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Getting a Job after a Long Spell in Rehab

If you or someone you know has recently completed a successful rehabilitation programme, this article will be useful in assimilating into the job market.

Usually, after a rehab programme, a sponsor or adviser will tell you to begin readjustment. A former abuser will find himself back in an old environment, but this time, as a completely different person.

Transiting From Rehabilitation

Now that you are sober, it will be wise to avoid visiting old friends who are drug users, or spending time near places used by dealers. It is also advisable to avoid parties for some time, especially for former alcoholics.

During this period, you’ll want to reflect on the next step forward; your life, your goals, and what you hope to make of yourself in this new phase.

As David Gerard, Addiction Helper says, “The final stage of rehab prepares the former user for transition into their new life, one devoid of substance abuse and dependence.” This includes such activities as going back to school or entering the job market.

Before we move into details about how to secure and blend into a work atmosphere, let’s discuss why work is important at this time.

The Importance of Work

While under the dependence of a substance, users often lose their sense of self-purpose and motivation. Their habits may also cause them to lose their job and suffer financial strain. In addition, the stigma that accompanies an addiction helps in destroying the little confidence they have in themselves.

Upon recovery, it’s a good idea to take up a job as a means of re-integrating into society. It also serves to create purpose and motivate a former addict towards continued sobriety. Having a job and being financially self-sufficient helps build confidence and self-esteem; something many addicts lack.

Idleness or boredom is also dangerous to the recent recoveree. Therefore, working is an essential step in staying fully sober.

Getting a Good Job

Depending on where you used to work prior to rehab, if your organisation has a policy that reabsorbs you after a rehabilitation program, that’s good. However, if you have to apply for new opportunities, it wouldn’t be as easy.

The economy is tough as it is, and there are more people entering the job market. However, it doesn’t mean you don’t stand a chance. After all, your previous habits are not stamped on your forehead.

What you need is a sound plan to approach your job search carefully and be well informed. It will be easier if you have a map of your goals, rather than walking into the nearest office to demand for a position.

Here are some things to do:

  • Do an assessment of your current industry.
  • What changes have occurred?
  • Are there any new trends? What do employers look out for?
  • Do you need to update your skills?
  • What do you hope to achieve in your first 60 days of work?
  • Get in touch with old (sober) friends and ask for referrals.


A good plan is a step in the right direction. Once you have answers to these questions, you may kick off your strategy with the following:

  1. Spruce up your resume

With information gathered from your mini survey, personalise your resume to reflect important aspects of your skills, personality, and career prospects. A rehab programme may not be the only gap in your resume. To prevent that gap from widening, take a volunteer job after graduating from therapy.

Volunteer roles not only keep you occupied and exposed to references, they also show that you are a community builder. This can be an advantage, as employees like to see signs of self-motivation and passion to participate when they are reviewing prospective hires.

  1. Try out new job roles

Whether you used to be a content marketer, accountant, or baker before rehab, it doesn’t matter. You can try expanding your reach into other areas, even if it means stepping down the ladder a few rungs. Recovery is about self-discovery; who knows, you could find something new you are extremely good at. Don’t turn down any opportunity no matter what.

  1. Update yourself

Remember your preparatory list included whether you needed to update your existing skills? Some industries move very fast and if you are out of touch for even a few weeks, you could be left out. If your chosen area of profession is like that, head back to ‘school’ and sharpen your knowledge. It may take some time, but it will be worth it eventually.

  1. Don’t relent

Recovering is not an easy path, and even as you search for work, you may be tempted to give up along the way. Stay committed to your goal. If you find it difficult, reach out to your sponsor or support group. You’ll be stronger when you face challenges with the help of other people.

Finally, it is good to be honest about your addictive past, but this should be brought up only if asked. In any case, keep it short and simple. You have a promising future ahead, and all you need is some positivity.