Restarting a Career in Recovery

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people take a leave of absence from their jobs every year to enter addiction treatment once they’ve accepted that they can no longer manage their illness alone. This step is a life-saving one, and the journey towards recovery lies ahead, bringing new challenges and experiences. For many individuals who complete the initial phase of their addiction treatment, the idea of returning to work will be one of the first and toughest decisions they face.

The pressures and stress of a career can be immense triggers for people in recovery, especially if they’re returning to a toxic environment that may have been the reason for their substance misuse. The fear of answering uncomfortable questions about their time off or substance use disorder can elicit anxiety and a feeling of overwhelming dread. In such cases, a change of occupation may be the only healthy choice to make. Still, the prospect of seeking a new job to earn a living and attend to life’s responsibilities can be daunting but ultimately a vital change that will sustain recovery.

Shifting Gears

A career change calls for a long checklist of to-dos but starting from the most important basic step and diligently moving towards the goal of a new job is the only way to go about it. Each person’s situation is unique, but some rudimentary actions to consider will help get the ball rolling.

  • Brainstorming with counselors and a support network about potential new jobs
  • Creating or updating a resume that appeals to employers in desired fields
  • Asking trusted former colleagues or supervisions for letters of recommendation
  • Enrolling in courses or completing certifications to strengthen professional competency  
  • Conducting mock interviews with friends and loved ones to brush up on speaking skills
  • Casting a wide net to explore many different opportunities 
  • Attending a wide range of interviews to gain experience with the process
  • Rejecting undesired offers professionally to retain future connections
  • Practicing elevator pitches to build confidence
  • Reaching out to agencies that help match people with jobs
  • Keeping realistic expectations of what a career change will entail

Doing the Work

Once the hard part (finding a new job) is done, the real fun begins! People with substance use disorder tend to view either recovery as the most important full-time job they have, but returning to the workforce is a significant part of the journey. Starting as a newbie on the job can come with everyday frustrations, but patience will play a prominent role during the learning curve. Relearning how to cope with vocational stress, manage coworkers and superiors, and handle triggers that may pop up unexpectedly is only the beginning. With continued commitment and dedication to recovery through participation in individual and group counseling sessions, the experience will likely be a rewarding one.

The specialized medical providers and nursing staff at Middlesex Recovery outpatient facilities believe that every patient deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and ensure total confidentiality and discretion for professionals seeking treatment for substance use disorder. One of the greatest benefits of comprehensive medication-assisted programs at Middlesex Recovery is the access patients have to substance use counselors who can help them create a plan to achieve their vision of successful recovery. To learn more about the programs available or to speak with an intake coordinator, message or call a local Middlesex Recovery office today.