The Problems Of Finding A Job After Drug Rehab

Drug rehab is a rewarding, empowering journey for many struggling with drug addiction. It is the chance to tackle problems head-on, admit to the illness and make a change.

Many come out the other side physically and mentally stronger, and able to make big life changes. One of the most important of those changes is employment. Returning to work allows former addicts to regain a sense of control and self-worth.

A new job and a new opportunity to create a new chapter in their lives.  The first thing a person needs to do is update and create a professional resume. If you are not up to the challenge there are good resume writers available online that can help you

However, it is difficult for many former users to get a job straight out of rehab. Attitudes and opportunities decrease as employers look down on former addicts. This means that many recovering addicts may have to take an alternative approach. The good news is that there is a way forward for those that take the right steps and positively apply themselves. 

Creating The Perfect Resume After Drug Rehab

A professional resume is the starting point for many applicants. However, the process is a little more difficult for those leaving rehab. This is a big obstacle for many because of the gaps in the timeline and the level of honesty about their experience.

Employers will ask why a skilled professional, with a decade of experience, wants a low-level job in food service or retail. There is always that risk of applicants getting turned away because they are “over-qualified.” Then there are the rehab stories that are sure to come out. It is all about using that experience, and other skills, to secure the position and win over the interviewer.

Many professionals and other former addicts may not have the skills to create the perfect resume for this situation. Some may only know how to sell their professional qualifications, not themselves. This is where a resume writing service can help.

Here skilled writers can create a positive, engaging document of an applicant’s life experience and skills. They can highlight personal traits and other positive elements and move away from past roles and that employment gap.

(Source: TEDx Talks)

A professional resume after drug rehab can help applicants with other issues. Creating a good resume is a crucial starting point for new applicants fresh out of rehab. That is because it is difficult to win employers over in this situation. The best resumes will accentuate the positives and smooth over the negatives.

This is essential when applicants have to deal with the following:

  • Stigma from previous employers and co-workers
  • Stigma from other companies that don’t want to hire former addicts
  • Problems restarting old positions where they left off
  • Problems starting over because of gaps in employment records

Stigma is One of the Most Difficult Issues to Face

There are those that still look down on drug addicts and users, even vilify them. Some see them as of lower worth because they turned to drugs to cope with problems. Some focus on the criminal element of illegal drug use and possession. Others look at the knock-on effects that come from that addition. Few look at the addiction as an illness. This is a big problem for those struggling with their demons. It is also a crushing blow to all those that work through their issues in rehab.

Society should reward those that go through a successful stay in drug rehab. These are the ones that worked hard to improve their lives and chances. They are the strong ones that fought back to become better, healthier and more productive. Many people, including employers, look at the reason for the journey, rather than the destination.

This stigma doesn’t help when trying to re-enter the workplace.

It is very difficult for people to pick up a job where they left off after rehab. This isn’t like most physical illnesses where employees can take a leave of absence, get better and return to their post.

Many people that disclose their problems and leave for rehab don’t have a job to return to. Many lose their job on admitting to their drug dependency issues and aren’t allowed back. Others face dismissal due to issues like failed drugs tests or poor performance.

A company may show some understanding and compassion for a second chance. But, even there are the attitudes of former colleagues to consider. Re-entering the workplace in the same role could lead to undue psychological distress and expectations.

The alternative to re-entering the same position would be to re-enter the industry in a similar role elsewhere. This isn’t quite picking up where former addicts leave things, but it is the next best thing. The problem comes with the explanations and references in the interview process. The stint in rehab could lead to a significant gap in the employment record.

There may also be negative experiences with convictions and dismissals from previous posts. Some companies will focus on the failure to succeed in a previous, similar post, rather than the recovery and restart.

Applicants don’t want to lie about their experience. They shouldn’t have to when rehab is such a positive journey, and one to be proud of. Many know that they will face repercussions.

The solution here may require a complete rethink over the type of job and the approach.

Returning to a familiar job seems like the best idea for rebuilding after drug rehab. Many former users want to regain the life that they had. The problem is that is difficult to do so in a positive manner. Employees can gloss over their stint in rehab and employers can’t erase any issues that may have occurred in the past. Therefore, it becomes difficult to recreate that old life and manage expectation.

The alternative approach is to draw a line in the sand and search for something new. This is scary for many that hold the same role for years. This fresh start can provide new opportunities to learn and build on lessons learned in rehab.

It is important to choose the right role; one that meets emotional and physiological needs, not just financial ones. This could mean either of the following:

  1. Full-time roles in entry-level positions
  2. Volunteering
  3. Personal venture for an independent business


1. Full-time Roles in Entry-level Positions

This is a great way to start fresh and gain some new experience. An entry-level position in an entirely new industry could wipe the slate clean.

