5 Tips for Getting Hired as a Person in Recovery

Recovery from addiction is a process.

As I was working remote recently, I had several people ask for insight on transitioning back into the workplace after time away to get some priorities in order. Previously in my career, I did a lot of work those in recovery and I still commit to supporting those in that process. But like any process, being in recovery has crucial milestones along the path for you to rediscover your sense of worth. One important way may be by finding employment.

You have had the courage to overcome the hold on your life that mind-altering substances (alcohol and other such drugs) once had. part of this process of recovery is also getting back into the workforce. There are employers who will value your journey and embrace you as the positive contributor you yearn to become. Here are five tips to help you obtain and keep a job as you transform your past struggles into a story of success.

Be Honest in Your Interview

When you interview with potential employers, hiding the truth of your past can be a liability, not an advantage. This is especially the case if the interview process includes drug testing; hair strand tests can be especially revealing of a drug history. Although your previous decisions and actions were far from trustworthy as you spent your days satisfying destructive habits, a heartfelt description of your recovery gives you instant credibility. Share the things you learned in rehab. The supportive reaction you receive might include the words, “You’re hired!”

Reflect on Your Accomplishments

Once you have been hired, give yourself repeated pats on the back. Take pride in the accomplishment of following through with all steps of the application and landing the job. Any successful completion of a task, big or small, helps fuel your self-improvement.

My Journal style

This is the actual journal that I use to plan holiday gatherings.

After each shift, spend a couple minutes recounting your achievements through journaling, meditation, positive self-talk, whatever works for you. This will keep your spirits flourishing and inspire you to leap out of bed the next day.

I liked Ms. Gimes post so much I even shared it and my grizzly self, holding one of my favorite notebooks.

If journaling is not something you do routinely, it may be due to the fact that you haven’t the found the right type of journaling” style that fits you. I often struggle to find a style that worked until a read the post “A new (to me) concept for keeping a notebook” by writer Shaunta Grimes writing for BetterHumans.coach about the use of “notebooks” and realized I was confining my thinking to what I perceived was journaling and needed to expand it to fit me. Many versions of notebooks and journals exist, from old school pen and paper (which I still do) towards more tech-focused ones. Check out a few variations here with suggestions from a former blog post of mine or my “Tips to Make Yourself More Marketable post. 

For types of notebooks, I tend to lean towards, the Moleskine Classic Notebook, Extra Large, Ruled, Black, Soft Cover (7.5 x 9.75) or the 200 page “big boy”, Zequenz Classic 360 Soft Cover Notebook, Soft Bound Journal, Medium, 5″ x 7″. I also and a huge fan of “tabbing” so invest my favorite sticky tabs as well as an additional pen holder.  These are linked to Amazon (as an Amazon Affiliate) but mostly for suggestions to give you an idea.

Make Friends with Your Co-workers

Finding quality people to befriend at your new job is a free resource to help you stay on the right track. Friends offer encouragement. Good ones offer an ear to let you openly vent when you are frustrated at work. When you return the favor by offering to listen to their issues, it puts your problems into perspective.

Replace Negative with Positive

40-60% of addicts in recovery find themselves in danger of relapsing (The Recovery Village). Even going to rehab makes no guarantee. Keep your mind free from relapse urges by filling your days with healthy replacement “highs.” For instance, going for a walk on your lunch break provides a boost to your mood by connecting you to nature, as well as adding a physical accomplishment you can be proud of. Other healthy pick-me-ups include gym classes, community clubs, or nurturing a hobby.

Create Emotional Checks and Balances

Shield yourself from emotional pitfalls. When you are stressed, remind yourself of the struggle your life became when you masked stressful situations with drugs. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Take pride in the perseverance you have developed. But as I said earlier – a new career isn’t the type to toss out all the lessons and tools you learned to get your recovery in place. That extra effort you take to make it to a meeting or call a sponsor may, in the end, is as important as the gym. So balance your time.

Winners are just former losers who listened to the lessons from their losses. Your past might be loaded with disappointment and addiction. Utilizing your tools and seeking support, you can supplant that past with hope and work to make a future swelling with accomplishment.

If you are still struggling to get help. Several months back I posted about different options that exist, you may find it useful to revisit that post. Written initially for those trying to move past anxiety or an accident, some of the same resources apply. You can read the post here.