous Career
If you had a career prior to entering recovery, returning to this career can be an excellent option. For at least the first year of recovery, it’s a good idea to avoid making too many drastic changes. This can include switching careers.
While everything else in your life is shifting, it can be nice to have something stable and familiar, like a previous job. Of course, you shouldn’t return to your previous career if it involved being around alcohol, substances, or negative influences, or if it in any way contributed to your addiction.
Finding a career in recovery can be helpful for both you and other recovering addicts.
A fulfilling career that allows you to help others can give you a sense of purpose, meaning, and motivation. Plus, research shows that helping others actually helps alcoholics and other addicts maintain their sobriety.
You also have a lot to offer to people struggling with addiction: firsthand knowledge and experience, empathy, passion for giving the help you’ve received, and a message of hope.
There are some concerns though with finding a recovery-related job while in early recovery. We recommend waiting until a year in sobriety before finding a paying job in recovery. Exceptions can be made however if clinical review is done and it is found to be in your best interest, so be sure to speak with your therapist or a sponsor regarding this decision.
Jobs related to recovery can include addiction counseling, recovery coaching, and social work. Varying levels of education and experience are required, but many positions will also allow on the job training. You can also work as a recovery or counseling aide.
Other Jobs That Give Back
Jobs in recovery aren’t for everyone, however. If it’s still early in your recovery, you may not be ready to be a constant source of strength for other addicts.
However, any job that helps others can give you a sense of happiness, fulfillment, and self-esteem. Other options include being a teacher, personal trainer, yoga instructor, librarian, assistant or receptionist, or anything else that allows you to give back. You can also work for a nonprofit, church, or other community organization.
Office jobs are a good option because they tend to offer stability and routine. Most office jobs also provide opportunities for growth and promotion, which can give you a goal to work toward.
The type of office job you’re qualified for depends on your past experience and education. In most cases, you should be able to find entry level work as a clerk, assistant, or receptionist. From there, you can seek additional training or education and work to move up in the company.
Temp Work, Construction, or Trades
If you need a job that will focus on your current skills more than on your past history, try temp work, construction, or trades.
With a temp agency, you’re temporarily placed into various jobs, which may give you an idea of what career you’d like to explore permanently. Some temp jobs are also temp-to-permanent and can lead to more consistent employment.
Construction crews and trades train you as you go and provide a reasonable starting salary for fit, motivated employees.
After recovering from addiction, consider returning to your previous career as a source of stability.
If that’s not an option, try to find a fulfilling career that allows you to help others, or that provides opportunities for upward mobility.
You can also look for steady entry-level work that allows you to earn a paycheck and build job skills as you take steps to rebuild your life.