Jobs for Recovering Addicts: 8 Steps/Careers to Consider When You’re in Recovery

Estimated reading time: 5 mins

1 out of every 7 people in the United States will struggle with some kind of substance abuse in their lifetime. For those that are affected, one of the hardest decisions that they’ll make is to go into recovery.

After all, going into recovery often means needing to admit that you have a problem, taking a break from your family and leaving your job.

If work is a big concern of yours coming out of recovery, especially if the job that you left is no longer available to you, you may be wondering what career steps recovering addicts might take to work their way back towards a safe and sustainable profession.

Below, we step you through various jobs for recovering addicts that you can work your way through as you attempt to get back into a normal, sober routine.

  1. If You Need Money Now, Start With Dry Restaurant Work

Restaurant work can be a dicey proposition for people in recovery for the simple reason that restaurants tend to serve alcohol. If you can find a dry restaurant though, then work in this industry could be a great first step for you.

Restaurants tend to be extremely lenient when it comes to people’s pasts and they hit workers with grueling hours which can make it so you don’t have time to fall back into your old ways.

  1. When You’re Mentally Ready, Consider Construction

Working in construction is popular first or second step profession for those in recovery because the industry pays well and doesn’t inquire too much about your past.

More accidents are reported to OSHA via construction than via any other job and consequently, sobriety and attention to detail are important to both your safety and the safety of others in this line of work.

  1. Consider Transitioning Into Becoming an Addiction Counselor

Becoming an addiction counselor after working on your recovery for a while is a common jobs for recovering addicts step. One of the reasons why that is is because as a person that has had addiction troubles, you can identify with what those that are seeking help are going through.

Furthermore, being an addiction counselor makes you extra accountable for staying sober.

  1. Go Back to School and Counsel Others As a Licensed Therapist

If you’re ready to help people that are struggling on a deeper level, you can go back to school and become a therapist. As a therapist, not everyone you work with will be struggling with substance use, but many will be and some might exhibit signs of early dependency that you may be able to identify quickly.

Becoming a therapist will require at least a bachelor’s degree and as high as a doctorate’s.

For that reason, you’ll need to make sure that you’re mentally and emotionally far along enough in your recovery to cope with the stress that’ll come with achieving this career ambition.

  1. Heal Your Body and Other’s As a Nutritionist

Diet is an important part of healing one’s body after years of addiction. To make the process of adopting a healthy diet simpler for yourself, you could choose to take on a career as a dietitian or nutritionist rather than pursuing mentally oriented forms of counseling.

There are professional licenses that you can get in the field of nutrition that doesn’t require a collegiate education. If you’d like to work closely with primary care providers in the health field, however, you’re going to need a master’s degree and certification.

  1. Inspire Young People As Teacher

Learning about yourself in your recovery process often gives way to you wanting to teach others. For that reason, becoming a teacher makes a lot of sense for those in recovery as a later step when it comes to finding the right post-addiction career.

To become a general education teacher, you’ll just need a bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential. If you’d like to teach at the collegiate level, you’ll need a master’s degree or higher for public schools.

Some teaching positions will drug test you prior to offering employment. Learn more about hair follicle drug tests and other common substance exams so you know what to expect.

  1. Need Immediate Routine? Become a Receptionist

Many people in recovery find that the erratic nature of school that comes with pursuing some of the professions we’ve mentioned previously undermines their recovery. If you’re noticing that, we recommend taking a step back and prioritizing finding a profession that offers routine.

In our opinion, a receptionist is a great jobs for recovering addicts choice to that end.

As a receptionist, you’ll be responsible for keeping the office you’re at organized. You’ll also be in charge of doing your best to keep your environment happy and positive.

This might be a challenge if being cheery isn’t your go-to disposition. Some people though feel that them forcing themselves to exude positivity eventually leads to them becoming happier.

  1. If You’re Ready for Your Own Venture, Try Being an Electrician

Many people in recovery eventually get to a place where they want the professional autonomy that comes with being a business owner. For those that are ready to take that step, we think that learning the electrician trade is a great bet.

Electricians are in high demand given rapid urbanization rates and business owners in this sector get paid well.

To become a licensed professional in this industry, you’ll likely need to undergo some training at a trade school.

Wrapping Up Steps/Jobs for Recovering Addicts

Stepping through various careers when you’re in recovery can feel a lot like starting from square one. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though.

As a person that’s new to sobriety, a clean slate is often the best thing you can ask for.

Consider taking some of the steps/exploring the jobs for recovering addicts that we’ve mentioned in this article and we’re sure that you’ll eventually find work that completes you.

For additional work-related advice, check out more of the job content I post every week on!

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