Continue Growing Professionally After Treatment For Substance Use

in Addiction
Published Jul 15, 2021
growing professionally

When an individual has taken the first step and received treatment for substance use, they are now beginning their recovery journey. During this time, they may lack confidence and independence, or they may be struggling financially. One of the best ways to regain self-esteem and to maintain sobriety is to get a job and keep it. Despite what many may think, there are many jobs available to those in recovery. Personal and growing professionally will allow an individual to take back their independence and begin living the life they deserve. 

Growing Professionally, Ask For Help

Many people in recovery who have already gone through treatment will likely have a sober community, a rehab facility, a counselor, or a sponsor they can turn to and ask for tips on beginning the job search process. Those who have rebuilt their careers following treatment for substance use will be able to share their experience and may even know of companies that are open to hiring recovering individuals. Additionally, treatment programs even offer employment coaching guidance on how to grow professionally, that can be useful during the early days of recovery. 

Background Checks

If an individual’s substance use once led to past legal trouble, they may worry that they will be unable to pass a background check successfully. However, this is not always the case. In fact, many companies purposefully seek individuals in recovery to give them another shot at life by contributing to society through their work. Thus, individuals shouldn’t rule out a particular job solely because they know they may have to do a background check. 

Disclosing Information About Substance Use

Once a recovering person has landed their first interview, they will need to decide whether they will disclose their past substance use and recovering status. Before making this decision, they should research what laws exist in their particular state regarding criminal history and employment. Some states aren’t allowed to ask certain questions about a criminal record, so the individual should know exactly how much to disclose, if anything at all. However, it is essential to note that it is never a good idea to lie to any possible employer about criminal history. Certain laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, identifies past substance use disorders as a type of disability. Thus, it can help protect an individual that is in recovery from being discriminated against when seeking a new position.

Triggers at Work

In recovery, there may be triggers that arise when working, and an individual should ensure they make every effort to avoid them. This may mean avoiding bars and distancing themselves from co-workers or other individuals in their lives that may threaten their recovery. Seeking continued treatment through counseling can help individuals learn about how to cope with their triggers and ensure they are growing professionally and, most importantly, growing in their sobriety. 

Handling Stress

One of the places adults experience the most stress is at their jobs. For those with substance use issues, stress in the workplace can tempt them to turn to drugs or alcohol to “take the edge off.” While it’s impossible to completely avoid stress at work, there are several things individuals can do to handle that stress and maintain their sobriety, including:

  • Keep Track of Stressors: Individuals should keep track of what causes them to feel uneasy or upset. For example, are daily frustrations caused by workplace processes? Does one particular colleague create more stress than others throughout the day? Keeping track of stressors can help individuals better prepare themselves to either deal with those situations or people or work to prevent them from bothering the individual in the first place.
  • Determine and Place Boundaries: It can be challenging to separate the person from the job. However, individuals can set limits on checking or responding to work-related items to help relieve their stress. 
  • Take Time Off: Federal law requires jobs to give their employees breaks, and most often, vacation time. While individuals may think they have too much to get done, they should take advantage of earned time off. Even taking off a Friday or Monday to give themselves a long weekend to unwind can help them blow off some steam without having to rely on drugs or alcohol to do so.


What Do I Do If I Can’t Find a Job?

If it has been a few months and an individual is still having trouble finding a job, some additional resources can help. One excellent resource offered by The U.S. Department of Labor is their One Stop Career Center which was established under the Workforce Investment Act. It provides job listings, career counseling, and other helpful tools. Those interested can visit a local center in person or can utilize these services online. 

Finding and keeping a job is a huge part of the recovery journey. Even more significant than supplying the individual with financial security, getting a job can help boost their confidence and increase their independence. The best way someone can jumpstart the job search process is to consult a member of their sober community who has gone through rebuilding their career before. Another great resource is the medical center the individual received treatment at. They often offer career guidance and can point them in the right direction. When going through the interview process, a recovering person should understand their rights and what information they must divulge regarding their recovery status. Finally, when they land a job, they should continuously show enthusiasm by putting their full effort into every task given to them to continue growing professionally. If you think you have a substance use problem, our team at Gallus Medical Detox Centers is here to help. Our mission is to provide the highest quality inpatient medical detox services and be the best first step in overcoming substance use disorders. Call (866) 296-5242 to learn more.