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Finding Work After Addiction Treatment

As a person in recovery from addiction, you’ve gone through a lot of struggles just to stay sober. It’s not easy to fight against a substance use disorder. Treatment and therapy can help you cope with the transition from addiction to recovery. But what about when you have to spend most of your time in the “real world”? Will you be able to return to your career, or find work at all when you’re newly clean and sober? This can be quite a challenge for some people. But it’s a fact of life that everyone needs to have money to cover life expenses, such as shelter, food and other necessities.

Explaining Gaps in Employment

A lot of people in recovery feel they must explain gaps in employment on their resume. After all, you may have quit a job and gone on a bender, or simply remained unemployed for months or years because your addiction was in control. When addiction is control, a person may steal, show up late or not at all, or otherwise exercise poor judgement that leaves them unemployed.

A poor work history isn’t something that you can gloss over. If you want to resume a career and have a troubled work history, you may have to humble yourself with a job that pays your bills even if it isn’t your dream job.

It’s best to be honest about any mental health issues and your addiction/recovery up front. While you may feel there is stigma attached to your recovery, honesty is always best when you’re starting a new relationship with a potential employer.

If You Have a Criminal Record

Nowadays almost every employer does a background check when choosing who to hire. You should be prepared to admit this upfront and explain the ways you have made amends.

It’s true that if you have history of drug or alcohol-related offenses, you’re less likely to be offered interviews or a job. Be honest about your struggles and explain how you’re overcoming them.

Taking Different Jobs

We all live in the real world where it’s important to be realistic. If you need a job to pay the bills, then you need to humble yourself and take a job even if it’s not in your chosen field.

You can work a job while showing your dedication to the career you want. This means volunteering, getting more education, and working on getting a significant amount of sober time.

If you can’t find the job you want, or you keep getting turned down, it’s time for you to consider upgrading your skills. It’s important that you stay sober and always make that priority. If you stay sober, and continue to work, future employers will see your dedication and stability.

There are hundreds of free classes with certificates you can use to improve your resume while working a job outside of your field. Try classes from or Coursera. Most of them are free!

Of course, asking around at 12-step meetings for job leads, guidance or other help can give you a leg up when it comes to job hunting. Never be afraid to ask for help, you’ll one day be able to pay it forward.

Living Sober

Are you looking for some extra support or a way to live with your recovering peers? Consider sober homes. Living with others who have similar goals can help you stay focused and safe from triggers. Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.



Read Full Bio
Mark Gladden
CEO / Founder
Mark Gladden is the founder of By The Sea Recovery, a sober living facility located in beautiful San Diego, California. After struggling with addiction, Mark finally found recovery and a new purpose in life, to help others who are battling the same battle he faced.
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