How to Find a Job in Recovery

For many people, finding a job as a recovering addict is a difficult and intimidating experience, but it is one major goal for people who are trying to put their lives back together from tearing it apart with drug abuse.

Fortunately, you can take any of the following steps to put yourself in a better position for work after you recover from drug abuse:

  • Know your rights. Federal and civil rights laws prohibit employers from discriminating against you due to a past bout with drugs. Potential employers cannot ask you if you have ever abused or been addicted to drugs or alcohol, and they cannot ask if you are currently in or have ever been in treatment. However, an employer can ask if you are currently abusing drugs.
  • Be cautious. Whether or not you tell a potential employer about your past addiction is a personal choice. Some people are determined to live honestly, so they feel compelled to be honest about their history with drugs. If you have been clean for a long time, such diligence may be seen as a positive trait, but it may be a liability if you are fresh out of treatment.
  • Start your own company. Many recovering addicts find that they do not like working for other people, and other people find that some work environments only trigger relapse. In these cases, you might want to consider starting your own business; you can start small and work toward larger goals. For example, if you like the outdoors, consider starting your own lawn care business.
  • Freelance. In today’s global job market, you may find that your job skills allow you to work remotely. If you can write, design, program or edit, then you can find work online. In the freelance world, your personal history will not matter, as all many clients want is outstanding work performed on time and to certain specifications.
  • Try temp work. In some pockets of the country, jobs are still scarce, so signing up at a temp agency may be the way to get your foot in the door at several businesses. You can show work employment on your resume while learning a variety of new, marketable skills.
  • Get training. If you have been out of the job market for a while, then consider getting some training. For example, computer skills are an essential element in any job. If you do not know your way around some basic computer programs, then take some classes. Some colleges even have work placement programs for its graduates, so the payoff may be worth the investment.

Above all, do not give up, and do not allow your past mistakes to dictate your future. You can find a job in recovery, so give yourself some time and demonstrate patience.