We’ve all had the thoughts once we’ve reached a point in sobriety:
“What if I fail?”
“What if I succeed?”
“Who am I now that I’m sober?”
“How do I restart everything else in my life?
Once we’ve sustained a decent amount of sober time and have come to a place in our sobriety where practicing our program becomes second nature, our insides begin to match our outsides. We may find ourselves practicing self-acceptance and gratitude. We become deeply fulfilled by our serenity and inner peace without relying on any external factors.
However, after time has passed, life hits again – and we must repair the damage we caused in the past lives.
We see others and think, “wow, she’s got a great job,” or “he’s about to graduate with his masters, I wish I could do that.”
The truth is, you can.
We Sell Ourselves Short
So, you had a little detour. That’s it. If you spoke to a friend the way you spoke to yourself, how do you think that relationship would turn out? No matter what terrible or selfish things we’ve done, we were capable and crafty enough of going to extreme lengths we did without any – or at least many people knowing, right? We’re smart. We were able to live two lives in one. I don’t know who else can do that – so use that fact to your advantage, for good. As addicts and alcoholics, we are powerful beyond measure, and our thoughts become our actions. Our actions become our days, and in turn – that becomes our life.
Walking Through The Fear
There are probably as many fears as there are people in recovery, however certain fears are pretty common among us recovering alcoholics and addicts.
“What if I don’t get the job?”
“What if I never am able to save up?”
“What if I never rebuild my credit?”
Get rid of the “nevers,” because they are NEVER going to serve you. One of the biggest fears many people in recovery is the fear of the unknown.
Fear is caused by the belief that something may cause pain or harm. To a large extent, you’re reacting to something that hasn’t happened yet. You’re imagining a disastrous or disappointing outcome. For example, you’re afraid you won’t be able to stay sober, but you haven’t given yourself a chance to see whether you can. You’re afraid to apply for that job because you think you won’t even get hired from your past, but you haven’t even given yourself the chance.
Getting That Job
Gaining employment helps us pay the bills, puts food on the table, and ultimately providers purpose – allowing us to move ahead in sobriety as a contributing member of society. However, unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as updating a resume and putting in an application or two. Those who have struggled with substance abuse or addiction face barriers to employment that extend beyond the state of the job market, which level of education they’ve achieved, or how qualified they are relative to the rest of the applicants. Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as updating a resume and putting in an application or two.
Those who have struggled with substance abuse or addiction face barriers to employment that extend beyond the state of the job market, which level of education they’ve achieved, or how qualified they are relative to the rest of the applicants. Some face the stigma of addition, while others may have carried criminal charges with them from addiction to recovery.
However, you may have heard the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In the case of finding a job while in addiction recovery, this cliché is definitely true.
For most, being in recovery puts them in touch with a new network of counselors, sponsors, and sober friends who are willing and able to help them get back on their feet. If you are living in a sober living or a halfway house, your house manager can not only connect you with job opportunities, but he or she may also serve as a credible reference, verifying your trustworthiness and commitment to sobriety.
Going To School
Is it a good idea to go back to school? Of course it is.
Going back to school whether that be going to college to finish a degree or attaining your GED can increase your job skill-set and gain potential to help your future. While this is the obvious benefit of education, it can also help build a stronger network of positive peers and provide a great form of structure, adding to your onward momentum. Though, if your recovery begins to loose it’s course, school could be a stressor that is too much, too soon.
Rebuilding a life after addiction isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. It can add stress and is often considered another full time job while balancing our main job – recovery. To minimize stress and frustration that could threaten your sobriety, you must be patient, both with the process and with yourself. Going back to school or going back to work is not only a tenet of addiction recovery, but necessary to provide us a sense of purpose, meaning, and accomplishment.
For that reason, the resume writing, interviewing, hard studying and test-taking will well be worth it when you feel like you’re living up to your full potential.