Career Options for Recovering Alcoholics - Garden State Treatment Center

When you are new to recovery, there are many challenges to face. From admitting you have a problem entering into detox and treatment to making amends to family and friends, each stage of addiction recovery and rehabilitation comes with its own set of hurdles to overcome. It takes a lot of strength and courage to get clean and stay clean to achieve sobriety while handling the variety of other real-life issues that come along every single day for the rest of your life.


Besides those basic obvious challenges facing a former addict in the recovery process, you must also continue to show up in your daily life. The least of these is securing employment to pay the bills and put food on the table while also providing you with purpose, allowing you to move ahead in sobriety as a functioning and contributing member of society.

Jobs for Those Suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder

If you’re among the 23.5 million people suffering from alcohol abuse disorder, you may wonder what careers await you after treatment. What are the career options for recovering alcoholics? The best careers for recovering alcoholics should start by considering your previous employment history, interests, abilities, and education. Besides the basics, you must also remember to keep recovery in your schedule and ensure your work schedule can accommodate. Remember, recovery comes first.

Many alcoholics new in recovery find themselves facing a difficult job market. It may be hard to return to the same place of work you left when you entered rehab. And although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on medical history — including drug use and rehab — many former alcoholics say it can be challenging to find work.

Yes, it can be difficult, but it is not impossible. If you consider a few things, there are jobs and career options for alcoholics.

Can You Return to Your Career After Addiction?

If you had a career before entering treatment, you are ahead of the game and may be able to return. Of course, you need to weigh the options if it was and healthy fit for your lifestyle today. But some alcoholics didn’t have much of a career before rehab. Depending on when they acquired the dependency, they may have worked odd jobs, dead-end jobs, or perhaps never held down a job at all. This can be a whole new meaning and purpose in life for them.

Not knowing what you want to do the right way is perfectly normal. This is your journey, and it may look different to you than it does to another person in recovery. You need to take the time to find out what works for you. That may mean not having your dream job immediately, which is okay.

Looking for a Job in Recovery

As you start your job search, keep the following in mind. Look for a job with:

  • Regular hours: Regular hours help keep your days running on a predictable pattern like a 9-5 or 8-4, nothing over the required 8 hours. This can make scheduling meetings and recovery time around your work schedule easier.
  • Routine tasks: Routines are essential for people in recovery. Jobs with steady, routine tasks or predictable patterns are better for those in recovery than jobs with no routine.
  • Reasonable working conditions: Reasonable working conditions include a commute you can handle, a personal space that matches your fitness level, and tasks you can reliably handle.
  • Clear expectations: Clear boundaries and expectations help you feel secure and confident. They also relieve stress and help you understand what’s needed. Knowing what to expect, how to accomplish what you’re asked to do, and who is in the chain of command at your job are all aspects of having and meeting clear expectations.
  • Room for growth: Not all jobs offer room for growth and promotion, but those that do will give you a sense of achievement. You’ll have something to strive for and clear benchmarks to reach on your journey to a promotion.
  • Even if you have big dreams or plans for your career and your life, you need to take a few small steps to get there. Start small, do your best, work hard, and know that most employers care more about what you can do now than what happened in your past.

Many people in recovery love to give back because of how those who have given to them helped. This is why recovery jobs are so attractive to those in recovery. There are so many jobs that involve giving back besides being a counselor or therapist, so consider all how your experience can help.

Careers that help your fellow recovering addicts include:

  • Addiction counselors: Psychologists, social workers, and other personal counselors often find a niche in recovery work.
  • Spiritual teachers: Others find that their insights during recovery make them well-suited for spiritual work, such as pastors, personal coaches, mentors, and other spiritual counselors.
  • Therapists: Occupational therapists, physical therapists, art therapists, dance and music therapists, etc. — many therapies may include things you love and ways to give back to the recovery community.
  • Physical health: Nutritionists, yoga instructors, personal trainers, and others may help people recover physically from illness and trauma.
  • Teachers: Teachers who have been through recovery offer their students great insight and compassion. They can also spot students who may be having drug or alcohol problems and help them in recovery. Good teachers are role models, mentors, and coaches, and they can play an invaluable role in the lives of their students.

Evidence-Based Treatment for Addiction

These are just a few ideas for jobs that appeal to recovered addicts and for which people in recovery may be well-suited. But before you think about what your next step is after treatment, you must complete it first, and Garden State Treatment Center is one way to go.

Located in the heart of Northern New Jersey, Garden State Treatment Center is an outpatient and partial care addiction treatment facility that offers nuanced levels of care for individuals struggling with the horrors of substance abuse. Our explicit goal is to help addicted clients rebuild their lives from the inside out and reintegrate themselves back into society.

Published on: 2020-08-07
Updated on: 2024-02-16