Battling addiction and going through a period of treatment to get into recovery represent major milestones in your life. You have experienced more than the average person and yet, when it’s time to rejoin the sober world, you may feel like an outcast, somehow stigmatized by your past. Re-entering society and becoming a productive and contributing member will be your next challenge, but one that will be rewarding and helpful for your continuing sobriety.
Finding a Job after Addiction
The hallmark of being a contributing member of society is having a paying job that helps you support yourself and that makes you a participant in the economy. Finding a job for a recovering addict isn’t always easy. Depending on how long you were mired in addiction you may have a large gap on your resume that requires explanation. Some employers may turn you down right away for having been an addict, but others will be more accepting. Don’t hide or shy away from your past. Instead, use it as an example of how you can persevere and work hard. Many employers will appreciate those qualities.
Another problem may be that you are unqualified for most jobs. Consider going back to school to get a degree or enter a training program that will help you launch your post-addiction career. If money is an issue, there are many opportunities for recovering addicts to get financial aid or even scholarships to help continue their education.
Get Your Finances in Order
After struggling with addiction and spending time in treatment, there may also be some serious financial concerns. You may have spent all your money on drugs or even trashed your credit rating. To have a better future as a contributing member of society you need to get your financial house in order. Getting a job is one step, but you may also need to rebuild your credit. Consider turning to a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with credit issues.
Give Back to Your Community
As a drug addict or alcoholic you were probably not a big contributor to the well-being of your local community. In fact, you probably caused some harm by getting in trouble with the law, stealing, or engaging in other unsavory activities. Now is a great time to repay your debt by getting involved. While helping others, you also help yourself. By getting involved in local activities you will start to feel better about yourself and begin to rebuild self-worth. You will also meet new people and establish better social connections, which can aid your sobriety.
Consider your options for giving back. Volunteering in your local community is a good choice. Maybe you can even contribute your personal experiences by volunteering to give talks to community groups or at the local high school. If you aren’t ready to share your story, working at a local homeless shelter, an animal shelter, an after-school tutoring program or anywhere else that can benefit from volunteers will help both the community and you.
Getting back into a normal and healthy way of life after addiction is important. It will help you to feel better about yourself and will also help you to avoid the pitfalls that could lead to relapse. Lean on the support of your loved ones during this process. It won’t be easy, but once you have your life back on track you will once again be a productive member of society.