Billy had a drinking problem. That’s putting it mildly. After many failed relationships, three broken marriages and four jobs, he decided he needed help. The final straw came when his boss discovered him passed out in a company car in the business’ parking lot.

Billy got fired that day and entered rehab that evening. He recognized he must do something. He was getting older and time to think about where life was taking him.

Despite all of the problems Billy’s alcoholism had caused, his latest trouble at work was one of the hardest-to-ignore signs that his drinking had spun entirely out of control.

Billy signed into rehab and committed thirty-days to an inpatient program. Following that, he would be stepped-down into an outpatient program which would allow him to seek work. Billy wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to work again.

List many addicts and alcoholics early in recovery; Billy faced some barriers:

  • He had left past jobs in adverse circumstances
  • There were several big gaps in employment because of his drinking, and
  • He wondered what effect a full-time job would have on his recovery

With the help of a career coach, Billy found that there are plenty of employment opportunities open to recovering addicts. His therapist provided him with approaches that work for most people. These included:

Find Something in Your Field

Often people new in recovery are excited about the new lease on life and desire to make sweeping changes. While enthusiasm is great, changing careers or launching out into something entirely new and be overwhelming. Something related to a past job or something that builds on skills is often a better option than something totally and entirely new.

Start Small

Start with modest expectations to keep the stress level low and ease back into work without compromising recovery. Often volunteer work, internships or jobs that don’t have strict deadlines are great as they don’t dump a lot of stress and responsibility.

Work with Structure

Persons who have had advanced careers previously may feel stifled by starting small. Jobs in offices such as design, administration, sales and marketing often are a good fit. A job that has some structure can be helpful.

Companies such as cell phone stores, print shops, insurance offices, pest control services, signage, and car lots are just a few of the type businesses that are always looking for good salespeople.

What You Can Do Matters More Than What You Have Done

Temp agencies look for someone to fill a temp job. The requirements tend to be more modest and new skills acquired along with references. Temp jobs often lead to full-time work. Apprenticeships are paid ways to get back into the workplace and trades may be attractive as they offer hands-on work.

What Can You Offer

People in recovery offer a great deal to the job site. They have the skills from their previous jobs as well as empathy from their experience with recovery.

Larry Keast, the owner of Venturetech, found recovering addicts at this company were impressive. Keast eventually founded a company to help other businesses hire recovering workers. According to Keast, hiring workers in recovery improved the overall morale and created a stronger workplace.

What is the Best Job for a Recovering Addict or Alcoholic?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Like recovery, each must make their own journey — with the right support — and build a new life and career.

Finding a job in recovery is possible. Millions of people do it every day.

Before looking for work, tackle substance abuse and start recovering. Start the process of healing, so you become a positive influence on your own life and a good worker for an employer.