Addiction can demolish a person’s life brick by brick. Family, friends, kids, careers, and more can go by the wayside. But losing a job to addiction is an obvious sign that what may have been manageable for a while is now not. The sense of complete failure begins to set in. Your ability to support your family or yourself is now gone.
I lost my job to addiction. So, what do I do now? How can I fix this? All of these are questions someone suffering from a substance use disorder (SUD) starts asking as things continue to fall apart. This job represented the cover of “I am still okay. I am still functioning.” Now, denial is no longer an option.
Although getting past denial is necessary for healing to begin, coping so suddenly can feel like too much. It is going to be ok! There is help available, and there are ways to heal from your SUD. You can overcome addiction, and you will find another job and a better life. Give us a call at 706-480-8733 to find the resources you need to begin that life.
Drug Addiction: The Truth Be Told
Drug addiction is a chronic relapsing disease that requires treatment. It means more than just using a lot of drugs. Research shows overwhelming evidence that drugs interfere with normal brain function, creating powerful feelings of pleasure while also conditioning a person to seek these feelings through more drug use. Eventually, these changes become ingrained, and some will be permanent. At this point, the person can have a substance use disorder, or SUD, which creates compulsive drug cravings. However, the person suffering from this disorder no longer can quit alone.
SUDs and Treatment
Treatment possibilities for how to overcome addiction are many. Through treatment tailored to their personal needs, an individual will learn to control their SUD. Short-term programs may last less than six months and include medical intervention and inpatient and outpatient treatment. Long-term programs include plans with prescription maintenance therapy and residential therapeutic community treatment.
Ignore the stigmas and fight for your own life. You have a right to be healthy and happy. However, you are the one who must fight for it. Many others are willing to help, but you must acknowledge the problem and commit to making it better.
In addition, if you need help, our professionals can help you find it. We are ready to walk through this with you when you are ready. Contact our professionals today for more information.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA requires businesses to provide reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities, which may or may not apply to your situation. The Job Accommodation Network offers a good explanation. “The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities,” they write. “Instead, it has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or has an impairment.”
Furthermore, some drug addiction symptoms can meet these criteria, but it is unknown how this will affect you in your recovery. Our experts can provide more information on determining whether a person has a disability under the ADA.
Drug Use Ruined My Career
If you still have your job, now is the time to speak to your employer and seek treatment. This doesn’t mean you can‘t or won’t get let go. But losing a job to addiction may be the only way forward if the employer will not work with you. The situation is scary and might make you feel bad about yourself, but it is also an opportunity. It gives you a chance you need at recovery.
If your employer is willing to work with you, seeking help and getting clean is essential in keeping your job. A sympathetic employer will do their best to accommodate your needs. Some accommodations may include paid or unpaid leave for inpatient medical treatment, flexible scheduling for outpatient treatment, and scheduling allowances to attend support group meetings.
Moreover, if the employer has chosen not to work with you and lose a job to addiction, seeking help and getting clean is still the most important thing to do. Overcoming addiction can help you unlock your potential as a worker as well as taking back control of your life. Then, finding new employment, perhaps even a new career, can be rewarding and exciting. There are many jobs for people in recovery waiting for discovery.
Time to Get to Work
Employment after rehab shows progress and is a good sign of long-term success in sobriety. Jobs for recovering drug addicts are as many and various as the talents of the people in question. Returning to the workforce shows how far you have come, so be proud of yourself. Remember, you will need to find a job that works with your new, healthy lifestyle.
Instead of a position with long hours and strict regulations, consider remote work, flexible schedules, and even part-time. The balance between your employment and your new life is critical for your recovery. Currently, some companies are even working on creating recovery-friendly workplaces. If this is an option you find, jump on it! You deserve to have that stability.
Employers benefit from your recovery and the experience you’ve gained as a result of overcoming addiction. An important point of emphasis is in recovery is itself a positive job qualification for many prospective employers and in many employment fields. For example, some of these jobs include:
- Health and wellness trainers and coaches
- Yoga instructors
- Reiki practitioners
- Personal trainers
These are just some examples of the more flexible occupations that support recovery and are better informed by recovery.
