The path to a substance-free life starts when you seek treatment, either in an outpatient or inpatient program. Whichever one is recommended for you by medical professionals, you also need to consider the location of the treatment facility you choose. In case you require inpatient treatment, you may want to enter rehab nearest your home or family. For example, if you are living in Phoenix, you can enter an Arizona drug rehab facility. This option makes it more convenient for you to stay in touch with your family and integrate them into your recovery support group.
Although substance use disorder is highly treatable, it is also a chronic illness and the real work of recovery begins when you step out of rehab. One of the biggest considerations is making sure you have employment. You may have left your previous employment to avoid triggers that may cause you to relapse, or taken some time off from work due to struggles with substance abuse. Whatever the reason may be, finding a new job can help your recovery and renew your sense of purpose. Also, it can help ensure that you meet all your financial responsibilities. Job hunting is never an easy task, and it can feel particularly intimidating when you are also managing addiction recovery. These tips can help you find work after rehab.
Update Your Resume
First on the list is to update your resume with the most recent work experience and the highest level of education you completed. If this is the first time you will create a resume, ask the help of your family or friends. You can also lookup templates you can follow online.
Manage Your Expectations
As you focus on getting your next job, you also need to realize that things may not always go the way you want them to. You may need to manage = expectations and be prepared for situations such as:
- Encountering challenges in getting hired – Sadly, there is still a stigma on substance abuse disorder and this could get in the way of finding employment.
- Being open up to new opportunities – You may choose to have a completely new career path and that could mean needing to take an entry-level position.
- Being surprised by outcomes – You might enjoy the new job and thrive in it.
- Getting rejected – You might not get the first job you apply to or even the one after that because you lack experience or have a gap in your employment history.
- Asking for support – It may feel like you are starting all over again, or the experience might be new to you and you don’t know where to begin. It’s normal and you can always ask for help from your loved ones or support group.
Give yourself some time and remember that things don’t happen overnight. You also need to acknowledge that you won’t get the exact results you want, so try not to fixate on specific results. Instead, be open to opportunities because sometimes what you want is different from what you need. Lastly, you need to be kind to yourself. You have to remind yourself of the progress you are making and acknowledge that instead of beating yourself up for not achieving your goals tight away.
Identify What You Like and Need
Before sending out your resume, you also need to be clear about the job you want to have by asking yourself these questions:
- What are the things that you like to do?
- What kind of skills do you have that can be valuable to the employers?
- What are you passionate about and could these open up job opportunities?
Put Your Recovery First
Don’t let the need to find a job distract you from what is truly important, which in this case is, your recovery. You need to consider a job with a work schedule that will allow you to attend recovery activities like support group meetings. Remember to prioritize maintaining your healthy lifestyle above all else, so choose a job that would cater to your needs. In line with this, you may want to look for part-time jobs instead of full-time work. You don’t want to enter a highly stressful work environment that would trigger you and risk your progress. It may be helpful to choose jobs with a set routine to build stability in your life.
Tap into Your Current Network
You can start your job hunting by asking the people you already know for help. Approach the ones who support your recovery like family, friends, counselors, and other members of your support group. They can refer you to potential employers or help you find employment opportunities that will suit your recovery. You can also ask your treatment administrators as a lot of treatment centers partner with local businesses to create job opportunities for patients leaving rehab.
Create New Connections
You may have cut ties with some people, like those who influenced you to abuse illicit substances. You could have also lost touch with your loved ones while getting treatment in rehab. If this is the case, work on establishing new connections and building a new network of support. You can start by volunteering in local organizations and meeting new people that could potentially lead you to a new job.
Maximize Online Resources
Job listing aggregators like Indeed and LinkedIn can give you credible leads. You can also maximize other online resources that offer free educational videos and online workshops to learn new skills. Some of these online classes also provide a certificate of completion that you can include in your resume to make it more attractive to prospective employers.
Be Aware of Your Legal Rights
Some companies may be reluctant to hire people who are in recovery but you have to remember that there are laws that protect you. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, substance use disorder is considered a disability. This means companies cannot refuse you employment on the sole basis of your history with substance abuse.
Also, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has guidelines to interview questions. For example, prospective employers can ask you if you have used illegal drugs but can’t ask questions that will reveal your substance use disorder. They cannot ask about what substances you have used or how often you used them. However, this doesn’t mean you can lie about ever having used illegal substances. If you ever feel like the questions are illegal under EEOC guidelines, you can decline to answer.
Lastly, you need to remember to be patient. Looking for work while recovering is challenging. You may experience some rejections along the way but don’t get discouraged. Trust the process and the progress you are making. With patience and hard work, you’ll be able to get the job that’s right for you.