Recovering from a substance use disorder is no easy feat, and there are many challenges along the way. One of the most common obstacles in pursuing recovery is employment. If you’re struggling to find a job after rehab, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll give you the best tips and tricks to secure and maintain employment after rehab.
Obstacles to employment
Completing addiction treatment is a huge accomplishment, but once you’ve made it through withdrawal and early recovery, returning back to society has its own set of challenges. For one, many people find that returning to an old job is impossible, either due to significant triggers or because your performance was negatively impacted by substance use.
Leaving an old job behind might turn out to be for the best, but finding a new job is no walk in the park. Prospective employers will want to know about your gap in employment history, and bringing up rehab and substance use can lead to discrimination in the hiring process.
Starting a new job could bring up triggers, too. The anxiety of starting a new job or the stress of a big workload could interfere with your progress toward sobriety and instigate a relapse.
Figuring out how to find a job after rehab is fraught with obstacles. Take heart, though, because securing stable employment is one of the best things you can do for your recovery journey. Let the accomplishments you’ve had in rehab fuel your search for a new job.
Tips to find a job after rehab
There are a number of useful strategies you can trust to help you find a job after completing rehab. Consult the options below to get started.
1. Use the services available to you
Rehab programs generally have services to assist participants with the transition back into daily life. This can include help with anything from transportation and housing to childcare and higher education. Employment after rehab is one of the most common areas of assistance, so you can bet that your treatment provider has resources to help you out.
Even if securing a job isn’t part of the regularly structured programming at a rehab facility, the staff will be happy to help you and offer connections to employment opportunities. Moreover, you can ask for aid with tasks like resume writing and interview practice so you’re set up for success.
2. Use your personal network
Your changing life has required a change in your social circle, too. While you’ve had to cut ties with people who influence you to use drugs or alcohol, you now have a positive network of sober individuals who can offer you support in your recovery. Chat with your counselor, therapist, doctor, sponsor, family or friends about your hopes for employment and you’re sure to find valuable connections.
3. Take advantage of assistance programs
Many state and local governments offer their own programs to assist people in finding a job after rehab. For example, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has an Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) that offers employment assistance to people in recovery.
These programs cover many aspects of re-entering the job market. You can find advice from employment experts, gain access to education programs and find ways to make your skills more marketable.
4. Use online resources
There are online resources that can help you in your job search. For example, America in Recovery maintains a job search website where you can create an account and apply for jobs. The employers who post openings on the site will already be aware of the fact that candidates are in recovery. This relieves some of the anxiety you may be feeling about whether or not to disclose your substance use disorder.
5. Prioritize your recovery
When you’re trying to find a job after rehab, it can be tempting to push your recovery to the back burner and focus on the job search. While it’s important that you obtain stable employment, it’s also critical that you prioritize your recovery, especially in the early days of sobriety.
When you’re searching for a job, you’ll want to protect yourself from known triggers and ensure that your new schedule won’t interfere with any ongoing treatment. Your first priority should be maintaining your recovery so you can thrive in your new job, and life in general.
6. Know your rights
Although companies may be reluctant to hire you after a struggle with addiction, it’s important to know that you have rights under the law. Substance use disorder is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This means that employers cannot discriminate against you in their hiring practices.
Even during the interview process, your privacy is protected by law. Most job applications do ask about prior criminal convictions, and during the interview, employers are allowed to ask if you’ve ever used illegal drugs. However, there are certain things an employer cannot ask you. This includes anything that would require you to disclose your substance use disorder.
7. Accept that there may be setbacks
Figuring out how to find a job after rehab won’t be a smooth road. Treatment required you to step back from your professional life for a time, so even if you’re able to find a new job right out of the gate, the transition itself may be difficult.
Re-building your career will take time and plenty of effort, but having stable employment is one of the best protective factors against relapse. It can keep you from the burden of financial stress and give you a sense of purpose. Even if you find that you’ll need to accept a lower paying position than your used to or a more difficult job, it will be worth it for your recovery in the long run.
Get help finding employment after rehab today
Finding a job after rehab can be a gamechanger in your recovery success, but it’s not the only thing that will keep you from relapse. Continuing treatment is the key to lifelong sobriety, so while you’re searching for a job, you’ll want to add outpatient services to your schedule, too.