We’ll just come right out and say it: finding employment after addiction or substance abuse is often no easy feat.
Not impossible, but a little strange. Between the unexplained gaps in your resume and the fact that you may have taken an extended leave of work during your treatment, finding new work can be difficult to navigate.
That being said, financial stability is a HUGE step toward lifelong sobriety, and at SAL, we want to help you get there.
You may be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about where to start. Because returning to an old job is not usually an option, you’ll be starting from scratch. Over time, we promise that things will get better, but the transitional phase may take some adjusting.
To help, we’ve outlined 7 tips for finding employment after addiction below. Let’s jump in.
7 Tips for Finding Employment After Addiction or Substance Abuse
1. Update Your Resume
A resume is required for most job applications, so this is a solid step one. If you don’t have one, this is your opportunity. And if you do? It’s likely time for a refresh and overhaul. There are lots of resources online to help you highlight your best skills and experiences.
Maybe you didn’t gain new work experience during your time in treatment, but you could have gained valuable skills worth mentioning. For example, strong communication, work ethic, and self-motivation are great to include.
Consider your volunteer work, as well. This looks great on a resume and helps add to your existing skill sets.
2. Take Advantage of Your Resources
There are so many resources available to you – you’ve just got to tap in!
Treatment Recovery Centers
Most treatment centers and programs provide services to help with your transitional time. This can look like transportation, housing, childcare, and job assistance.
Don’t overlook this incredible resource for finding employment after addiction. Ask your treatment provider what assistance is offered in this area.
Sober Living Resources
If you’ve completed treatment and found a sober community to live in, you probably have resources available to you there, too.
For example, we offer all kinds of job-related services to our residents at Sober Apartment Living (SAL). Between job assistance, career planning, transportation, skill development, and our technology center onsite, we put a special focus on finding employment after addiction.
The career support will vary depending on the community you live in, so make sure you ask and utilize all that your sober housing has to offer.
State-Operated Assistance Programs
There are plenty of state-operated assistance programs to help you find work. Check out the Vocational Rehabilitation program through Arizona to learn more about their services.
3. Use Your Network
Ask your therapist, counselor, doctor, support group, friend, or family member for help. Your recovery journey has put all these people in your path, and there’s a chance that one of them can help you out.
Whether they tell you about a job opening or simply ask around on your behalf, these networks can be very useful when finding employment after addiction.
4. Search for Opportunities Online
There are a ton of great websites to help people in recovery find lasting work. We’ve outlined a few of our favorite resources for finding employment in sobriety, including sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter.
5. Do Your Research
Before you head into an interview, know your rights.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ensures that, in an interview, potential employers cannot ask about your history with legal drugs like alcohol and prescribed medication.
You are welcome to share your recovery journey, as employers are not allowed to discriminate against you for participating in a recovery program. However, we recommend sharing only what is necessary – if any related information is necessary at all.
Your recovery is not who you are, nor is it all you offer a workplace. Focus on all the positives, while keeping your answers honest.
6. Don’t Overdo It
At the end of the day, your healthy recovery is the most important thing. Don’t push yourself too hard to get to a certain place because it feels like you should.
Check in with yourself often and assess new job opportunities through this lens. If you need to start in an entry-level job or on part-time hours, do it.
You can always work your way up if and when you want.
7. Let Go of Your Expectations
Finding employment after addiction is going to have its ups and downs. When you feel discouraged, just remember that this is a process. Things might not work out right away, but you’ll get there.
Getting Ready for Employment After Addiction
Finding work in this crucial life stage is huge, but it’s something that you should take in stride.
Before you make any big moves, make sure that you are in the right physical and emotional place for this next step. Having a strong and supportive community is a major component – even in the workforce.
Here at SAL, we offer sober apartment living for people who want to live a sober life in freedom and community. To assist our residents, we do offer career-related services, as well. Learn more about our sober community today.