5 Career Tips for People in Recovery - Know Your Worth

5 Career Tips for People in Recovery – Know Your Worth

February 13, 2021

So, you’ve gotten sober, you’ve participated in your own healing, and now it’s time to transition back into the stream of life? Stepping back into the workforce can be anxiety provoking and scary, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back! There are many individuals who have walked this path before you and here are 5 career tips they’ve shared to help you get the job! Now that you are sober the possibilities are endless. You are worthy of financial success and growth in your career. Read on to see how you can land successfully in the next part of your journey.


As you step back into the workforce it is important that you choose your job wisely. Only you know your skills and abilities. Be sure to start yourself on a path that you want to be on. As a recovering woman it is important to find balance in all aspects of your life, especially your career. Despite what you may have been doing before obtaining sobriety, choose to apply for jobs that can excel your growth but won’t overwhelm you. No matter what your skill level is remember you are worthy and right where you are supposed to be. Be your own cheerleader but make sure you resume is an honest and accurate representation of who you are. There are so many opportunities available to you. Step out of fear and walk in your truth, you will be selected for the job that best fits you!


When living the recovery lifestyle, we are often surrounded by a community of sober people. Depending upon the field you choose to work in, when stepping back into the work force your environment is subject to change. In an interview, and within the workplace, it is important to keep healthy boundaries to keep yourself safe and serene and your work life productive. As a person in recovery you do not have to disclose your sobriety or struggle with addiction to anyone. Your recovery is personal and can stay between you and your support system. It is important to remember that now that you are sober, you have the ability to make healthy decisions. Your voice is powerful, and you must not be afraid to use it. On the other hand, if you feel comfortable sharing your experience and feel like it would be helpful to you in obtaining the job you want or you share a bond with trusted colleagues, you are able to do so. It is illegal for any workplace to discriminate against employees based on disabilities and we must remember that substance use disorders are a chronic illness.


The first step to obtaining any new job is to do research and see what jobs are open in your area. Next it is important to build a string resume of your past experience. Be sure to highlight your strengths and make it clean and easy to understand. Resume building can be daunting and difficult, it is more than ok to ask for help from a friend, mentor, or clinician in your life. There are many helpful online articles and templates that are available for you to access as well. After submitting an application and resume we often think the work is done and it is time for us to sit back, relax, and wait on that call. Well, to your advantage the work is not quite done yet. It is important to make yourself stand out amongst other candidates. It is wise to call the Human Resources department of the job you are applying to weekly and let them know you applied, you are checking on the status of your application, and are inquiring about the possibility of being set up with an interview. Another technique that can be used to set yourself apart is to print a hard copy of your resume and application and visit the organization in which you are applying for work. Ask if the manager is available and take a few minutes to shake their hand and let them know you are interested in a job. Having a face to face interaction can keep you fresh in the mind of your future employer and shows your dedication and willingness to the job before an interview.


In the midst of finding your career path and putting in the hard work it takes to find a job, it is important to find time for yourself, de-stress, and participate in self-care activities. If you find that seeking out employment is at the forefront of your mind every day and you are having trouble focusing on much else, it is most definitely time to decompress. In this time, it is vital to stay close to your support system and community to share your experience, struggles, and triumphs in this time. You must be your own biggest advocate and remember that your career does not define your worth. Spending time in nature, quality time with friends and loved ones, a pedicure, or a face mask are all examples of self-care activities. Do what makes you feel good. Life can be so busy and balancing a career into all of it can be demanding. You are allowed to take time and space for you and your peace of mind.

Dress for Success

First impressions are so important! Whether it be for an interview, or to turn in a resume in person, dress for the job you want not the job you have. Whatever the position you’re applying for, maybe it is crucial to exert and show up with the utmost professionalism. Ladies, it is recommended that you wear a blouse and slacks or a skirt. Have your hair neat and as natural as possible. Keep your style simple but elegant. Don’t be afraid to throw on a blazer and a pair of pumps! You are beautiful and you are worthy of employment. To the men, a formal button down and slacks are highly recommended. Even if this isn’t your dream job you know what they say; dress for the job you want not for the job you have. Your appearance must match the strength and knowledge of what’s on the inside. When seeking an interview outfit don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your closet is looking a little sparse call up a friend, go through donations, or check out your local thrift stores. You are not alone. There are people in your life rooting for your success. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and reap the rewards that come along with it.

Garrett Stanford
Garrett Stanford brings years of experience working with individuals and families struggling with substance abuse and behavioral health issues. He began working in the nonprofit treatment sector for 2 years before transitioning into the private sector. Garrett has been involved in treatment since 2010, with 10+ years of experience ranging from operations, administration, admissions and addiction research.
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