Forget “Idle Hands”: Four Reasons to Start a Job in Recovery
Your first year in recovery will throw a lot of curve balls at you as you rediscover your life free of dependency on drugs and alcohol. Interestingly, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that having a job can help bolster an addict’s recovery plans. Here are four reasons why you should consider starting a new job your first year in recovery, if you don’t already have one, and how it can benefit you.
- You’ll keep busy. One of the biggest obstacles in your first year after treatment will be filling the time you used to spend seeking out and using drugs; you need a healthier alternative. Having a job is a way to fill your days and bring structure to your life. Getting used to reporting for work also gives you the opportunity to create new routines that are meaningful. This is the time to celebrate every little way you find happiness in your life. Work can give you a sense of satisfaction.
- Fill in your resume gaps. Although many addicts manage to maintain some level of employment, many others do not, and over time this can result in gaps on your resume. Your first job in recovery is an opportunity to take back your professional narrative. Employers look for intent and potential; show ‘em what you’ve got. Never underestimate the value of being the hardest working employee on your team.
- Be accountable to others. Most jobs require you to be accountable to others, either as a manager or reporting to a supervisor. These ready-made social connections will remind you that others depend on you, and more importantly, that you can be counted on as a crucial and effective support for others. Being a meaningful part of your work team can help you feel recognized and appreciated.
- Financial stability brings empowerment. Addiction is expensive, taking a toll on you and your loved ones as well as your bank account. Once you begin receiving paychecks from a job, you’ll find you’ll have a lot more money than you did in the past, because it’s not all going to your habit. After you’ve paid back your debts, consider saving for something you’ve always dreamed of – a trip to an exotic location or a home – and start saving up for it. Without addiction getting in your way, you’ll be surprised at the kind of prosperity you can bring into your life.
Starting a new job is an opportunity to begin a new chapter in your life. Deciding where you’ll work and why are decisions you can be proud of, no matter what kind of work you’re doing. Whether your job is way to rebuild professional skills, save up a little money, regain your sense of personal accountability or just a means to an end, being employed is a solid step forward that displays confidence and capability. Work is a way to provide meaning and move yourself farther away from the life you knew as a substance abuser.