7+ Tips on How to Find a Job After Rehab

27 December 2023
7 min read
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If you’re recovering from substance use disorder, chances are you want to create and get into a new routine as fast as possible. 

This includes regularly attending support programs, rebuilding your social life through healthy habits, and, most importantly, getting re-employed. 

Finding a job after rehab can help give you financial independence and a renewed sense of purpose. 

However, finding a job after rehab can also be challenging. 

For example, if you go back to your old job, something from your past might trigger you to relapse. At the same time, landing a new one might be tough, especially if you have a gap in your resume or skills deficits.  

But don’t lose hope - this doesn’t mean that finding a job after rehab is a lost cause. It just means that you have to search strategically! 

And this is exactly why we wrote this article. Read on for: 

  • 7+ Tips to Find a Job After Rehab
  • 7 Job-Search & Career Resources (to Help You Along the Way)
  • FAQs on Finding Employment After Rehab

So let’s dive in! 

7+ Tips to Find a Job After Rehab 

Research has consistently shown that finding a job after rehab helps people overcome substance abuse and stay sober, as it: 

  • Provides health benefits and income
  • Instills meaning and purpose in their lives

Despite this, 9,2% of recovering people with substance use disorder are involuntarily unemployed, according to a 2017 study by the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

This shows that the stigma against alcohol and drug abuse is still prevalent among employers. Nonetheless, it is essential not to give up efforts to find the right job for you after rehab. 

To do that, you can follow the tips below, starting with: 

#1. Take Advantage of Assistance Programs 

There are many state and local government assistance programs to help people in recovery find a job after rehab. 

The support these programs offer ranges from job-search assistance and placement to paying for the transportation to and from the employment interview. Alternatively, some run training and educational programs for recovering substance and alcohol abusers. 

Take, for example, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction - it offers a variety of programs and services, such as courses of employability and soft skills, or other recovery-related employment resources. 

Don’t hesitate to contact your state’s Department of Labor or local social services to see how they can be of help during your job search. 

#2. Use Your Personal Network and Support Group

Yes, you might have cut ties with all the people from your past, but you’ve also created a new network that consists of people who can help you and positively influence your future. 

For example, you can talk to counselors, therapists, doctors, sponsors, and even other members of your support group. Any of these people can help you look for or find a job, as well as provide a positive reference to a potential employer. 

#3. Utilize Online Resources

Online resources are another helpful way to find a job after rehab and, the good news is, there are plenty of them out there. 

America in Recovery, for example, is a website that runs various job sites for people with substance use disorder, ex-offenders, and older workers. To navigate the website and find employment opportunities, create an account and start browsing for jobs. 

The upside of using such online resources is that employers posting vacancies expect candidates with a past of abuse to apply, so you don’t have to worry about it hurting your chances to get hired. 

Here are some other online resources that can help you with your job search:

#4. Consider Flexible Jobs

A full-time job right after getting out of rehab is a big commitment that comes with responsibilities you might not be able to handle in early recovery. Although this is not a guarantee, it is possible for the work pressure to trigger you to go back to your old habits. 

Consider this when you’re looking for jobs. If you think that a full-time job would put you at risk of relapsing, then working part-time, or a remote job with flexible hours might be a better option for you. 

#5. Prioritize Your Well-Being

The recovery process is never really over - that’s why many ex-users call themselves “recovering addicts” as opposed to “person in recovery.” 

The activities that can help keep you sober vary from one person to another, but they often include attending therapy groups and counseling sessions or joining peer support organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. 

No matter what your activities are, make sure they come first in your schedule as you’re looking for jobs, or at least try to find a work schedule that will fit in with your recovery schedule. After all, the only way to be successful at your new job is to keep a steady recovery rhythm. 

#6. Know Your Rights

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), substance abuse is considered a disability. This means that, although employers may be hesitant to hire employees who have struggled with addiction, it is illegal for them to discriminate against anyone who has sought treatment for it. 

Similarly, employers cannot discriminate against any potential employee currently enrolled in a recovery program. 

Knowing these rights can help you look and apply for jobs more confidently. 

