Recovering Addicts: How to Limit Pessimism During Your Job Hunt

All of us have at one point or another felt the effects of having to go out and hunt for a job.  But only a few of us are in recovery and having to experience that same thing.  For those of us in recovery, going into the marketplace and hunting for a job can be an altogether more difficult thing than for those of us who have never struggled with addiction before.  For those of us who actually do need a job but have a history of addiction, sometimes getting that job can be a very difficult prospect.

Drug and alcohol addiction robs us of so much.  What we often forget though is that drug and alcohol addiction continues to rob us of so much even after we have beaten addiction and come out on the other side winning and successful.  What we do not always realize is that drug and alcohol addiction tends to have a lasting effect on us that seems to carry on long after we have stopped using drugs and alcohol.  From my own personal experience and from seeing it in thousands of fellow recovered addicts, drug and alcohol addiction leaves permanent scars.

How Past Addiction Affects Our Present Day Job Hunt

If you have suffered from addiction before, you are probably very familiar with the general feelings and sensations that come about from trying to get through life suffering and struggling with the stigma of addiction and substance abuse in general.  You have probably experienced this for yourself in more ways than one.

When it comes to a job hunt, all a prospective employer has to hear is that you were once an addict and boom, an instant mark against you.  From my perspective, I believe that this ultimately ends up disqualifying about fifty percent of persons in recovery who try to enter back into the workforce.

On the one hand, you can’t really blame employers for being skeptical.  They want what is in their best interests for their company, and if they don’t want to take the risk of hiring an ex-addict, that is on them.  And that is totally fine.  Rather than incriminating or railing against employers and feeling sorry for yourself about how hard it is to get a job once in recovery, I would instead encourage you to try to find strength and resilience in your recovery.  I would instead encourage you to work hard, to make it go right, and to push yourself to be the best that you can be in every way that you can.

Use pessimism as a fuel to the fire that is your need for a job.  Consider the, “It can’t get much worse than this,” principle.  Understand that, if you’ve been turned down because of your history of addiction, that that is simply the way it is and that that sort of thing is going to happen.

Use the pessimism to foster an understanding that all of this is simply a numbers game.  Use your experience with missing job opportunities to understand that it is only a matter of time before a job prospect comes through and you have a chance at a really good job.

What I want you to do is I want you to keep trying.  Remember that every “No” means that you are just one step closer to a “Yes.”  Keep this in mind and just keep at it!  Work on yourself, your pitch, your resume, your appearance, and just keep showing up for job interviews and you will eventually close the deal on a job where your new employer couldn’t care less that you were once an addict.