Successfully navigating through a recovery program and incorporating recovery techniques outside of the recovery sphere is a huge accomplishment. However, moving back into the “real world” after completing a recovery program can present a number of new hurdles. One of the most prevalent obstacles that await a person during this transition is their reintroduction to the workforce.
It is common to be nervous about how a person is supposed to talk about their time in addiction recovery, or even wonder if they should bring up such topics at all during interviews or when composing resumes. Explaining the work gap in one’s job history or how one has developed certain skills can be an anxiety-inducing experience. However, venturing back into the workforce as a sober and capable person is possible, and there are a number of things to keep in mind as each person makes this transition.
You Decide When to Bring Up Your Past
The decision to discuss one’s past with addictive substances is always one’s own, regardless of the situation. While some people may want to be upfront about their experiences and approach their interview with a sense of transparency, others may deem such information irrelevant to the position at hand and will choose to avoid the topic altogether. Only the individual themselves can decide which approach is appropriate for them in their situation.
However, it is important to ensure that all of one’s avenues are consistent with the message they are presenting. Employers may check one’s social media posts or other public information. Keeping one’s social media profiles devoid of these indications if they do not wish to discuss them is crucial for keeping one’s image consistent.
However, if an individual’s use of an addictive substance resulted in legal ramifications, it may be helpful to get out ahead of the information and address one’s past by presenting the person they have become rather than whenever the incident occurred. Being transparent with this information can open up a dialogue in which an individual has an opportunity to explain the nature of addiction and their experiences rather than leave such information to the imagination or preconceived notions of the employer.
Remember that just because someone has decided to speak about their past experiences doesn’t mean that they have to disclose every detail. Deciding beforehand if one is going to talk about their experiences and how much information they are willing to divulge about the situation can help each person prepare for the conversations ahead.
Be Ready to Address Difficult Questions
Successfully moving through the recovery sphere and making progress in one’s recovery programs is cause for celebration. Unfortunately, not all people are as privy to the nuance surrounding addiction and addiction recovery as the professionals and peers within the recovery sphere. Employers may have varying amounts of knowledge about the nature of addiction as a disease. It is important to be prepared to address addiction and explain it in a way that approaches the situation for the disease that it is, rather than as the result of a perceived lack of willpower.
Focus on Your Skills and Qualifications
One’s past with addiction can make the interview process even more stressful. However, it is important to remember that this is still an interview to obtain a certain working position and not a quiz on the past with any addictive substances. Focusing on one’s qualifications, skills, and experience in a certain field is still the priority. It is important to use this time to present oneself and their abilities in their present state.
The recovery program itself can even help to bolster one’s resume by providing opportunities to practice many life skills, time management, and communication skills–all of which can be highlighted and translated into the workplace. Remember that lack of job experience or employment gaps does not mean a lack of skill-building. Many learn crucial skills d or engage in mentorships and other volunteer activities during recovery.
Focusing on one’s skills, objective accomplishments, and qualifications for a certain position can help lift focus off of drugs or alcohol as a part of the interview process. However, it is still useful to know one’s rights as a potential employee. Continuing to drive one’s successes and accomplishments over their past is paramount in creating an atmosphere where a person cannot be judged on their past. Knowing what anti-discrimination laws are in place can also help put an individual at ease and reinforce the importance of current abilities over past experiences while providing a safety net against discrimination.
Reestablishing oneself as a part of the workforce following a recovery program is a difficult transition to make. However, Everlast Recovery is here to help you learn to make this adjustment and better understand your skills and strategies following an addiction recovery program. We work closely with you to continue to develop professional and life skills each step of the way. Your time with us in any of our programs can be personalized to meet you where you are in your recovery journey, helping to continue to develop specific strategies or learn new skills based on your own goals throughout the process. This is all backed by our curated, home-like atmosphere designed to help you relax with the aid of home-cooked meals and a comfortable, supportive atmosphere. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (866) 338-6925.