How To Find Employment In Recovery

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Throughout your struggles with addiction, you may have found it difficult to maintain employment. Your addiction could have interfered with your ability to hold a job, leaving uncomfortable gaps in your resume. Your addiction may have prevented you from receiving the education or job skills that are necessary to gain employment. Some people have difficulties finding employment due to their criminal records. Whatever the reason, transitioning back into the workforce is an important step in your recovery. Studies show that people who find employment after their time in an addiction treatment facility have a better chance of maintaining sobriety. 

You’re going to keep facing challenging obstacles. This period can bring on additional stress and negative emotions, including dangerous self-doubt. This is a great time to utilize your coping skills. This journey is a tough one, but you are capable and worthy of success. Finding employment can be difficult – many employers may not give you the time of day. Remember, you only need one to give you a chance, so do not give up. Many employers out there actively want to hire people in recovery. They know that you are willing to put in the hard work that it takes to succeed, and that finding employment goes beyond just a paycheck to you. 

If you are fresh out of treatment and searching for employment, be patient, and stay persistent. Here are a few tips we recommend keeping in mind as you make the transition back into the workforce:

Network, Network, Network 

Networking is a vital part of getting a job for any candidate. Start with the people you already know. This could include your friends, family members, or sponsor. Check-in with the relationships that you are forming within your 12-Step or other programs – you may be surprised by how many people have been in the same predicament. Not only do they understand, chances are they can point you in a helpful direction for job leads. It’s more than likely that you are going to need to identify references for any potential employers; these people will be your references. Additionally, many treatment centers form partnerships with local businesses within the community that hire individuals that have completed treatment.  

Most importantly, continue growing your network. People find that when they connect with other organizations, such as local churches or civic organizations, they can build valuable relationships that continue to open up new possibilities.

Let Go Of Your Expectations

It can be personally challenging when you attempt to transition back into the workforce and you are unable to obtain a job or career for which you consider yourself qualified. Many applicants who have the educational background or the job experience may still not receive the jobs that they once were able to obtain. This could be because employers refuse to hire individuals with criminal backgrounds, or people who have large gaps in their job history. Letting go of expectations may mean being open to jobs that you have never considered before.

Use Job Search Engines and Resource Centers

Your network group is not the only option you have for finding employment. There are a variety of job-search programs designed specifically for people with histories of substance abuse and criminal activity. The Department of Labor or Social Services can provide potential employees with guidance, education, and job placement services.

America in Recovery maintains a free job board that helps former addicts, ex-convicts, and at-risk youth to find employment. Another great resource is The National HIRE Network, which provides job-related assistance to people who are seeking employment across the country. This resource is available online and can provide individuals with resources and information regarding employment wherever they live. 

Additional resources include:

  • Local unemployment and government-run employment assistance programs
  • Online job boards run by local and state health agencies
  • Springwire’s Community Voicemail service
  • LinkedIn (offers free educational podcasts as well as job openings)
  • Meetup groups that host live workshops, trainings, and other educational events

You Don’t Always Have To Disclose Your Past Substance Abuse 

Disclosing your past battles with addiction is a personal choice. You’re not required to bring up this information to potential employers. Federal civil rights laws protect Americans from being discriminated against due to a disability, which includes mental health problems and substance use disorders. If you do not feel comfortable disclosing this information, you don’t have to. Employers may ask about gaps in your work history, for which you can explain that you decided to take time off for personal reasons. However, if an employer does ask about your criminal history, you are required to disclose truthful information.

The most important thing to remember is to not get discouraged. With patience and persistence, you will find a great job and get back on your feet.

 Transitioning back into the workforce after you have spent time in recovery can be intimidating. Many people know the importance of gaining employment but don’t know where to start. There are opportunities and resources available to you. Start with the networking system that is right in front of you. Reach out to your friends, family, and people that are associated with your recovery process. Your sponsor and the people in your 12-Step program understand what you’re going through, and can set you up with the right people or employers who may give you a chance. It’s important to let go of your expectations, as you may need to consider an industry you have never worked in before. Know your rights as an employee, including which information you are and are not required to disclose. Get the support you need to continue being successful throughout this new walk of life, and hold to the changes you have worked so hard to make. Call Everlast Recovery today at 866-DETOX-25. 

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