The sticky grip of a substance use disorder can be one of the greatest challenges for a person to overcome, but you did it. Give yourself credit for this amazing accomplishment. Now that you have successfully completed treatment and are in an outpatient/aftercare program, it’s time to find a job. 

It’s understandable if you are nervous or worried about getting a job while in early recovery. How do you find a job, considering your past drug or alcohol use? What if you pick a position that doesn’t mesh well with your new needs? This article will give tips for finding employment after treatment.

The Employment Gap Obstacle  

First and foremost, you need an up-to-date resume. If you don’t have one, online and community resources can help you build a simple record of your education and work history. 

An obstacle that will need addressing is the time gap between your last job and now. How can you account for all that time not working? Employers will be sure to ask about this period of unemployment, but you don’t want to risk losing the job opportunity. Don’t stress—you have options.  

Two Main Options to Choose From 

There are two ways you can explain the gap to a potential employer. The first is telling the truth: you were healing from addiction at a residential treatment center, and now you’re ready for a fresh start. Taking this approach will depend on how comfortable you feel with them and the type of job you are applying for. 

For example, if the job is in the field of addiction recovery or mental health, the employer might prefer someone with this history. Moreover, some companies openly accept individuals in recovery or who have a criminal background. Do a little research before your interview.

The second option is to simply share less information. There are several vague reasons you can come up with that are still technically true. Your employment gap could be due to ill health, but you’ve recovered. Maybe you had a family crisis that needed to be dealt with, and so it was. Either way, your life is in order, and you are ready to get to work. 

What to Look For in Your Job Search   

Before you start applying to jobs, there are a few things you might want to consider. Remember, your needs are different now. While you may have gained some new skills in treatment, your old ones might need a little work and time to sharpen up. Also, because avoiding relapse is a top priority in early recovery, you don’t want to jump the gun at any job. Research thus far points to stress as the number one cause of relapse. Subsequently, you should probably steer clear of high-stress environments that could be triggering. 

Here are some features of a job post that can help you determine if it’s right for you:

  • The role and responsibilities of the position are unambiguous. 
  • The job has some structure, routine, and flexible deadlines so you can plan your work.
  • The company has opportunities for upward mobility, including promotions and bonuses. 

What Are Get-Well Jobs?

After spending several months just focusing on your mental and physical health, you may have lost your knack for budgeting money, working in teams, or managing your time effectively. Some in your position seek out “get-well jobs” to help them slowly take on these responsibilities in a post-treatment setting. 

Get-well jobs don’t have strict schedules jammed packed with meetings or presentations. They don’t have the same expectations, pressure, or commitment level as a long-term career. The intellectual and emotional demands are usually limited. 

As a result, get-well jobs can help you avoid high-stress situations and promote the development of healthy work habits. Some options you can explore include working at a coffee shop or book store or offering private lessons for a trade. 

These kinds of jobs might be a considerable step-down from what you were doing before, but that’s okay. Get-well jobs are an opportunity to reorient yourself. They are just stepping stones leading you to the career you really want but are not ready for yet. As long as you apply yourself and keep sobriety in focus, you will get there.

Check Out These Resources 

 If you’ve had no luck with online or newspaper ads, expand your search with the following resources: 

  • Use your network of therapists, sponsors, family, friends, recovery community, etc.
  • Know your rights. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against you in hiring practices. 
  • City and County of Honolulu – WorkHawaii. 
  • State of Hawaii, Department of Health – The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division
  • Employee Assistant Programs help employees with personal problems that affect their job performance, including mental and/or substance use disorders.
  • America In Recovery hires individuals with criminal backgrounds and those in addiction recovery.
  • Temp agencies connect you to a job based on your skills.

Hunting for a job while in early recovery can be a stressful and overwhelming procedure. Fortunately, there are many resources and tips at your disposal to help you find a job that works for you. Located on the Big Island, Hawaii Island Recovery is at your service. We specialize in treating addictions of all kinds as well as co-occurring mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Our experienced therapists and doctors provide the best evidence-based treatment, medically supervised detox, and holistic and experiential therapies to get you well. Our programs are especially noteworthy for their high staff-to-patient ratio; we place a high value on individualized care. Additionally, our waterfront location promotes calmness and ease. Here, you will be able to heal in peace with a warm ocean breeze to clear your mind. Once you are ready to be discharged, we can help connect you with community employment resources in our aftercare program. Call us for more information at (866) 390-5070.

Get Help Today!

If you or a loved one need help, call Hawaii Island Recovery toll-free right now.