Recovering Addicts Must Keep Working
One of the most important things a person in recovery from addiction or alcoholism can do to maintain their sobriety is to work. This can be at a former job in some cases, a new career, or even just volunteering. Whatever the case may be, a person in recovery should not remain idle. It’s important for humans to have daily stimulation and interactions in the world that help to keep the mind sharp and the emotions properly fed, and for most people some type of employment fulfills this need. However, there can be certain obstacles and things to avoid when seeking work after addiction, so planning to return to the working world is a decision that should be fully developed before being put into action.
For Recovering Addicts Reputation is Everything
One of the most difficult obstacles to returning to work after addiction is reputation issues. This is especially true in small communities or tightly-knit industries where most people will be aware of the person’s prior troubles with drugs or alcohol. This is exacerbated by any time spent in jail or other trouble with the law. However, most people in recovery have found that being open and honest about their experience gets the most results. Additionally, people in recovery have recently had their entire lives stolen from them by addiction and therefore are often extremely dedicated to rebuilding their lives. According to Law Care, a health support and advice network for lawyers;
“A study in Oregon in the USA followed 55 alcoholic lawyers. In the five years prior to seeking help for their problem, these lawyers had 83 malpractice claims filed against them – an annual rate of 30%. In the five years following recovery this fell to 21 claims, or 8%. Interestingly, this was lower than for the general population of lawyers. The comparable malpractice rate in the state was 13.5%. Whether these figures are because the general population of lawyers would have included several drinking alcoholics, or because lawyers in recovery are more diligent, hardworking and keen to prove themselves, the overall message is that lawyers in recovery from alcoholism are good lawyers.” (1)
The statement here could very likely be applied to many other professions as well.
But while returning to work is important for people in recovery, there are some things to avoid in order to be successful. Addiction Treatment Magazine lists some of these:
- Don’t try to make up for lost time by working too much
- Don’t try to prove yourself – you don’t need to
- Don’t take your work projects, assignments or stresses home
- Don’t let yourself get burned out – refusing to take vacations or focusing too much on work is dangerous
- Don’t be overly sensitive to the reactions of others – they may not understand, and it’s not your job to explain it (2)
One of the most interesting things about work and recovery is that recovering addicts and alcoholics often move into the field of addiction in some way after their personal experiences with it. Some volunteer at 12 Step programs and other organizations, while some become behavioral sciences technicians, group facilitators and even therapists at rehab centers, inpatient treatment programs and outpatient treatment facilities. Many of these people feel so compelled to help others free themselves from addiction that they are able to meet their need to work and their need to give back what was given to them by working in the field.
If you or someone you love is suffering with a drug or alcohol problem and is jeopardizing their career, it’s not too late. Pick up the phone and call us now for a free, confidential consultation. We are one of American’s most effective and successful drug and alcohol addiction recovery centers, and many of us know from personal experience what it’s like to be where you are now. Break the cycle and call us right now.
(1) Law Care Returning to Work After Recovery
(2) Addiction Treatment Magazine Why Work is an Important Part of Long Term Recovery