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Working While in Recovery

picture of Joe Gilmore
Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

November 9, 2021

Table of Contents

Working while in recovery is a great idea – if done at the right time.

The recovery process is a long one. It starts with Rehab, which is typically a 30 to 90 day process. From there, you’ll move on to “aftercare.” Aftercare is the care that comes after Rehab – it is an important next step and one that cannot be skipped.

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Working While In Recovery

There are several options for those who wish to . Once you’ve completed rehab, you’ll be free of any substances in your body. You are then eligible to move onto outpatient care, such as a sober living facility. Rehab centers will always try to place you with a sober living community that they use regularly. Why that’s often a fine idea, you really need to do your own research. In most cases, it’s best to have a relative help you in your search for a sober living home.

Once you’ve been placed, you’ll continue your addiction recovery treatment.

Somewhere along this journey, if you have medical insurance, you will have likely used up your coverage. Sober living homes range in pricing from $1000 a month to $30,000 a month, depending on what type of facility you’ve chosen.

It’s at this point that you need to consider whether or not you’re able to start working to help offset the costs. Your Case Manager can help you make this assessment and can even help place you in a job.

Any Job is a Good Job

You’re going to need a job with flexible hours so that you can attend your therapy and treatment sessions. There’s no shame in taking a job that is not following your career path at this point, as you need to be singularly focusing on your recovery. Working while in recovery serves two purposes: it helps to pay for your treatment and it helps you adjust to a sober life.

You’ll slowly start to adjust to the stress of a routine as you reimmerse yourself into society as a functioning adult. While there may be challenges, you can rest easy knowing that you have a strong support structure within your sober living home.

New Beginnings

Working while in recovery can also be a new beginning. We often see our patients leave their old careers behind and embark on a new career built around the success of their new job. Many people find that working in recovery gives them a fresh perspective in life and they reevaluate their life choices – including their career choice.

There will be challenges, of course.

5 Common Challenges of Finding Employment in Early Recovery

Finding employment in recovery isn’t always easy, especially considering the challenges most addicts in recovery face when they start hunting for jobs after rehab. Some of the most common employment challenges addicts in recovery face are:

1. A Lack of Positive References

Many people in recovery may lack credible references because of past drug abuse and the negative effects it had on their employment history. Examples may include frequent tardiness, absences, substance use on the job, or decreased job performance.

2. Stigma

The social stigma of addiction may keep employers from giving addicts in recovery a fair chance at performing a job. Some people in recovery may be less likely to even get an interview if the potential employer finds out they are in recovery or had substance abuse problems in the past.

3. Prior Beliefs About Finances Before Recovery

Sometimes people in recovery can revert to the way they viewed their finances before recovery: defining themselves by the material possessions they have or valuing their character by the size of their paycheck. Working a program of recovery is a life-changing process, and on page 127 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, it says:

“The head of the house ought to remember that he is mainly to blame for what befell his home. He can scarcely square the account in his lifetime. But he must see the danger of over-concentration on financial success.”

Financial recovery does occur, but only after personal recovery occurs. Personal recovery is the foundation block that people in recovery must build the rest of their lives on. If financial recovery comes first, and employment is lost, all the blocks above it may crumble down.

4. Honesty About Working a Program of Recovery

When seeking employment while enrolled in sober living, many residents ask how they should address their recovery progress when speaking with potential employers. Placing personal recovery over financial recovery plays a role here. Often, people make the mistake of working a program of recovery around a job, rather than prioritizing recovery first. Having the ability to attend meetings, work with a sponsor, and sponsor others will keep sober living residents sober longer than simply having a job. Page 78 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous addresses issues such as this when cleaning our side of the street:

“Telling them what we are trying to do, we make no bones about our drinking; they usually know it anyway, whether we think so or not. Nor are we afraid of disclosing our alcoholism on the theory it may cause financial harm.”

So, what should be done? Working a program of recovery should always be the priority. When considering this question, consult with other people in recovery and your sponsor for their experience before acting.

5. Having a Criminal Record in Recovery

Entering a sober living program with a criminal record is not an uncommon situation. Most people in recovery have had their fair share of run-ins with law enforcement. Some of the run-ins may have been dismissed. However, some people in recovery may have a felony record. A felony charge, to most people, means gaining employment is not going to happen.

Eudaimonia Sober Living Programs Include Employment Help for Recovering Addicts

Eudaimonia Recovery Homes provides employment assistance to each sober living resident that enrolls in our program. Our staff helps residents gain respectable employment by aiding in the following areas:

  • Locating and applying for job opportunities
  • Updating or creating a resume
  • Training and practice developing interview skills and other life skills

At Eudaimonia, we not only provide safe, sober housing for people in recovery, but we also offer helpful job resources and skills training for recovering addicts. We believe this gives each resident the best opportunity to develop an established foundation in sobriety and overall well-being.

Employment ResourcesHelp for Recovering Addicts

There are also many online resources that provide employment help and job listings for recovering addicts in sober living, such as:

  • Jobs for Felon Hubs
  • America in Recovery
  • National Hire Network




At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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