(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Think about this for a minute… according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse:
- Over 23 million American adults have reported using illicit drugs within the past year
- More than 2/3 of individuals who report using or abusing drugs and alcohol are without work
When we talk about overcoming the drug problem in America, it means more than just reducing the amount of overdose and drug-related deaths. National recovery from the issue of widespread addiction is about more than getting drugs off the streets or cutting back on the financial strain on communities. Recovery is about rebuilding and reinventing; not only for the individual but for all those around them. Part of truly turning things around isn’t just getting addicts into recovery; it’s about getting recovering addicts back to work and back to helping build up their communities. So why is having jobs for recovering addicts good for the economy?
Recovery is Better for Business
For many, the idea of hiring someone who has admittedly struggled with drugs or alcohol is counterintuitive. Many employers still see substance use through the lenses of stigma, and so they fear the worst. Some employers may still think being addict makes someone a thief, or simply untrustworthy. Others may be worried the addict will bring unprofessional or even dangerous behavior with them to work. There are so many stereotypes attached to addiction, it is understandable why many are still hesitant. Some may even have had a bad experience themselves.
At the same time, professionals actually suffer more commonly from substance use disorder than most might expect.
Either way, many business owners will tell you that someone recovering from drug or alcohol abuse also has incredible potential to become one of the most valued members of your workforce. Many professionals believe that employing people in recovery has benefits that greatly outweigh the risks.
Some find when providing jobs for recovering addicts, these employees turn out to be some of the most grateful and hardworking. Because it is so hard to find work for some they are just happy to have an opportunity to restart their lives. Some business owners find that because many recovering addicts follow abstinence-based programs, they don’t have to worry about them going out partying all night and not showing up for work, or coming in late and hung over. The attitude of gratitude does an especially great job of boosting work-force morale, and others say that providing jobs for recovering addicts has given them some of the most loyal and committed members of their workforce.
Addiction Impacting the Economy
It is crucial for all of us to be aware of the economic impact of substance use disorder. Now, in the midst of an opioid crisis and overdose epidemic, it isn’t too hard to notice.
The abuse of alcohol and drugs in the workplace and the effects of chemical addiction on the workplace have emerged as the major health concern, eclipsing AIDS as the primary workplace concern of the decade.
According to information provided by the University of Pennsylvania Health System:
- It is estimated that drug and alcohol abuse, including smoking, costs the nation $562 billion per year or almost 10% of the gross domestic product.
- 3/4 of lost costs in industry are due to lost employment and reduced productivity
- 25% is due to medical costs and the cost of treatment for addiction
Experts believe that between 10% and 23% of all workers use drugs on the job. Data collected through a survey on the cocaine hotline reported that 75% of the callers to the hotline had used drugs on the job.
That’s not even getting into the tens of billions of dollars a pop spent on things connected to substance abuse such as:
Turning it Around
When we play with the numbers, we can also see how once recovering addicts get back to work, not only to they contribute to the workforce, but they put more money back into the economy.
For example- in 2006 estimates show Americans spent:
With just these four drugs alone, the billions of dollars being put back into the economy would transform the financial landscape of the nation. So if even half of these people were given effective treatment to get off drugs, and then received jobs for recovering addicts, the amount of money and productivity flowing back into the economy would make an enormous footprint, not to mention the billions saved on those same services like criminal justice.
Ways to Find Jobs for Recovering Addicts
While many find that early on there are jobs for recovering addicts that may be less stressful and more flexible, like working in coffee shops or at restaurants, there are also some great career opportunities out there. Some companies even have programs specifically to offer jobs for recovering addicts.
If you’re having difficulty finding work as a recovering addict, there are many programs out there to help you. No matter where you live, it is likely there are organizations that can help transition back into the workforce.
America in Recovery
Patent engineer, founder, and CEO Larry Keast started Venturetech Drilling Technologies in his garage in 1980 to design and manufacture new drilling technologies for the oil business. The Houston-based company is now a well-respected international business.
A former Venturetech general manager who was in recovery from addiction first gave Larry Keast the idea to specifically recruit recovering addicts. According to Keast, it has paid off.
