If you’re recovering from substance use disorder, chances are you want to create and get into a new routine as fast as possible.
This includes regularly attending support programs, rebuilding your social life through healthy habits, and, most importantly, getting re-employed.
Finding a job after rehab can help give you financial independence and a renewed sense of purpose.
However, finding a job after rehab can also be challenging.
For example, if you go back to your old job, something from your past might trigger you to relapse. At the same time, landing a new one might be tough, especially if you have a gap in your resume or skills deficits.
But don’t lose hope – this doesn’t mean that finding a job after rehab is a lost cause. It just means that you have to search strategically!
And this is exactly why we wrote this article. Read on for:
- 7+ Tips to Find a Job After Rehab
- 7+ Job-Search & Career Resources (to Help You Along the Way)
- FAQs on Finding Employment After Rehab
So let’s dive in!
7+ Tips to Find a Job After Rehab
Research has consistently shown that finding a job after rehab helps people overcome substance abuse and stay sober, as it:
- Provides health benefits and income
- Instills meaning and purpose in their lives
Despite this, 9,2% of recovering addicts are involuntarily unemployed, according to a 2017 study by the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital.
This shows that the stigma against alcohol and drug abuse is still prevalent among employers. Nonetheless, it is essential not to give up efforts to find the right job for you after rehab.
To do that, you can follow the tips below, starting with:
#1. Take Advantage of Assistance Programs
There are many state and local government assistance programs to help people in recovery find a job after rehab.
The support these programs offer ranges from job-search assistance and placement to paying for the transportation to and from the employment interview. Alternatively, some run training and educational programs for recovering substance and alcohol abusers.
Take, for example, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction – it offers a variety of programs and services, such as courses of employability and soft skills, or other recovery-related employment resources.
Don’t hesitate to contact your state’s Department of Labor or local social services to see how they can be of help during your job search.
#2. Use Your Personal Network and Support Group
Yes, you might have cut ties with all the people from your past, but you’ve also created a new network that consists of people who can help you and positively influence your future.
For example, you can talk to counselors, therapists, doctors, sponsors, and even other members of your support group. Any of these people can help you look for or find a job, as well as provide a positive reference to a potential employer.
#3. Utilize Online Resources
Online resources are another helpful way to find a job after rehab and, the good news is, there are plenty of them out there.
America in Recovery, for example, is a website that runs various job sites for recovering addicts, ex-offenders, and older workers. To navigate the website and find employment opportunities, create an account and start browsing for jobs.
The upside of using such online resources is that employers posting vacancies expect candidates with a past of abuse to apply, so you don’t have to worry about it hurting your chances to get hired.
Here are some other online resources that can help you with your job search:
#4. Consider Flexible Jobs
A full-time job right after getting out of rehab is a big commitment that comes with responsibilities you might not be able to handle in early recovery. Although this is not a guarantee, it is possible for the work pressure to trigger you to go back to your old habits.
Consider this when you’re looking for jobs. If you think that a full-time job would put you at risk of relapsing, then working part-time, or a remote job with flexible hours might be a better option for you.
#5. Prioritize Your Well-Being
The recovery process is never really over – that’s why a lot of ex-users call themselves “recovering addicts” as opposed to “recovered addicts.”
The activities that can help keep you sober vary from one person to another, but they often include attending therapy groups and counseling sessions or joining peer support organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
No matter what your activities are, make sure they come first in your schedule as you’re looking for jobs, or at least try to find a work schedule that will fit in with your recovery schedule. After all, the only way to be successful at your new job is to keep a steady recovery rhythm.
#6. Know Your Rights
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), substance abuse is considered a disability. This means that, although employers may be hesitant to hire employees who have struggled with addiction, it is illegal for them to discriminate against anyone who has sought treatment for it.
Similarly, employers cannot discriminate against any potential employee currently enrolled in a recovery program.
Knowing these rights can help you look and apply for jobs more confidently.
#7. Volunteer Frequently
If finding a job takes you longer than expected, consider volunteering for a cause that personally interests you. Not only will you have something to keep you busy while you’re searching, but you can also use the volunteer experience to stand out to potential employers.
To really take advantage of volunteering, try to find a position that can teach you skills you can later list on your resume and even apply to the job you find. For example, if you volunteer for an organization that builds houses for the homeless, you can later use those acquired skills in the carpentry industry.
Not to mention, volunteering comes with a score of health benefits (such as decreased levels of depression and stress and increased physical activity) that are guaranteed to help your recovery process.