How to build a successful career after drug rehabilitation

Building A Career After RehabLife After Rehab

A very common scenario in the field of drug rehabilitation is the person who’s just completed a rehab program and must now find a job or start a new career. After a person arrives back home and becomes reacquainted with his or her surroundings, they are often faced with the daunting task of finding decent work. Ideally, they are not facing this situation wholly and utterly alone. They should have the full support of a competent aftercare department.

In practice, aftercare starts before a person ever graduates and involves such elements as formulating an individualized relapse prevention strategy, trigger identification, establishing a support network, vocational assistance and placement, as well as other steps. Some people even move to a new neighborhood or city as part of their strategy. Locating satisfying and gainful employment plays no small role in the recovery process. Here is an outline for building a successful career post-rehab:

Work with Aftercare

Make a point to work with your aftercare advisor or counselor. If you get discouraged or depressed while job hunting, you should have people you can contact 24/7 for help and guidance. A skilled and enthusiastic support network is vital for any recovering addict or alcoholic.

Decide that Work is Important

Many people in society do not work because they simply do not want to. Unfortunately, certain aspects of government promote the mind-set that you don’t have to work. Obviously there are situations of disability and so forth, but if one is able, one should work. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop or playground or…” – there are different versions of this expression but the statement is apt. Someone with nothing to do, who isn’t producing anything worthwhile, who isn’t contributing to the family or society, is going to be a miserable person indeed. Work is vital not just to make money, but to be happy.

Career vs. Job

It is important to understand the differences between a career and a job.

A “career” is defined as an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.

A “job” is defined as a paid position of regular employment.

Another way to look at a career is as the pursuit of a lifelong ambition or the general course of progression towards lifelong goals. A job is often done to get a paycheck and pay the bills.

Ideally, your career and job are one and the same where you get paid for doing what you love. Very often, a career requires a runway: raising money; education; specialized training; working a lower position in order to rise in the ranks. Being an entrepreneur, for example, requires a certain brand of risk and daring. One should strive to do a good job no matter what one does. You can learn worthwhile lessons from any job, but it’s a very good idea to have a greater plan.

Set Your GoalsCareers

A fundamental step is to establish your long-term goals. What field would you like to work in? What would you like to do in the long term? Of course, having a goal is not enough. You must have a plan to get there. You can work out such a plan and then bounce it off other people for input: family, friends, counselor, pastor, etc.

But beware of those who tell you snidely “Don’t quit your day job.” This expression is another way of saying “Don’t reach too high. Limit yourself.” It’s an insidious thing to tell someone and doesn’t do them any good. The person telling you this – or something like it – often isn’t working on anything important. Factually, this individual wants you to feel less powerful and accomplish less than your true potential. Constructive criticism can be useful, but only when it seeks to raise someone up – not push them down. Don’t be afraid to set your sights high.

A Good Resume

If you are going to go job hunting, you’ll have to have a good resume. There is a certain skill or art in creating a resume, and they use a certain “language” that employers and HR (Human Resources) people are accustomed to. You can get assistance from others who are experienced in the job search – or better yet from those who look at resumes and can tell you which ones they pay attention to. A well-worded but brief resume is a vital component of a job search.

Tell the Truth

It is not necessary to mention your past addiction or rehab in your resume. However, many employers do background checks and call up your former employers. If you lie to them they’re going to find out. So be truthful. You may end up mentioning your previous drug or alcohol problem. You can put it in the context of your success in rehab and that you are willing to do drug tests. Plenty of people have drug and alcohol problems. An employer would much rather hear that you had a drug problem in the past than have one in the present.


Talk to friends and family, Get contacts from them of who they know. Show up at social functions, weddings, baby showers, barbecues, etc. Talk to people and find out what they do for a living. You can ask if they’re hiring but you can also see what fields they’re involved in and what interests you. Many jobs are landed just through a good contact and a good word put in by a friend.

You’ll also very likely go online in your job search. There are many sites to look for jobs and send applications and resumes. But keep in mind that you’ll have to “pound the pavement” in order to get interviews. You can go to businesses directly and ask for an application. Some will tell you to go online. Other will hand you a form. Personal contact is always positive. Show up clean and well-dressed.

Education & Vocational Training

You may decide to take up a trade or pursue further education in order to enter a new career. There are online schools, vocational schools, community colleges, internships, apprenticeships, and other avenues you can look into that do not cost tens of thousands of dollars. Examine what skills and experience you have and what you’d need to know and do in order to pursue a career of your own choosing.


In an ever-changing economy, one must be able to adapt. A carpenter who is laid off and can’t find work in his trade can either succumb and shrug his shoulders, or he can adjust to the new climate. He can implement ways to get more business or he can take up a new field. You must be able to adapt to changing conditions so you are not at the whim of others. It takes some clever thought, but mainly it takes the willingness to do so.

Start a Business

You can take up entrepreneurship. Starting a new endeavor is an adventurous undertaking. I highly recommend it. You should know that the subject is not typically taught in schools. Being a successful business owner requires a number of skills – many of which are learned along the way through “on the job” experience. The world needs new business owners. You can be one of them.

Sources of Income

A word of advice, in a volatile economy it is very smart to develop multiple sources of income (revenue). The number three seems to work – as in three sources of income. Ideally, you’d get these three sources going simultaneously and they’d help support each other. If one falters, the other two help pick it up while you repair the first. You may have to expand your awareness in order to envision such a plan. For example: You’ve got a day job at an office. On the weekends you spend a few hours selling balloons in the park. Plus you and your friend have an internet startup you’re working on. The combinations are endless.

Stay Positive

Coming out of rehab and having to face life sober can be nerve wracking and terrifying. But it can also be exhilarating and energizing as you face new challenges without the burden of drug addiction weighing you down. Stay positive. Surround yourself with positive people. Skip the negative people, places and things. Achieve success through hard work, honesty, integrity and ingenuity. Good luck!


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One thought on “How to build a successful career after drug rehabilitation

  1. It’s important to build good vibes after the negative ones of addiction. Having a positive career is a really god thing to get after addiction.

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