When it comes to addiction and career survival, those who are willing to seek help are more likely to keep their jobs, and actually get better ones, than those who try to hide their addiction or refuse to get help out of fear of losing work. Simply put, there are protections in place to allow you to get help if you need it, without having to fear for your job safety.
But how likely are you to be able to hold onto that job during recovery? Many people going into recovery worry for their future. The idea that drug use taints your professional career is not completely unfounded, but it’s a fear that is often exaggerated in the minds of many facing a future in recovery.
With the right support, a drug-free home or living environment, and professional guidance, you can hold onto your job. Furthermore, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees who qualify are allowed to take 12 workweeks of unpaid job-protected leave due to medical reasons – including receiving treatment at a rehab facility for drug and alcohol use. Furthermore, employers are required to maintain confidentiality, and keep your treatment private.
One way or another, you have to seek help to get sober and keep your job – or find a new one. Once you are past rehab and back in a working environment, you’ll want to do your best to stay sober while keeping your job. Here are a few ways you can continue to work while still working on your recovery.
Find A Sober Living Home
After rehab, the best thing to do to help you transition from residential treatment to everyday living is a sober living home. Sober living homes are drug-free communities designed to help recovering addicts find a place to lead normal lives under a set of strict rules to help reinforce sobriety, help promote self-discipline, and instill a commitment to rules, schedules, and responsibilities.
Tenants are encouraged to pay their own rent, help out with chores, keep clean, keep a job/attend school, and participate in events and meetings. Sober living homes include random drug tests, and drug use is strictly forbidden. This keeps everyone safe from temptation, giving them a controlled environment to focus on finding their own two feet right after spending 1-3 months in rehab.
Tenants are also encouraged to regularly communicate with other tenants, form bonds and friendships, and participate in group events. While exact rules differ from sober living home to sober living home, the majority of sober living homes are built as places where recovering addicts can stay (as long as they need to) and work on their sobriety before moving back into their old homes, or into new ones.
Prioritize Your Recovery
Keeping your job is definitely important, but if you find yourself stressing over work to the point that it’s bringing you to the brink of a relapse, you have to take a step back and evaluate other options. Your recovery should be your top priority, and at times, that means getting better at stress management.
Work is naturally stressful, and almost any job will bring days when you’re simply not having a very good time. But if you’re consistently being pushed to your limit, day in and day out, and you have to make a choice between your job and your recovery – always choose your recovery. If left untreated, your addiction will take your job anyway, and so much more. Getting better should always be your priority.
Communicate with Your Employer
Discuss your recovery plans with your employer, insofar as you’re comfortable, and insofar as you’re required. While your motivation is simple – getting better – your employer’s motivation is simple as well: see to it that you get back to work as soon as possible.
Your employer might appreciate clear and proper communication, regarding what you can and cannot handle, and what changes (if any) you might have to observe once you’re back at work.
Finding Work in Recovery
If you lost your job early on in addiction and are looking for work while in recovery, your best bet is to ask around. Ask around with friends, ask around your neighborhood, and ask online. Many companies today hire through the Internet, and job searching is as hard as it has ever been.
Start by sitting down and creating a comprehensive, easy-to-read and pleasing resume. Some sober living homes offer professional help and classes to help you develop better speaking skills, and other important tips necessary to land a job interview and subsequently ace it.
There are various job posting sites throughout the Internet, and if your skills allow you to work from home, then you can decide to freelance or become a contractor and offer skills to companies on a contract or per-project basis, while looking for something more permanent.
Alternatively, several different job postings exist specifically looking for people with a history and experience in recovering from addiction, as well as knowledge on the subject of treating addiction and addiction therapy. You don’t have to receive formal training to become a counselor or a recovery worker, unlike applying to become a therapist or working to become a psychiatrist.
Ultimately, people are looking for smart and dedicated individuals with an intimate history with addiction, and a lot of time spent working on their own recovery. You don’t have to look for work revolving around recovery, of course. Jobs are more than just was to make money – the reason we suggest work based on recovery is simply to provide an extra incentive to stay on-the-ball, however, you should pick a career or a job that comes closest to what you want to do. A good job that keeps you engaged and interested can do a lot to help you stay focused on recovery and staying sober – and a job that keeps you engaged and interested can be a tremendous amount of fun.