Navigating the Job Market in Sobriety

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You Did It

You took that first step to getting your life back. You entered treatment. You did the work. You’re finally ready to be employed and gain financial independence.

If this is the case for you or your loved one, getting back into the job market after addiction treatment can be a tricky endeavor and a touchy subject. Due to the stigma surrounding addiction, finding and securing employment can be challenging.

But, like most challenging activities, employment is worth it for everyone involved in more ways than one:

  • Employers find good, reliable help.
  • Recovered individuals find a sense of pride and dignity in being employed again.
  • The teamwork required at many jobs is grounding and motivating.
  • The community of the person in recovery can begin to rebuild trust and a sense of shared purpose.

Approaching a Job Search

Let’s take a look at some ways you can approach the job search to make it work for you.

Our first piece of advice for applying for jobs is this: You are not obligated to reveal your substance use history. Follow your instincts. If you know your potential employer supports recovery, sharing your history might work to your advantage. If you’re not sure, don’t feel like you have to talk about your past.

If you’re looking to explain a gap in your work history from the time you were in treatment, the Americans with Disabilities Act has you covered. It says that everyone has a legal right to refer to their time in a treatment center or under the influence of substances as an illness. If your potential employer requests more detailed information, you are not legally required to provide it.

This brings us to our second piece of advice: do your research. Find out about the company you’d like to work for. Are the employees happy? Is the company structured in a way that allows for open communication? Is the work team-based or done individually? Is the workday flexible enough to allow time to attend recovery meetings and nourish your relationships outside of work? The more you know about the place you want to work, the more you can assess whether it will support your recovery.

Just as you shouldn’t compromise your recovery for your job, don’t underestimate how much your recovery support network can help you find a job that works for you. Many times, rehabilitation centers have partnerships and connections to recovery-friendly businesses.

St. Gregory Can Help

If you completed addiction treatment at St. Gregory, you can take advantage of our follow up program, Trac9, that helps monitor and support clients as they re-enter their lives at home. When you participate in the program, we can monitor your progress and offer guidance as you search for employment.

Remember that success on the job market may not be immediate. It often involves tedious searching and dead ends. That’s why we offer this last piece of advice: regularly volunteer your skills and spread the word about your availability and willingness to work.

Volunteering helps fill the time spent being unemployed and searching for work. Word-of-mouth recommendations spread fast, and they could be the key to finding a steady position at a good establishment.

Looking for addiction treatment near Des Moines? To learn more about programs offered at St. Gregory Recovery Center, call and speak with someone today, at (888) 778-5833.

Our graduates tell their stories…

When first arriving at St. Gregory I had mixed feelings about the health and wellness workouts. I came in at 136 lbs and didn’t think it was possible to reach...
- Chris
The good life is not merely a life free from addictions, physical and/or psychological—addictions that usually are the outward manifestations of deeper problems—but a life lived in harmonious balance, free...
- Matt
I came to St. Gregory’s at my all-time worst—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Having gone through a bad rehab experience once before, I had been very reluctant in succumbing to that...
- CJ
No matter where I start my thought process when reflecting upon my time before, during and after St. Gregory’s, I always seem to end up in the same place in...
- Kaele


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