Keast was so inspired by his experience working with recovering addicts that he founded the nonprofit America in Recovery. This venture has also been good for business since people want to support the company’s mission. Keast says,
“We have a number of customers and vendors that donate to our non-profit and wholeheartedly agree with our hiring policies,”
America in Recovery runs several job sites for recovering addicts, ex-offenders, and older workers. Employers post vacancies on the site expecting applications from people with past drug and alcohol problems, so hopefully, it can eliminate the anxiety recovering addicts may feel about being denied for work.
Some states provide recovery support services that offer careers advice to former addicts. The support available from these programs can range from job search assistance and placements to help with paying for transportation to interviews. Some even run training and education programs for recovering substance abusers.
Just recently the Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine introduced “Recovery Ohio” plan. In his outline, he includes an initiative to provide incentives and reduced risks to business owners willing to offer a job for recovering addicts.
Different states all over the country have unique programs designed to promote the re-entry of former drug users into the workplace. You can look online to find resources in your area.
Why it Matters
It is understandable why many people are still going to be hesitant about hiring former drug users. It doesn’t always work out when hiring people who have struggled with substances, especially when they relapse. However, if any business owner is honest with themselves, even the non-recovering addicts don’t always work out. It is realistic enough to come across an underperforming employee without worrying about issues concerning addiction.
So why does it matter?
Well, because we are fighting such a serious drug problem in America. At the moment, we are struggling to curb the rising rates of overdose and death across the country. If we want to be able to win this fight, we have to be willing to train and work hard for it. Also, we have to have compassion for those who just want another chance. This is partially why so many recovering addicts end up getting jobs in the treatment industry; it provides a compassionate and enthusiastic atmosphere for those in recovery to give back while learning skills that will help them create career goals and build strong work ethics.
But besides compassion and commitment, we have to understand that for those recovering from addiction, recovery means more than just quitting the alcohol or the drugs. Recovery means creating a life worth having. Quality of life and adding hope through the opportunity to grow and contribute to the world gives someone a reason to work harder in recovery.
With that commitment, compassion, hope and hard work, the nation could see a moment uplifting not just for the economy, but for the society as a whole.
Before getting a job, building a future in recovery begins with doing the work to better yourself. Someone recovering from drug or alcohol use deserves the opportunity to build a foundation that can transform their life and help them succeed. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
If you ever had dreams to work for the secret service, now might be the time to apply.
The Secret Service is on the hunt to hire more than 3,000 new agents over the next three years. To secure more employees, the U.S. Secret Service is relaxing its drug policies when it comes to marijuana use. They will no longer disqualify applicants who have used the drug more than a certain number of times.
The policy will focus more on allowing the agency to take a “whole person” view of each applicant and reflects a growing acceptance of marijuana use in the country, according to a CNN Report. The Secret Service’s official drug policy statement says a certain amount of time must pass since an applicant has used drugs like cannabis, cocaine, and MDMA.
Applicants ages 24 years and younger should have at least a year since they last used marijuana, while those 28 and old should have at least 5 years. The same age-based time requirements are used for applicants who have misused prescription drugs like oxycodone and Ritalin in the past.
Still, regardless of what their past drug history entails, applicants must be honest. So don’t lie to get the job.
According to the statement:
“If deliberate misrepresentation is found, the applicant will be ineligible for employment,” it reads.
The policy change went into effect last month under the oversight of new Secret Service director Randolph Alles, who says the Secret Service is in need of more qualified applicants. The agency says the drug policy mimics those of other federal agencies.
The Secret Service is responsible for protecting the president, first family, and the president’s properties. President Trump’s large properties in New York City, Mar-a-Lago, and his ocean front property in Florida resulted in an increased demand for secret service members.
“I think between that and the fact that he has a larger family, that’s just more stress on the organization. We recognize that” Alles said.
Furthermore, modern security challenges in a post 9/11 world, along with threats like ISIS, have added to the burden of the agency.
“The mission has changed,” Alles said. “It’s more dynamic and way more dangerous than it has been in years past.”
A major factor influencing the change is the increasing approval of marijuana use over the last decade or so. The majority of Americans now have access to medical or recreational marijuana. However, the long-held federal ban on marijuana has complicated the hiring process for many federal agencies.
Reports in 2014 suggested the FBI was considering making the marijuana policy more lenient to applicants who have used marijuana in the past. The policy states applicants must be drug-free for three years before applying.
