Extended addiction treatment, such as outpatient therapy or sober living, is a time to step down from a more intensive level of care and transition into independent living. It’s also a time to lay a solid financial foundation. Getting a job during extended addiction treatment is possible when you’re well-equipped with the best strategies.
It’s a challenge for anyone to find the right job, and it may be especially difficult for you when you’re in extended addiction treatment because your job has to fit your unique schedule. You can’t sacrifice therapy sessions or support group meetings for work, but you can find a job that allows you to maintain schedule.
If you keep in mind that seeking employment will be challenging and will require some adaptations, you’ll go into the search well-informed and ready for success.
If you have a demanding or inflexible therapy schedule, consider working from home. Many remote jobs offer flexible schedules. If you can write, design, program, take photographs or create videos, there are many entry-level opportunities online.
Most jobs are freelance as an independent contractor, so your personal history will not come into play with prospective clients. Freelance work is a matter of adhering to deadlines, maintaining communication and doing good work for your clients—and collecting your pay.
Interviewing for a Job
If you decide to work outside of the home, you’ll probably have to interview in-person with prospective employers. The decision becomes whether you want to reveal if any gaps in your employment history due to treatment should be revealed. While being completely honest is an option, in reality it may not be necessary and you may not feel comfortable doing so.1
It’s never a good idea to lie to prospective employers, because if dishonesty is revealed at a later date, it could be used as a reason for dismissal. If an employment gap comes up during the interview, you can simply say you took time off for an extended vacation, to deal with family matters or to address some medical issues.
Consider a Temp Agency
Employers hire temporary labor to fill in staffing gaps, and they may not be as concerned about the background of prospective workers. Register with local temp agencies and be ready to work when a job fits your schedule and skills.2 You’ll be earning money and gaining positive work experience that helps build out your resume.
Specialize in Addiction Treatment
Consider working in the addiction treatment field. Many people who are in recovery from a substance use disorder went on to work in the industry, often at the very treatment center that helped them find success. There are often entry-level positions available that can allow you to become fully invested in the recovery community while earning a living.
Maintain Your Treatment Program and Your Optimism
It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re looking for work. It takes time to find the right opportunity, so don’t get discouraged if things don’t go quite as quickly as you’d like. Vowing to persevere will, in its own time, bring you the job offer you’re seeking.
You’ll benefit from the support of others during this important time in your life. Your intensive therapy was a step in your recovery, and taking the next step—steadily attending extended addiction treatment—warrants just as much attention as the initial stage of your recovery.