Planning for the Future in Uncertain Times
In recovery, you will spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the past. After all, that’s what brought you into recovery in the first place. Poor choices and addictive behavior are things you can dissect and learn from, so you can change your life patterns. However, there always comes a time in recovery when you want to start looking forward to the future. Planning for your future can be an essential way to begin to change your life. Even when you’re forced to cope with uncertain times, such as COVID-19, there are ways for you to continue to change your life.
Creating Goals for the Future
When you were a kid, you probably had a dozen answers to what you wanted to do when you grew up. Addiction probably wasn’t something you could foresee. While COVID-19 may have seemed to stall some recovery plans, sometimes when there’s a will, there’s a way.
If you’re new to recovery, your goals are often simple. You probably want to repair relationships, stay sober, and establish a new job or career. For many people, this means therapy (which is available on the phone or online.) A therapist can also help you create other goals for the future as time moves on, and you get more time in sobriety.
Visualizing Your Future
Choosing a new path can be tricky, so it may help to visualize it. What does the perfect future feel like? Close your eyes. Who are you spending time with? Where do you live? What are you doing for work?
If you’re not sure what goals you have for the distant future, talking to a sponsor or your peers can help you. Often you’ll find that somebody who has several years sober is living your dream life. So it also helps to pay attention at 12-step meetings. Ask around if you are looking for some inspiration for a specific goal you have in mind. Others will be happy to explain how they went about it.
Working Toward Goals
One day at a time, you can start to work toward your goals. For example, if you realize that you have always wanted to be a chef, you now have time to figure out how to make that happen. While COVID-19 has affected our lives, it’s not impossible to search out new goals.
Research is the first thing you’ll want to do to learn more about the steps to make your goals happen. If you’re looking for a job, you’ll need to be able to use the internet to learn more about the requirements and credentials for a job. For a person who hopes to be a chef, this may mean getting a basic food handling certificate. (For example, the city of San Diego allows you to earn this certificate online for a small fee.) Or maybe you want to buy a new car. Searching for a safe, part-time job may require scouring help wanted ads. You can even learn to meditate or program computers online, usually for free or a small fee.
If you are looking for opportunities to change your life, they haven’t gone anywhere. You just have to be willing to accept the circumstances you’re living under today. COVID-19 won’t dictate our every move forever. Things will change, and so will you! So why not take the time to help yourself gain knowledge or skills as you work toward new goals.
Ask for help, advice, and guidance from your peers and people who have been in recovery for a while. You'll be surprised at the things you can accomplish!
Finding Fellowship in Sober Living
Are you looking for a way to branch out and be independent in recovery without taking too many chances? A community of others who are sober can help you continue to work on yourself and your goals, with a mixture of structure and independence. Get in touch with us to learn about which options are available to you right now by calling 760-216-2077.
Job loss is a big deal, even for those not in recovery. Life happens, however, and sometimes the loss of a job is out of your control. Whether it’s the economy or simply not being the right fit, losing your job can hurt your self-esteem. It’s one of the most stressful things a person can go through, but you must believe you can make it through to the other side and grow from the experience.
If you lost a job during your addiction, it might be hard to separate the feelings you have about your current situation from emotions about your past. Today, however, is a new day. You’re not the same person in sobriety that you were when you were using. As a sober person, you have a lot of great tools to help you cope with your current situation. Now is the time to use those tools.
Acknowledging the Feelings
It’s normal to feel sad or grieve job loss. After all, you probably made a few friends at your workplace. Maybe you really liked the work and the people you worked with there. A good job can also add self-confidence and a sense of worth to your life. When you lose a job, these feelings may suffer.
Acknowledge these feelings, and remember that this too shall pass. You may grieve for the job and the things it represented. Or maybe you are upset about the loss of financial security and the ability to provide for yourself or your family. Being sad is okay – but don’t wallow. Take some time to journal, beat up a pillow, or go for a run every day. These small acts of self-care can help you cope with your feelings.
Job loss can put a person through a lot of emotions. You may even have a desire to drink or use drugs. The great thing about being in recovery is that you don’t have to act on these feelings. Instead, allow yourself to have feelings. Share them with your sponsor and your support network. And don’t stop sharing them whenever you feel down – you’re not alone, and you’re certainly not the first person in recovery to lose a job.
After Job Loss Comes Job Seeking
You probably will want to try to find a new job immediately. Providing for yourself or your family is a real-world need. Make sure you get your resume together as well as a list of references. (Ask for help if you need it!)
Before you do anything else, find out about what unemployment benefits are available to you so that you can have some income right away. As a person in recovery, you’re going to need to look for solutions, even if it is humbling. Your state probably offers unemployment benefits, and depending on your needs, you may want to apply for EBT/food stamps as well. Taking care of these needs is essential so that you can focus on job seeking and your recovery.
Your state unemployment office will probably have a job database that you can look through every few days. Commit to apply for a certain number of jobs every week. Ask people in recovery for any work leads as well. There’s nothing shameful about needing a new job and getting help with your search.
Losing a job can be humbling, but it’s a part of life for most people. Doing the work and taking care of yourself can help you with the search for a new job. Just remember – without your sobriety, you can’t improve your life.
You CAN get through this by leaning on others and putting in the footwork. Don’t pick up a drink or drug, no matter what! If you want to use or drink, get yourself to a meeting and raise your hand. You deserve to stay sober and find a great new workplace.
Considering Sober Living?
A sober living home is a great jumping-off point for many people coming home from treatment. In a safe, friendly environment, you can learn to live life on its own terms, without the use of alcohol or drugs. Get help finding a place to live! You can call us at 760-216-2077. We can answer any questions you have.
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 Alison.com 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.
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.