#7. Volunteer Frequently

If finding a job takes you longer than expected, consider volunteering for a cause that personally interests you. Not only will you have something to keep you busy while you’re searching, but you can also use the volunteer experience to stand out to potential employers.  

To really take advantage of volunteering, try to find a position that can teach you skills you can later list on your resume and even apply to the job you find. For example, if you volunteer for an organization that builds houses for the homeless, you can later use those acquired skills in the carpentry industry. 

Not to mention, volunteering comes with a score of health benefits (such as decreased levels of depression and stress and increased physical activity) that are guaranteed to help your recovery process. 

#8. Don’t Mention Your Past Addiction Unless You Have To 

So, you get called on a job interview and you’re wondering how much of your past the recruiter should know - and what he’s legally allowed to ask. 

Well, your privacy is protected by law even during the employment interviewing process. Specifically, interview questions are regulated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Under those guidelines, employers are not allowed to ask about the use of legal drugs, such as alcohol and prescription medication, or about anything that would reveal your substance use disorder (e.g. “How often did you use drugs?”). 

However, the EEOC doesn’t protect you against illegal drug use, which means employers are allowed to ask you if you’ve ever used illegal drugs, or whether you have any criminal convictions. 

#9. Don’t Get Demotivated By Setbacks

Finally, it’s vital to remain optimistic while you’re searching for a job after rehab. 

For example, you might feel as if you’re at a disadvantage compared to other applicants because of the time you spent on rehab and your employment gap. Or, you might need to re-build your skillset and re-educate yourself with work ethic. 

All of these above may result in you finding an entry-level or less-paid job than what you’d want. Instead of getting demotivated, you should accept this as a temporary setback and work your way towards firmly getting back on your feet. 

If you focus your energy and efforts on staying sober, you’ll soon see other important areas in your life improve as well. 

7 Job-Search & Career Resources (to Help You Along the Way)

In most cases, getting started is already half the work done. To give you a head start, we’ve compiled a list of job-search and career resources that can get you on the right track: 

FAQs on Finding Employment After Rehab

We hope that by now you feel more confident about job-search in this new and, at times, intimidating phase of your life. 

If you’re wondering what other people going through the same process are asking, here are the most frequently asked questions on finding a job after rehab: 

Q — 

#1. Can a Job Not Hire You Because of Rehab?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against recovering alcoholics and/or drug users who have already sought treatment for their addiction. 

This means that:

  • Employers cannot fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote anyone due to their history of substance abuse. 
  • Employers cannot fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote anyone just because they are enrolled in a drug or alcohol rehab program.
Q — 

#2. How Do I Get a Job in Recovery? 

There’s a number of things you can do to find a job after rehab. Some of them include taking advantage of assistance programs, reaching out to your personal network and support group, making use of online resources, and volunteering frequently. 

Q — 

#3. Will I Lose My Job If I Go to Therapy?

No, it is illegal for an employer to fire you simply for enrolling in a drug or alcohol rehab program. 

Q — 

#4. What Is a Good Job for a Person in Recovery? 

Usually, recovery-related positions are good fits for people in recovery. These can include jobs as addiction counselors, peer specialists, recovery coaches, and even social workers. 

However, keep in mind that your sobriety should always come first. So, if you feel like you’re not yet ready for hands-on work with people in treatment but still want to be involved in the process, you can alternatively consider finding a different kind of employment at a drug rehab. 

Additionally, you should consider part-time jobs and jobs with flexible hours that allow you to prioritize your recovery activities.

Key Takeaways 

Finding a job after completing rehab will help you stay sober and give you a renewed sense of purpose and opportunity. 

We hope this guide has provided you with all the resources to find the right job. 

In any case, let’s go over the main points we covered before you start your search: 

  • Some of the main steps to finding a job after rehab include volunteering frequently, knowing your rights, putting your sobriety first, and taking advantage of online resources.
  • When you’re applying for jobs, it’s important to have a well-crafted resume and cover letter ready, as well as to be prepared to answer interview questions about yourself without letting nerves get the best of you. 
  • Potential employers cannot discriminate against recovering alcoholics and/or drug abusers who have sought treatment (or are currently seeking) for their addiction.