Five Ways Your Job Can Help You Stay Sober

As I own and operate several different rehab centers for drug and alcohol addiction, I always make a point to recommend to my clients that they get jobs and find careers immediately on completing one of my treatment programs.  Being in recovery myself, I can’t stress enough the importance of finding gainful employment in a field that you enjoy and appreciate as soon as you achieve sobriety after completing a treatment program.

There are a lot of different reasons why having a job while in recovery can promote recovery and sobriety.  For me, it was having a commonly shared goal with friends, family, and people who depended on me and who were relying on me to get certain things done.  It might be different for you, but I have noticed that the individuals who enter the workforce when they finish rehab are more likely to stay sober and to achieve actual and real recovery if they are successfully able to get a job than those who do not.

Why This is the Case

There are a couple real, fundamental reasons why being employed promotes sobriety.  For example:

  1. Your income. Nearly everyone needs a job in the United States and that is just a fact. If you want to take care of your financial responsibilities then you will have to find gainful employment. Maybe you weren’t able to do that while you were using and during treatment but now that you have gotten clean and sober you can pass a drug test, learn a new skill, be active and reliable in the workplace, and in general actually have something really good to offer your company in the form or experience, history, zeal, and energy. Now, simply knowing that you’ll be paid regularly will be a big boost to your ongoing recovery, and you can start using your financial success to help others too.
  2. Having a job promotes stability.  The constant, never ending up-and-down and back-and-forth vicious cycle of addiction is the exact polar opposite of a normal, stable, predictable life. Steady employment however is something new to a recovering addict and can promote just this.  With steady employment you’re expected to perform well on a regular basis and show up every weekday ready to work and at a certain time too.
  3. Normalcy is brought on by employment.  Society in general expects and anticipates individuals to make responsible choices and to be able to manage their financial affairs for themselves and to not have to lean on others for help all the time. Having and keeping a job is an indication of normalcy.
  4. Having a job is a constructive use of time: No doubt you’ve heard this famous saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” This is not just a religious mantra.  Actually, simply put, with too much time and too little to do that is productive and healthy and good it’s actually quite easy to lapse into daydreams or fantasies about drug use.  Believe me I’ve seen this happen before.  Having a job keeps you busy which keeps you sober.
  5. A job creates responsibility. If you want people to trust you, you have to show that you’re worthy of that trust and that people actually can rely on you, even if they couldn’t rely on you before. Your word needs to have meaning to it, and having a job and being able to prove to others with your actions that you are reliable is one way to be responsible and to gain people’s trust.  Going to work and actually doing exactly what is expected of you shows that you are capable and worthy of this trust, and people will start to put their faith in you as a result.

There are many more reasons why having a job helps a lot in treatment.  These are only a few.  My advice is to get a job, one that you can be happy with, as soon as you get out of treatment and graduate your program.

Per Wickstrom is the founder and CEO of Best Drug Rehabilitation, one of the top holistic rehabilitation centers in the country. He found sobriety after a decades-long struggle with addiction and has since dedicated his life and career to helping others find the same life-affirming success he has. For more information, check out Per’s blog or connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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