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Maintaining a Career in Addiction Recovery

by HealthCare Resource Centers Clinical Team

Maintaining a Career in Addiction Recovery

Employment during treatment and recovery can be fulfilling for those looking to rebuild their lives while managing substance use disorder. The idea of (re)entering the workforce may initially feel intimidating; however, experts agree that people overcoming addiction are completely capable of attaining and maintaining careers and that working is vital to successful, long-term recovery.

Is Working a Good Idea?

Job prospects provide an opportunity for people in recovery to feel like they are active members of society, yet, many feel they’re not worthy of working due to their past struggles because of the stigma surrounding addiction. In fact, for some, it may be their first time entering the labor force, adding additional pressure and trepidation. Some patients consider new vocations while others contemplate returning to their previous careers, making both topics critical during substance use counseling.

It’s important to note that taking on employment, especially full-time, can make it difficult for many to attend their substance use sessions daily clinic visits. Luckily, there are solutions for almost every scenario regarding working while in treatment and recovery with the existence of part-time, per-contract positions and other arrangements. Ultimately, everyone in recovery is responsible for finding what work-life balance will benefit them the most while using their treatment program resources to seek advice and guidance.

Benefits of Working in Recovery

Seeking employment is not a small feat for people at any point during their recovery journey, but the rewards of taking on the challenge are plentiful.

  • Self-sufficiency: People in early recovery often report feeling worthless, finding it difficult to espouse their abilities to others due to the shroud of stigma of addiction hanging over them. Earning employment is a way to validate their skills while also making money to support their own lives to cover life necessities with their hard work.
  • Stability: With the ups and downs of recovery, a job can provide essential structure and a sense of self throughout the journey. Having a disciplined and dependable schedule leaves little room for indecisiveness, boredom, and time for negative thoughts.
  • Community: Most workplaces have their own culture, and, just like with recovery support groups, a job in a stable environment can provide a sense of community for people overcoming addiction. Working together with coworkers to solve problems, brainstorm, and connect on a human level helps bolster positive attitudes and promote a sense of belonging.

Prioritizing Recovery while Working

Even with part-time positions, jobs can take up a lot of time and energy, regardless of how rewarding the experience feels. It’s important to prioritize recovery along with working and handling personal responsibilities to avoid creeping triggers that can come about when focus is lost.

  • Minimalistic schedule: cutting out unnecessary commitments and social obligations that don’t uphold sobriety and often crowd time that can be spent on self-improvement. A simple schedule highlighting recovery work along with a job leaves room for flexibility and control over one’s time.
  • Self-care: Making time to “check-in’ with oneself is crucial to avoiding pent-up stress, frustration, and general exhaustion from a busy schedule. Designating time every week to journal, exercise, or do a fun activity can ward off potential triggering emotions when personal needs aren’t being met.
  • Setting boundaries: Learning to decline plans or say no to taking on projects is an important life skill and step towards self-advocacy. This is particularly important for people with codependent and people pleasing tendencies that can spiral out of control quickly.

Health Care Resource Centers provide Americans who choose recovery with private and convenient treatment for opioid use disorder. Those working or who plan to go back to work upon enrolling in a recovery program will find great support from specialized medical providers, nurse practitioners, and administrative staff. Substance counselors are also available to ensure every patient’s medical and emotional health needs are met. Locate a nearby HCRC clinic today and call or message to learn more.


Medically Reviewed By:

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

The Clinical Team at Health Care Resource Centers is our team of physicians and medical directors within the organization. HCRC is a CARF accredited organization and has been providing addiction treatment services for over 32 years in the New England area.

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