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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

10-20-11 | By

5 Tips For Your First Job In Recovery

finding a job in recovery
Everyone needs money.

Reality check! You’re out of treatment and you’re in a halfway house. You have a few days worth of clothes, a pack of Ramen Noodles, and 36 bucks in your pocket. The world may feel very heavy at this moment.

This may not be the path that everyone takes who is new in recovery, but I think we can agree it is not uncommon for newcomers to go through the rounds. I would love to tell you not to worry, but this is a worrisome time for many recovering addicts.

Let’s be real. You need a job.

You may have lots of people giving you different advice about a job when new in recovery. This article is not designed to tell you what to do. It is simply an accumulation of suggestions taken from those on the Sober Nation team. We have all been there before. Where do we begin??

1 – Take What You Can Get

manual labor as a job in recovery

This is no time to be cocky. Any job is a good job. Be grateful for any opportunity to get up in the morning and contribute to society. Maybe there is an open job doing manual labor, maybe you can work behind the counter at Starbucks or some other sidewalk store. No matter what place of employment you decide upon, don’t ever get down on yourself or let your job make you feel inadequate.

Work is a noble practice. If your first job doesn’t start you with a $100,000 a year salary, do not be discouraged. Everyone has to start somewhere. This job is probably only temporary, but try your best to see it as an opportunity to build some skills, practice accountability and learn to manage money.

Any job is a chance to learn lessons in recovery and life.

2 – Be Careful In Service Positions

being a sober bartender

Some people may tell you to avoid the service industry all together. We will stand by the notion that it is a personal decision. Sometimes it is not always that simple. Everyone has bills to pay, and you may find that waiting tables or serving alcohol is your best option. Just be careful…

Waiting tables is a stressful position.

There are hundreds if not thousands of people who have relapsed because their job required them to be around alcohol. Restaurants and bars can make alcohol look very fun. It’s Friday night, friends and family are sitting around the table seemingly enjoying each others company with a steak dinner and a bottle of wine. But that is not your life.

No matter what it takes, you must avoid that first drink. If the temptation is too much to bear, than start looking for another job. Avoid the first drink at all costs.

3 – Take It Eeeaaasssy

relax in recovery

We get it. You’re clean and sober, you feel great and you want to make a name for yourself. There is plenty of time for that.

Take your time. The last thing you need is to replace the drugs and alcohol with the pursuit of money. If your new job has given you the opportunity to make a steady income, that’s great! Just be mindful of your other responsibilities.

If you are attending meetings, don’t miss them to work more hours. If you are seeing a therapist, make sure you get to your appointments. Whatever your path, it is important that you keep your recovery the highest priority. Your new job will disappear quickly if you start smoking crack. True story.

There is plenty of time to make a career for yourself. A good rule of thumb is to be mindful of the first year. No big changes, no crazy hours at work. Keep recovery first.

4 – Always Do Your Best

always do your best

Show up on time. Pay attention to detail. It doesn’t matter if you are a janitor or a cashier or a waiter. Be grateful for your job and do the best you can.

Yes, it is important that you do good work. Aside from that, try to see your employment as a chance to practice building good habits for the rest of your life. If you are slacking off at work, chances are you are slacking off in other areas in your life.

No one is saying that you need to win employee of the month, but try to do your best at work. If you are doing the best you can, you will know it. Doing your best is proving through your actions, that you have gratitude. Trust me, your positive attitude and your good work ethic will not go unnoticed!

5 – Be Grateful For Your Job

having gratitude for your job

If you hadn’t noticed, gratitude was a theme throughout every one of these tips. But gratitude it is so important it should be mentioned again.

No matter what you do, keep in mind that there is someone out there who is less fortunate than you who would take your job in a split second.

Even if you are making minimum wage, always be grateful for your job.

What If One Of My Coworkers Asks Me To Go Out For A Drink??

This is an important topic, one that many people have questions about and something that merits more conversation.

We don’t have an exact answer for this. Personally, I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer. It can be awkward because if you decline an invitation out for happy hour with your coworkers, will they look at you differently? What if someone finds out you are in recovery? Is that even any of their business? It’s tricky.

These are all real life situations and there is a good chance you may run into this scenario one day. I will tell you what I do. I simply say, “no thank you, I don’t drink.”

As long as you keep your recovery first, everything will come together for you.

As stated earlier, these tips are by no means etched in stone. They are simply suggestions which have helped many of us early in recovery. Becoming a part of the workforce, learning to manage money and becoming a contributing member of society has huge benefits.

Slowly you will save some money now that you are not spending it all on drugs and booz. You can use your money to go to the movies, go out to dinner, or maybe even save up for a trip. It feels really good to go to work every day.

Off you go!

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