As a former drug abuser I can say starting over after years of damage has been like conquering a mountain, on step at a time. Getting sober in it self is hard enough, but making a fresh start in life is in many ways an even more difficult task, no matter your age. Stepping back into the work force world and resuming a normal lifestyle after spending years as an addict, has been compared to, by some of the people I know in recovery, as coming out of a cave after years of isolation. Of course, we joke about it but it is a process of transition which requires change, patience, persistence, and perseverance.
If you have recently found sobriety or, you have some time in your recovery and want to make sure that you are able to make things go right, here's a few a few things I can suggest from personal experience.
My most sound piece of advice is don't be in a hurry. Nothing happens overnight. When addiction no longer consumes us, we want to walk back out into the world and take life by the horns, only to fall flat on our face. I can't argue that we feel better sober and I believe you should absolutely live life to its fullest, but don’t take on more than you can handle yet. Notice I said the word "yet", because as you get some time under your belt you will find that your coping skills will grow as you grow. This "I've got sobriety by the horns" mistake I have seen first hand where I work, with some clients leaving Fresh Start Rehabilitation Center. They become overwhelmed when they go back to Homelife. Some respond by seeking counsel but others fall back into addiction.
Note to self: "Just because you're sober doesn't mean you're ready to be the bull riding champion"! We've been masking our feelings with drugs and or alcohol for quite some time and stress is a contributing factor for failure. It is Very important that we avoid stressers as much as possible. The pace of life is likely to be quite different now, and it is very well worth it to take some time readjusting.
Many of us have faced legal consequences. I personally find having a felony on your background limits the places of work that you can apply. But, we have to start somewhere. There's no surviving without income. The good news is there are jobs out there for people who want to work regardless of your past history. Don't stop beating the concrete you will find one.
Going back to work in your former field of employment may not be an option. Your former job may require background checks or consequences of your addiction may have involved your job.
If this does or has happened to you, this is where humility comes in. That's right sometimes we have to humble ourselves and work at a job that we never would have considered before addiction. I have scrub toilets for Jesus since finding sobriety but after being a nurse for 20 plus years, I had to remind myself it was my own actions that brought me to that path. Nevertheless, I humbled myself and scrubbed them as if it had been my job my entire life.
Whatever job you do, do it to the best of your ability. Hard work never goes unrewarded. You never know who's watching and taking note of your work ethic. I had a friend in recovery that took a job at McDonald's after losing her license in the medical field. Within eight months she was promoted to manager. She went from an hourly wage to salary with insurance and benefits.
There is a good chance that you did things to other people — or failed to do things that you should have — while you were an addict and that can alter a decision for hire. All the family, friends and former co-workers will be happy about you having new-found sobriety but they may not be willing to give you a good reference just yet. This is also where you have to get truthful with yourself and understand consequences are always part of addiction. It takes time to earn trust back, even if we're headed down the right path .
Perhaps the most important step you can take following your recovery from addiction is to figure out what your goals are in life and to set about following those goals. In fact, this will tend to make the other things happen. The future is a blank slate, and it is up to you to decide what you want to do and have in life, but you have to make that decision and carry it out.
It is never out of the question, no matter your background to get an education. We have Vo-Tech schools and colleges in our area that offer placement upon completion. You are never too young or to old to learn. The brain is like a muscle it can bounce back and be even better than before.
As I climb that mountain that I call "Goals", I hear the words of my best friend Tonya say to me" Ain't no Hill for a stepper!" By putting one foot in front of the other, before I know it I starting to see the top, you will too! Just remember persevere, patience and humility will be your life line in the climb.
Your future and your life matters, and as you grown in sobriety it may be your words or actions one day that will save another and help them find recovery. God places Us in the presence of other so he can use us for his purpose. The job that you humble yourself to work at may be the very place you encounter that person. Today and everyday if we can save one life Millie mattered!