However, these may not interest you. Fortunately for those in recovery, numerous other jobs allow for a flexible schedule and remote positions during SUD recovery, for instance:
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Social media and content management
- Fashion consulting and personal shopping
- Interior design
- Mortgage and real estate
- Self-employment in a skill or hobby you enjoy
- Copywriting and editing
In addition, consider your strengths and the type of work that you like. During the application and interview process, make sure you’re considering whether the company is the right fit for you, not just whether you can land the job. Remember, your work-life after rehab can and should be better and more rewarding than ever, thanks to your recovery. You deserve fulfillment and an excellent work-life balance.
Opioid Epidemic Impact on Workers and Employers
The United States struggles with an opioid epidemic with many faces, from teenagers on Cape Cod to middle-aged parents in West Virginia. A recent report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health shows us a newer impact of the epidemic: construction workers were almost 25 percent of overdose deaths recorded over five years. Farming, forestry, and hunting, along with fishing, are the next most dangerous industries. Women in the healthcare support and foodservice industries also have a high injury rate or death from overdose.
Also, this supports what addiction experts have observed in treating patients who work in manual labor jobs. On-the-job hazards and related injuries are common, and pain medications of all kinds tend to be readily available. Seventy percent of employers impact the prescription drug misuse, and fewer than 20 percent feel competent to handle it.
What can be done to help the labor force and employers? Recovery-friendly workplaces are needed desperately. In the state of Massachusetts alone, opioid addiction costs businesses over $2.5 billion every year. But options to turn this around for employers and employees are now available.
In addition, supported employment is all about helping people with significant disabilities entering the workforce. In past years, supported employment has been reserved for those unable to work because of the severity of their disabilities. They have the help of job coaches, coworkers, business supervisors, and mentors in learning to use around these disabilities and find their ways of being productive.
This approach has proved successful across the United States, and today, supported employment is a blessing to countries all around the world. How can this concept be adopted in the recovery world? Recovery-friendly workplaces will do the trick!
Employers in all industries should consider establishing recovery-friendly workplaces. These will help them reach an underutilized workforce, help people in recovery directly, and contribute to their communities’ overall health. With the right kind of partnerships between employers, employees, and recovery services, all three can make great strides.
Those recovering from SUDs claim their most significant needs are to keep busy, be financially self-sufficient, and regain the dignity of being a working member of society. Consider the high prevalence of SUDs in specific business sectors. Employers who will invest in supported employment with recovery services provide a service to those in recovery, which is beneficial to both sides. This can improve morale, reduce costs, and lower the financial strain of the opioid epidemic, all while improving our communities’ health and stability.
When building a recovery-friendly workplace, the most critical aspect is the support services an employer offers. There are many to choose from. However, the five most important are the following:
- Available counseling for scheduled and on-demand recovery support.
- Peer support groups are in their daily schedule.
- A supervisor who understands the challenges and needs of people in recovery.
- Support for medication-assisted treatment.
- Onsite drug testing (where appropriate) and telepsychiatry.
The combination of these five services will help mold a positive, healthy, stable work environment. The employer can take satisfaction in helping their community, and will probably end up reaping financial rewards as well. Imagine the productivity of a group who are grateful to be employed and happy in their work environment.
Let’s say that a local worker has just experienced losing a job to addiction. His drug use ruined his career, and from here, things continue to take a grim direction. His children go hungry, can’t pay rent, the pressure increases, abuse occurs — however, the children turn to drugs to cope with their trauma, and the cycle continues.
Moreover, suppose that when the worker says, “I lost my job to addiction,” a recovery-friendly employer is around to say, “I can help. I have jobs for recovering addicts.” Likewise, the worker can go through treatment, knowing that there is a clear path back to stability on the other side. Once clean, he can go right to work, have the support he needs, support the family, provide for the children, and stop the cycle of addiction.
Also, the employer has a grateful employee willing to work harder than anyone, productivity is up, morale is high, customers are satisfied, and business is booming. The benefits trickle down to the community and the kids whose lives could have quickly taken a darker course.
This is just a story, but the difference an understanding employer makes really can be that dramatic. With luck, you will find one of your own, but first, you will need to address your substance abuse issues. Our treatment professionals are waiting to answer all your questions and connect you with the resources you need to get healthy again. Give your career, your family, and yourself a chance. Call us today!
by Judith Raschka