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.

Can You Merge Recovery Goals with Business Goals

Drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse, in general, is certainly a worrisome crisis issue and problem, to say the least.  This is without a doubt the single most worrisome and problematic crisis issue that the nation struggles with when it comes to health-related problems and concerns.  Drug and alcohol addiction has wreaked havoc on our country ever since day one, but ever since the turn of the century, the problem has been a lot more massive and a lot more concerning than it usually is.  The issues and crisis is a worry, to say the least, and has been an ongoing one.  If we all don’t come together and do something about the problem then it will surely only get worse long before it gets any better.

Though substance abuse is a serious crisis issue, to say the least, it is equally difficult for people when they have actually beaten their addictions.  Most people think that it is the times leading up to rehabilitation that is the hardest. I know for a fact that that is not necessarily true.  In fact, I am of the opinion that life after rehab is just as hard for a recovering addict as life before rehab was, at least for the first few years. Granted, it is a different kind of difficulty, but it is a tough time, to say the least.

When people come out of drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation centers, they are suddenly faced with the task of actually staying sober and staying away from drugs and alcohol.  Not an easy thing to do by any means at all.  Of course, those who have gone to rehab may say, “But the guy just went to rehab. Shouldn’t he be able to stay away from drugs and alcohol thanks to everything he learned in rehab?”

There is some truth to this. Sure, a thirty-day or a sixty-day or even a ninety-day rehab will help a person quite bit in addressing their underlying issue and focusing on their different crisis problems. It will give them the ability to stop using drugs and alcohol at the very least while he or she is in rehab. However, a rehab center only scrapes the tip of the iceberg.

A rehab center is just the beginning. Look at it this way. How on earth can you expect a man (or a woman) who has been abusing drugs and alcohol for several years to suddenly be 100% cured after just a few weeks at a rehab center? Not only is it impossible, but it is actually laughable. No, it will take much more than that.

Why Business Goals Can Help in Recovery

When one beats addiction, one must absolutely immerse themselves into their business goals and into their other areas of life.  As I said it once before:

“Full immersions and dedication and 100% effort into a business or career will provide the fuel to the flames that will keep the cold snap of relapse from ever coming too close.”

I know from personal experience and from seeing it in hundreds of other recovering addicts that the key to a continuing recovery and the key to never turning back to drugs and alcohol was and is to completely dive into a business or career or new plan of some kind and go hell bent for weather after it.  This to me is one of the best if not the best ways to stay sober from drug and alcohol addiction once and for all and for good.

The key is to have goals. Business goals and recovery goals can align. A recovery goal that most recovering individuals set is to find success in some area, whether it is a business idea, a hobby, a passion, a good cause, or some personal plan or aspiration.  Engaging in absolute intensity in those goals is what promotes recovery and abstinence from drug and alcohol addiction. I cannot stress this enough.

To all who complete my rehabilitation programs at my recovery centers, I tell them to not rest on their laurels. I tell them to get out there and succeed!

Acceptance vs. Approval: How They Can Affect an Addict in Recovery

Drug and alcohol addiction has long-lasting consequences in a person that pushes and pushes and brings about loss after loss in a person to the point of that person necessitating help and assistance from others.  Substance abuse has the proclivity to create dangerous and in fact disastrous conditions in people.  Even after one achieves sobriety there is absolutely no guarantee of a lifetime of peaches and cream and easy streets.

Having suffered from addiction myself decades ago, I speak from first-hand experiences in this area.  My own substance abuse crisis nearly took me over, with problem after problem after problem rising up and creating, in fact, devastating issues for me.  Though I beat addiction, I have seen others who haven’t.  I have seen people who had years and years of sobriety crash and burn and suffer immensely.  It often does not take much.  The position of recovery is often not a stable one, and I feel the need to caution those in recovery who would seek out a life of danger and risk to stay your hand in your decisions and build your strength and your resilience before you take such risks.

One thing I have noticed is that one’s position in life and one’s relationships with others can absolutely make all of the difference when confronting the crisis that is drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse in general.  Perhaps one of the greatest factors in whether or not a person will make it in their life of recovery is whether or not he or she seeks out acceptance from people or approval.

Which Course of Action Should a Recovered Addict Take?

I have seen all too often recovering addicts trying their hardest to gain approval from others around them.  The problem is, when recovering addicts live in this way, they encourage the growth and the continuance of the stereotype of, “Recovering Addict.”  That is not a pleasant stereotype by any means at all.  I have seen recovering addicts beg and plead for the approval of their peers and seniors to the point of sheer propitiation.  It is not a fun thing to watch.  I have seen recovering addicts go so low in this quest for approval that they relapsed.

But why did they relapse?  An interesting thing occurs when someone degrades themselves to the level of needing approval from others.  In doing so one instantly degrades their own personal value.  In doing so, one automatically forfeits one’s own confidence in oneself.  In doing so, one automatically experiences the feelings of degradation and depravity that someone who abuses drugs and alcohol often feels.  This is by no means a safe or comfortable condition to be in.  In fact, it brings about relapse.

Because a person who is seeking the approval of others has a very low opinion of themselves, such a person will also have a tendency to be more at risk for relapse than someone who does not seek that approval.  Because of this, a deep-rooted desire to seek approval is actually a lot more dangerous than most people think it to be.

Better yet to strive to seek acceptance from people.  Acceptance means to simply get the people in your life to accept that you used to be a drug addict or an alcoholic, and then to move on.  Acceptance means getting those who you care about to not turn a blind eye to your past but to also not set expectations for you that are not real to you.  Acceptance is not an unachievable conquest, but it is still a challenge of sorts.

I urge you to strive for acceptance, not approval.  Once you cross a certain line and begin to desire and need the approval of others, you break into a realm that can itself bring about a relapse.  Steer clear from this mindset, and instead, work to achieve the acceptance of those whom you care about.