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Repairing a Career in Addiction Recovery

People in recovery sometimes despair that addiction has hindered their work performance and tarnished their professional reputation. This often happens when they first re-enter the workforce, often faced with new challenges and discouraging thoughts while attempting to reestablish their finances and livelihood. However, those who do the hard work to get through treatment and onto the path to long-lasting recovery have accomplished an impressive feat and should hold their heads high as they continue to achieve their career goals. With a few strategic steps, rebuilding a career in recovery can become an achievable and worthwhile milestone that will open many future opportunities to grow and advance.

Make a Plan

Returning to work can feel overwhelming, especially without a specific vision in mind. Speaking with a substance use counselor to help map a career plan is the perfect approach. Counselors are well-versed in exercises that focus on goal-setting, so preparing a list of ideas for an ideal future career can help set things off in the right direction.

Reach Out

Although many people in recovery fear that they’ve burned all of their bridges through struggling with substance use disorder, some will be surprised when they contact former colleagues. Reaching out to previous supervisors could result in something as impactful as a letter of recommendation or connection to a possible employment opportunity that could have otherwise been missed. Though addiction still carries an unfair stigma, many people acknowledge and accept that those who have worked hard to attain recovery deserve a second chance.

Change Directions

People sometimes feel anchored to their careers because they’ve poured many years into their profession, and it’s the only option for them when they return to work life in recovery. While the time and effort that was once put towards a career is nothing to scoff at, there’s never been a better time for people of all ages to take on a career change. Life in recovery also tends to spur new ideas and passions as people overcome the hardships addiction led to, inspiring some to go back to school, acquire new skills, and consider their own business ventures.

Listen and Learn

Returning to the labor force after addiction treatment puts many people at a crossroads between “going back” to their previous roles and starting something new. These choices don’t come easy, and much consideration should be put forth before decisions are made. Many patients find group substance use counseling sessions can be insightful when pondering which direction they want to take. Fellow patients who share their stories can spark thoughts and conversations that result in new-found ideas and motivation.

The fear of losing a job or ruining a career shouldn’t deter anyone from seeking help for their addiction. There are federal laws in place that protect workers who wish to treat their substance use disorder while maintaining employment. Recovery Services of New Mexico provide convenient and effective outpatient addiction treatment, perfect for people who want to sustain their work-life while improving their health. To learn more about the recovery programs offered at RSONM, message or call a local clinic today.


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