Content reviewed by Nicholas G. Glines, Executive Director at New Hope Ranch
One of the most common challenges following treatment is seeking job placement. Such obstacles might include a gap in employment, uncertainty about revealing your substance use or lack of confidence in yourself. Further, returning to the job market can create stress that could interfere with your recovery. Understand that you are not alone. More than 28 million Americans meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. You can find employment and manage your recovery.
Where to Start When Finding Work After Addiction Treatment
Perhaps the most intimidating aspect of returning to the workforce is not knowing where to start. However, recovery is a rebirth all about rising to your potential and tapping into what motivates you. To start, consider your résumé. What are your work experience, level of education and career goals now that you are sober? These fundamental questions could shed light and provide reassurance in knowing what you are qualified to do and the areas you need to pursue to develop the necessary skills for your career goals.
When you lay everything out, you will have an excellent foundation for knowing where to begin. When you have a handle on this, you can create a plan that incorporates your experience and goals. For further help with direction, ask yourself the following questions:
- What job have you enjoyed the most?
- Would you take back your previous job?
- What skills do you have or value?
- When you think of yourself in a career position, what sparks the most excitement and motivation?
Staying Optimistic in Your Job Search After Treatment
Often, many individuals lose hope because they do not have a plan and therefore apply to every job despite knowing they do not have the qualifications. The idea of casting a broad net will either lead to disappointment when you do not get a job or accept an offer for a role you do not want. The latter can lead to unwanted stress and even relapse. You can gain peace of mind knowing that taking time to compose a résumé based on your experiences and expectations will go much farther in finding a job opportunity that suits you.
The Job Search is Overwhelming
It is understandable to become apprehensive when looking for a job, especially after treatment. Remember, there are plenty of professional opportunities for individuals in recovery. Much like sustaining recovery, finding the right opportunity will take time. It is essential to focus on the stepping stone goals along the way because the smaller ones will lead you toward your overall goal. Some aspects to consider along the way include:
- Have reasonable expectations. Read each job description carefully and do not be afraid to ask questions when prompted by your future employer. Trust your instincts; it is okay to move on if you don’t get a good feeling about the position.
- Pay attention to the working environment. If you like structure and routine, then a job with high demands and a fluctuating schedule will not be the best fit. Understand what you will be doing before committing.
- Does the position offer growth? Finding a position with growth opportunities in a field you enjoy is ideal. Therefore, taking an internship or volunteer position is great for getting your foot in the door and making an impression on your potential employer.
Seek Help From Peers
Peers in your support network understand what you are experiencing. Therefore, reaching out for help can lead to career opportunities. Since the recovery community is big on helping one another, attending peer support volunteer opportunities, 12-Step programs in Texas or other social events can put you in touch with potential employers. The positivity and encouragement from counselors, therapists and peers are enough to keep you motivated.
Know Your Rights
It is important to understand that you have rights. Substance use is considered a disability under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). This means that employers cannot discriminate during the hiring process. This law applies even during the interview stage. While employers will ask about any criminal record, they may also ask about past substance use. Remember, there are certain things they cannot legally ask you. You only need to disclose relevant information for your employer to know and nothing more. If they try to dig deeper into your past experiences with substances, they are crossing the line.
Transitioning from treatment to a life of recovery is not smooth. Treatment required you to take the focus off of your professional life to become sober. Rebuilding your career will take time, but you can find motivation in knowing that you have a blank canvas to create the life you want. It will take time and there will be setbacks; instead of feeling defeated by setbacks, learn from them. Each setback or “mistake” is an opportunity to learn, and if you keep learning from your experiences, you will continue to move forward.
Finding your “new normal” in recovery will take time. Luckily, at New Hope Ranch just outside of Austin, Texas, we provide you with the tools necessary to confront life’s challenges. Take the necessary steps towards healing with New Hope Ranch. To find out more about our programs, contact us today at (737) 600-8565.