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Returning to the Work Force as an Addict 18 Sep 2017

Returning to the Work Force as an Addict

We addicts have to focus on staying clean and working a program of recovery more than anything else. But this doesn’t mean we can forego our duties and daily responsibilities; life didn’t stop while we were using and it sure doesn’t stop just because we decided to get clean. For most addicts, the first thing on their mind when getting discharged from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center will be employment. We all have bills and debt, even more so for most addicts, so employment typically ranks high on the list of priorities. “Just go get a job, they’re everywhere!” – unfortunately, it’s not that simple, although I’ve heard plenty of people say that to me over the years. As Charlie Day once said in an episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”;

“Oh get a job? Just get a job? Why don’t I just strap on my job helmet, and squeeze down into a job cannon and fire off into job land where jobs grow on jobbies”

Sorry, I’m obsessed with that show. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. Unless you’re looking for a job, then go do that first.

Facing Unique Challenges

Addicts who are newly clean face challenges that are unlike the typical challenges facing the rest of the job market. How do you explain a three-year employment gap? I wouldn’t tell the interviewer you were smoking crack in a Honda Accord (ok, that was me). Often times an addict lacks certain skills that the average person takes for granted. For instance, when I first came into recovery I had absolutely no idea how to create a resume. It’s not because I’m stupid or don’t know how to write, I just hadn’t learned that skill early on because I was too busy pursuing a life of shameless opiate use. I wasn’t confident with how to format it, or what exactly to focus on writing for it. Many addicts lack the necessary education to pursue better jobs. They may have decided not to go on to college after high school or worse yet, they may not have gotten their high school diploma or GED.

I Got 99 Problems and They’re All Money

Lots of us come into recovery with an enormous amount of financial problems; for me, it was a 420 credit score, no bank account in multiple years and several thousand dollars in credit card debt and outstanding loans. Personally, I think they should stop referring to lack of payment as “outstanding” I mean what the hell is so outstanding about crushing debt? The point is that unfortunately, people in the job market face an ironic catch 22; you’re looking for a job because you need money, but they punish you for having a bad credit score by not hiring you in some cases. This is clearly bad news for a subset of the population that is willing to wreck their credit score if it means instant cash to get high with.

Due to financial struggles, many of us don’t have the money to purchase a car. In some parts of the country, this isn’t a problem, in others, it’s a minor inconvenience but in a lot of areas, this is a major issue. Lots of employers don’t want to hire someone they feel can’t be relied upon to make it to work on time. Some are lucky enough to own a car but they lost their license due to a crime they committed such as driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

This all sounds like a lot, and it is. It seems as though it is an insurmountable obstacle, an exercise in futility; it isn’t. I was lucky enough to own a car when I first got clean. It was a piece of crap but it ran and for that, I am extremely grateful. But I had other challenges of my own; bad credit, no money, arrest record and very few friends. But people guided me through what seemed like the darkest of paths.

people on a job interview

Making it Work

We are by far some of the most intelligent and resourceful people alive; who else do you know that could wake up sick every single day with not a single dollar and be well by noon? We take nothing and make it into something. How many addicts have gotten clean and went back to school to become doctors, lawyers, and engineers? How many have gone on to start successful businesses?

So how do we make this work? Like anything else we make it work by putting one foot in front of the other and taking things one day at a time. Take advantage of the available resources. The way I began was by choosing an area that I struggled with the most and tackling that problem. If you aren’t sure how to format or write your resume, many rehab programs bring in experts to help you with your resume. Local community colleges and high schools usually have classes and seminars to teach people the necessary basic skills for job hunting. For those of you struggling in the education department, it’s never too late to go back to school no matter where you left off! Sign up for a local GED program or community college if you already have your high school diploma. If you’re in a bind and need to find work as soon as possible, sign up for a program like Workforce; they help you find work for the day and pay you daily. Be sure to network and meet as many people as possible in recovery within your preferred fellowship. The person you meet may be your next boss! If you were fortunate enough to attend rehab and they have an alumni program be sure to attend their meetings and events, this is another great way to network.

Above all be sure to stay clean, work a program of recovery and maintain a positive attitude. One thing I have seen work time and time again is when an addict simply refuses to use and never gives up. Those are the addicts you need to be around. I don’t know if it’s God or the universe or magic but somehow it always seems to work out for them.

Freedom From Addiction

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism or addiction, understand that you are not alone in your struggles! If you are ready to change your life and finally be free of your addiction, then Holistic Recovery Centers can help. We can give you the jump start you need in order to experience the recovery you have always wanted. Our holistic programs are unique in that they don’t just treat the addiction, but rather they treat the whole person, so if you are interested in finding out more information, please do not hesitate to give us a call today at 1-877-723-7117.