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Pursuing a Career While in Recovery

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Recovery is an ongoing journey, and challenges will persist from your client’s first tentative steps into detox and residential care through outpatient programs and beyond. Addiction is a disease that doesn’t have a “cure.” However, individuals can maintain sobriety and balance sober goals and coping strategies even while pursuing a professional career. Taking on the stresses of professional life and the obligations therein is intimidating. Still, it is possible to balance one’s sobriety with a developing professional life while using the skills learned in recovery to further one’s professional ambitions. 

You Don’t Have to Choose Just One

Both recovery and a career are very demanding. However, a person doesn’t have to choose between sobriety and a professional career. Navigating recovery is filled with learning to identify stressors and maintaining personal goals that are focused and structured. Adding a professional career to the mix doesn’t come at the expense of the skills already learned throughout recovery. However, while individuals don’t have to choose between their continued sobriety and career ambitions, it is still important to be fully prepared for the challenges ahead. It would be wise for your client to take the necessary time to develop effective coping skills before embarking on the next step of professional development. 

Preparing for an Interview

The first step of pursuing a career in recovery is the interview, which may immediately produce some anxiety. Gaps in your client’s resume may prompt uncomfortable questions, and it is common to worry about navigating these stressful encounters. However, it is crucial to remember how much information an individual divulges is up to each individual, and nobody can be forced to share anything they aren’t comfortable sharing. While some may be open in discussing their recovery journey, others may worry about how words like “addiction” or “recovery” may be perceived due to the unfortunate persistent stigmas attached to such terms. Responding with “taking time to pursue personal goals” can be an effective, generic way to address the question while keeping the interview moving. 

It is essential to talk about oneself in the present during these interviews without dwelling on the past. An interview should focus on the skills and qualifications of an individual at present. Continuously diverting attention to these skills and qualifications can focus the dialogue on one’s present without judging their past. 

Utilize Recovery Skills

While learning effective grounding strategies and processing urges and cravings are incredibly important, recovery also imparts several important life skills. Communication strategies, schedule management, goal-setting, personal life balance, self-care strategies, and more are all essential skills for managing one’s professional career. Managing schedules in recovery can translate to the workplace by helping prioritize and accomplish tasks, while practiced communication strategies can lead to a more straightforward, effective workspace. Effective use of these skills can help individuals succeed in the workplace as they embrace these powerful, transformative qualities established in a recovery program.

Balance Your Schedule

Scheduling regarding your client’s recovery and employment is crucial. Not only is balancing a work schedule necessary for effective workplace management, but it also ensures that an individual is making sufficient time for recovery practices and meetings. Creating a work schedule around ongoing outpatient group sessions ensures that their job isn’t overtaking recovery efforts or compromising the hard work done in sobriety. Likewise, having a consistent plan also allows those in recovery to reserve time for self-care and rest, both necessary for maintaining a healthy, sober lifestyle. 

While pursuing a career in recovery, being mindful of the expectations of potential job prospects and how they impact one’s recovery is crucial. Taking a job with an inconsistent schedule or at the expense of your client’s time or recovery efforts can be a wholly negative experience and open up unnecessary and dangerous situations. Discussing scheduling early with potential employers can help separate potential jobs from dangerous ones while setting forth clear expectations. Employment is an agreement between two parties, and having expectations as an employee is warranted and even celebrated while balancing a personal and professional life.  

Use Your Established Connections

Recovery introduces a profound change to your client’s social circle. Not only may they have to cut ties with negative influences and familiar social scenes in recovery, but they will also be introduced to a breadth of new people and ideas from all walks of life. These new relationships can reinforce one’s sober decision, representing the changes in one’s lifestyle and mentality on their journey towards a transformed future. However, they are also valuable resources for networking. Talking with peers in group sessions or professionals met throughout recovery can help guide an individual to potential networking opportunities across the vast employment landscape. These resources also will provide a much deeper understanding of the recovery process. They may serve to dispel many damaging myths surrounding recovery as anything other than a positive, transformative practice.  

Pursuing a career while managing your recovery is a delicate and challenging task. However, at Pacific Sands Recovery Center in Orange County, California, we are prepared to help you take the first step today. We understand the unique stresses present while balancing your sober goals with your professional expectations and responsibilities. We can create an individual recovery plan that addresses your unique needs and goals. From detox to residential care and intensive outpatient programs, all backed by a myriad of recovery strategies ready to be personalized to your situation, we can help you identify the skills needed for a fruitful, sober life. Our small, intimate atmosphere is carefully curated to ensure that you have access to the resources you need to pursue your goals while in the safety of a supportive, sober environment. For more information on how we can create a recovery program that fits your needs, call to speak to us today at (714) 492-1119.

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