Lower level positions provide training and skills in a new area of interest. This could be something related to a previous role or something that they had given up on for a career prior. Some will see this approach as a step back. The wages will decrease, and the prestige may disappear.

A good resume writing service will help applicants tailor the presentation of experience and skills to the new role.

Good resume writing service

On the other hand, these lower-level roles lower expectations and stresses. It is difficult to go straight into a powerful role with lots of responsibilities directly from rehab. The pressure to succeed could hinder progress. These alternative roles lessen the tension, but still, provide a strong routine of regular hours. It is a nice stepping stone back into the world of work.

2. Volunteer Work

The problem with a gap in employment records is that this a red flag for employers. Many will fail to succeed in interviews without recent experience. Volunteer work is a great way to fill that gap. This shows a desire to become a productive, important member of a community and a good work ethic.

Recruiters may consider this. Those that successfully help out in a charity shop at their scheduled times prove they are now reliable post-rehab.

The other benefit of the volunteering angle is that it allows former addicts to make amends in some way. Many people will come through rehab with a better understanding of the damage caused by addiction. Some will feel compelled to give something back to the local area, or perhaps to the services that helped them. This helps with self-worth and to reinforce the outcomes of their recovery.

3. Starting a Personal Business

This last approach is possibly the most difficult. It all depends on the intentions of the individual, the support available and the hard work. Volunteer work is rewarding but won’t pay the bills. Entry level positions just won’t suit everyone. This is especially true for those that thrive on personal responsibilities and high workloads.

This takes us back to that idea of drawing a line in the sand and starting over. This is a chance to try something entirely different for success post-rehab. Those that are clean and determined can try for personal business venture if others aren’t hiring. This could be an independent approach to their previous profession. For example, accountants, designers or solicitors may want to branch out on their own. Then there are those that may choose to follow a passion instead.

A stint in rehab, and survival of addiction, place perspective on the world. Some may decide to follow their heart as life is too short. This could mean anything from setting up an artist’s studio to a dog grooming business or gardening service.

Maintain a Positive Attitude When in a New Position

Drug Rehab

Getting that new role after drug therapy is just the start of the hard work. A good resume and new approach may secure that job in another company, that volunteer position or a business loan. This is when the door finally opens for that second chance at productivity and prosperity post-addiction.

It still takes a lot of effort to walk through it embark on that journey. These workers now need to maintain that role in a strong, professional manner, while also working on their recovery and mental health. This means:

  1. working on a new daily routine and sticking to it
  2. working on the social side of employment
  3. maintaining physical health and appearance
  4. maintaining mental health through self-worth and counseling
  5. sticking with recovery programs

Those that commit to the role and stick to it can flourish in any new job.

New jobs are a scary, intimidating time. This is particularly true for those with drug abuse histories or that took a step down the ladder. Many settle into a routine nicely and enjoy the responsibilities. This can help to bring some certainty to each day.

Workers out of drug rehab need to put in a little more effort to make the role work once they have it. This means remaining professional in their actions and appearance. It also means taking the time to be social with co-workers.

At the same time, nobody should push too hard and risk their mental and physical well-being.

All new workers need to make sure that they don’t neglect their self-care in this important period. Work is a priority for a better life and prosperity. But, so are therapy and ongoing support for drug addiction. Workers can’t give up on counseling sessions and meetings because of their career. There has to be a strong balance. This is where it helps to call on support where possible.

Whatever the situation, former addicts should turn to support for a job outside of drug rehab.

Nobody should go through this process alone. Support and advice don’t end once people check out of a drug rehab facility. In addition to these resume writing services, there are other experts ready to share the load. There are lots of options available for guidance while former addicts balance their new job search and ongoing therapy. Some of these organizations include:

  • America in Recovery
  • National Hire Network
  • One-Stop Career Center
  • The Department of Labor
  • The National Skills Coalition
  • The Salvation Army

These skilled advisers can help with job searches, interview processes and other support along the journey. America in Recovery dedicates its work to those with substance abuse histories. The National Hire Network goes further for those that also have convictions because of past drug abuse.

Employment After Drug Rehab is Tough but Highly Rewarding

In many ways, the issues of employment after drug rehab are more the fault of employers than employees. Many people want to make that positive change and step into a new role, but find obstacles with position choices and stigma. It helps to take a step backward to propel forwards – like a catapult.

Those that go through rehab can’t pick up where they left off. Instead, they can take that step back to rethink their ideas and approaches. This could then propel them into a new job venture that is easier to handle, and eventually more rewarding.

It takes time and effort to break through. But, those that are strong enough to get through rehab and accept support can succeed.

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