Getting sober is always something to celebrate. However, completing treatment is just the first step in your recovery process. Once you return home from a residential program, you’ll need to start preparing for the future. This involves establishing your independence, repairing relationships, and earning your financial freedom. Where do you even begin? We recommend that you start by finding a low-stress, stable place to work. Here are our top five tips for finding a job after treatment.
1. Outline Your Priorities
In the early days of sobriety, your job serves a different purpose. “Get well jobs” are common among those new to recovery. In these positions, you don’t focus on climbing the corporate ladder or working long hours in a stressful setting. Instead, this time should be geared towards:
- Paying for the things you need, like food and shelter
- Opening yourself up to new ideas and responsibilities
- Maintaining a set schedule
- Having positive interactions with customers and co-workers
- Establishing work-life balance
- Avoiding long or stressful shifts
- Finding happiness after a major lifestyle change
- Minimizing the risk of relapse in your daily life
Keep these priorities in mind as you peruse job listings. Add things to this list that impact your day-to-day stress levels and interaction with triggers. For example, you wouldn’t want to take a position at the bar you used to frequent. A list of your top “must-haves” can prevent you from taking a job that doesn’t fit your new outlook on life.
2. Start Small
Addiction can happen to anyone. At Lakeside-Milam, we often treat office workers, lawyers, and healthcare professionals who have lost their jobs due to substance use disorder. These high achievers may be tempted to jump back into their fields of expertise right away.
However, this isn’t always recommended. In some instances, choosing to return to your old position can be overly stressful and anxiety-inducing. In others, it may be impossible to get your job back due to issues caused by drug or alcohol use.
Don’t be afraid to take a leave of absence from your original career path. There’s no shame in solidifying your sobriety before considering a return to a high-stress work environment. If you find yourself much happier after switching jobs, reflect on this and decide how you would like to move forward in the future.
3. Talk to Your Sober Support Network
Finding a job can be tricky, especially if you’re worried about explaining a criminal charge or gap in your résumé. Networking is a great way to overcome this obstacle. Let your sober friends and neighbors know that you’re ready to begin working again. They may be able to connect you with an opportunity that’s perfect for your skill set, goals, and newfound recovery.
4. Keep Your Recovery First
When considering a potential role, be honest with yourself about how this position will impact your sobriety. If the staff must participate in a mandatory happy hour every week, for example, you should look elsewhere. Plenty of companies have alcohol-free teambuilding experiences to look forward to.
Next, be aware of “red flags” on job listings. These common expressions can indicate that a business is poorly run, chaotic, or stressful. We’ve listed a few of them below. Avoid applying for positions that include these phrases:
- “Must have a thick skin”
- “Highly competitive”
- “A fast-paced working environment”
- “Work hard, play hard”
- “High energy”
- “Hustle culture”
5. Lakeside-Milam Can Help
Finally, remember that your treatment center is always there to help you get back on your feet. Lakeside-Milam’s programs span the complete continuum of care. Our alumni services include the Lakeside-Milam app (iPhone / Android), where former clients can connect with (and receive support from) other alumni and our staff.
We work hard to connect our clients with local recovery resources. If you have any questions about finding a job after treatment, contact Lakeside-Milam today.