One of the biggest worries that many individuals have after their drug treatment program is finding employment and moving forward with a normal life. After years of addiction and drug and alcohol abuse, you may be uncertain about securing stable employment, ensuring that potential employers don’t discriminate against you because of your past, finding the proper job training, and being able to succeed in interviews after being in your residential treatment program and speaking closely with those who understood and empathized with your addiction.
Recovering addicts have a variety of resources available to them to help with this transition and don’t need to feel anxiety about their next steps into the workplace.
Job Discrimination Against Recovering Addicts
Those who have once struggled through addiction now have many more protections under federal law than they did even a few years ago. For instance, multiple federal laws make it illegal for a potential employer to discriminate against you because of your past struggles with addiction and substance abuse. Having a history of substance abuse is considered to be a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and is thus protected against discrimination.
Under these rules, an employer is limited in what they can and can’t ask you about as well as what they can punish you for. If an employer discovers that you were part of a treatment program in the past, but you are not currently battling addiction while employed, they will not be permitted to punish you or fire you from your job based on this past addiction.
However, an employer will be able to deny you a job based on your addiction is if you are unable to complete job tasks because you are still an addict and are not working toward recovery.
While these rules protect your past from being used against you by an employer, they do not prohibit your employer from firing or punishing you for drug use while you are employed. Just as your path to drug rehabilitation required daily effort, so does sustaining employment. The success of your recovery ensures you can achieve career success.
Facing Your First Interview Following Treatment
If you are working to build a career, applying for jobs after finishing your detox and recovery program can be a nervous time. Initial interviews are some of the most stressful for any potential employee but can be especially nerve wracking for a recovering addict. Here are some tips that can be helpful for those who are facing their initial interview for a job:
Consistency: Your employer will likely look into background information about you before your interview. If you want to keep specific details private throughout the job interview, you also want to ensure that your social media life is private as well and that only the information you want is publicly available
Focus on Your Strengths: You have been through a harrowing ordeal if you’ve battled addiction and recovered. This battle provided you with many skills that can apply to your work. During the interview, you want to solely focus on your many strengths so that your future employer knows how dedicated and capable you are.
Prepare for and Battle Against Prejudice: For those who have never had close friends or family suffer through addiction, they might not understand what you have gone through. If it is discussed during an interview, you might feel vulnerable and at a loss for what to say. Address the addiction, but focus on the steps you took to heal and the ways you’ve grown stronger. You don’t need to apologize for your past as long as you’ve grown from it.
Be Honest: You can still be honest while withholding information that you are not required to disclose. If you choose not to speak about your recovery with your potential employer, you can instead state that gaps in your employment history were times you took off to focus on yourself and your wellbeing. Burnout can apply to addiction just as much as it can apply to a heavy workload.
Be Informed: You have many rights that are protected under federal laws and keep employers from discriminating against you for your addiction. If your future employer knows about your addiction, you want to ensure that you speak with them about the recovery you have received and how it will help you move forward. Understanding your rights can help you fight for your own interested during the transition from recovery to employment.
Addiction Treatment to Help You Return to Work
At Broadway Treatment Center, we offer a variety of unique services including life skills training to those suffering from addiction in Huntington Beach. These trainings will help you transition into a career even as you work toward recovery. They also provide the training you need to secure your dream job after leaving recovery. If you are interested in knowing more about your treatment options, contact us for more information today at (714) 443-8218.