As kids are heading back to school you might be feeling ready to head back to work after your time in drug rehab. But with your history of addiction, how can you take advantage of the expanding job market when you have those awkward gaps in your resume?
Work After Drug Rehab: Where to Start
Thankfully, there are resources available to help you find that job which will support you while you continue on your path to lifelong sobriety.
- America in Recovery
A free service, America in Recovery is a non-profit organization that encourages employers to hire recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. The group puts together those in recovery with employers who understand that recovering substance abusers work harder and have a better attitude because they are grateful for the opportunity to support themselves and their families. For more information, visit www.americainrecovery.org.
- The National H.I.R.E. Network
The National H.I.R.E. Network is a training and technical assistance provider to and organizer of agencies working to improve the employment prospects of people with criminal records. Although set up to assist those with criminal records, they offer a comprehensive state-by-state directory of local employment programs that may also be helpful to those in recovery. They specialize in providing job-related assistance and offering referrals to other useful organizations. To find out more about how The National H.I.R.E. Network can help you find work, visit www.hirenetwork.org.
- Career One Stop/American Job Centers
American Job Centers (or AJCs) provide free help to job seekers for a variety of career and employment-related needs. Career One Stop’s website offers information, tips, and resources to help people with criminal convictions overcome barriers they might face in their job search.
The Department of Labor urges those in recovery and looking for work to get into contact with their nationwide network of career centers by visiting www.servicelocator.org.
- Create your own opportunities
If you aren’t qualified for the job you want, then get qualified by upgrading your education or looking for job training programs offered at your local employment center. Register with your local temp agency and try just about anything they offer you. Employers seeking temporary labor may not care as much about the background of prospective workers.
Consider a paid internship or apprenticeship. The Department of Labor runs an apprenticeship program that matches people looking to train for a trade with over 25 000 employers ready to offer training and labor to those willing to apprentice.
If no one else will give you a job then hire yourself by creating your own small business. You don’t necessarily need thousands of dollars to get started either… think dog walker, handyman, babysitter, lawn mower, etc. Or if you can write, design, program, have fine art or photographic or video skills, you can find work online. Since you’ll be working in a freelance capacity, your personal history will mean nothing to a prospective client.
- Network through your support groups
Most job seekers these days find that many of their leads come to them through networking. Consider that anyone you meet may have a positive job lead or know someone who can help you. Communicate your desire to find a job to friends and family and by all means, network with the recovering members of the support groups and counselors at your rehab facility or attendees at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
Most of all, don’t get discouraged. Finding work takes time, commitment and patience for everyone. If there are difficulties, discuss the situation with members of your recovery team. Many corporate executives have discovered that giving recovering addicts a second chance at success is more than charitable outreach to a disadvantaged group; it’s just good business.