“While the FBI does not condone any prior unlawful drug use by applicants, the FBI realizes some otherwise qualified applicants may have used illegal drugs at some point in their past,” the agency says in its drug policy statement.
Thinking About Joining?
Now, that you are drug-free, are you considering joining? For fun, let’s go over some of the other requirements to be a secret service agent:
Secret Service Requirements:
- Be a U.S citizen
- At least 21 years or older at time of application
- Must be under 37 at time of conditional offer of employment
- Applicants with veteran’s preference must be 21 years of age and younger than 40 at the time of conditional offer of employment.
- Must possess a valid driver’s license
- Qualify for the GL-07 level or the GL-09 level
- Have uncorrected vision no worse than 20/60 binocular; correctable to 20/20 in each eye. (if eyes are corrected using eye surgeries, applicant must abide by waiting periods before submitting application)
- Be in excellent health and physical condition and pass physical examination
- Pass a written exam
- No visible tattoos or permanent markings
- Qualify for a Top Secret clearance and undergo a complete background investigation (clean records a must!)
Those are the basics! What do you think about the secret service having more lenient drug policies? The marijuana industry is looked at in an entirely different way than it was prior. It makes sense that these new guidelines reflect these changes.
Still, regardless of the legalities of marijuana use, remember addiction is possible. Whether your drug of choice is legal or not, if you feel out of control, please reach out for help. Do not wait. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
One of the most incredible experiences I have been blessed to have in recovery is to work in the treatment industry. Working in the field of addiction treatment offers so many different variations of opportunity for all types of talents, from work with admission of new clients, to behavioral health professionals, and even the most effective therapists are often in recovery. Even a humble journalist who writes amazing and inspirational blogs while helping to spread the word of recovery and treatment can be someone who maintains sobriety. So many people want to know, how can I get a job in the treatment industry?
Identify the Position
One thing that is important to get started is to figure out which type of work you would like to do in the field of drug and alcohol treatment. Some people are more suited and more interested in positions that don’t deal too intimately with clients, and are more focused on the development of treatment and the technical side of helping develop and refine treatment strategies or administrative methods.
Other people want to work a little more hands on with individuals. I know initially I wanted to work directly with clients as a behavioral health technician in order to make more frequent personal communication with clients and try and be of service to people who have not yet been given a chance to see what recovery is like, because people did it for me and it inspired me to stay sober.
Whatever it is you want to do, make sure to identify your goal in a position and make sure that it is what you want before pursuing it.
Cultivate Your Contribution
In recovery we are taught that our new purpose is to be of maximum use to others. So to better be of service someone looking for a job in addiction treatment should be sure to cultivate their contribution by learning as much as possible about what they can bring to the table for the position they are looking for.
Speaking with professionals and trying to learn more about the position and the training is a great way to get ahead of the game. Once you are aware of the type of contribution you’re expected to make in the job you are looking for, be sure to do your homework. If it is a position that requires schooling, see if there are entry level positions available while you take the necessary classes.
Staying clean and sober is a requirement for people in recovery to get work in the field, because you have to have some time to develop your own program before you can have any productive input on someone else’s who has just arrived to recovery.
Accountability is so important in recovery, and you absolutely have to be an accountable individual in order to work in the drug and alcohol addiction treatment industry, because continued sobriety must be nurtured and promoted, because the best way to work with other addicts or alcoholics is to lead by example and empower them with successes and being dependable.
Also showing your ability to stay active and in touch with the right group of sober and positive people will help you out a lot when looking for work in treatment. When you are active in the recovery community and stay in contact with therapists or administrators you can consistently show you are reliable and ambitious about becoming part of the recovery work-force.
Also being active and accountable in whatever positions you hold while working towards this goal is very important. Any respectable job will want to see that you are able to stay on task, put forth a solid effort and be passionate about what you do. Also, seeking a position at the treatment center you attended may put you at an advantage depending on the company because you are familiar with the philosophy of that entity enough to understand and uphold their system.
Practice Your Principles
Make sure to keep growing and striving for the goal, and to practice your principles of sobriety openly and honestly. If you want to get work in the treatment industry and you’re in recovery it is vital that you stay on top of your own recovery, and again lead by example.
When practicing your principles whether you are training, interviewing or applying for work in treatment is important in order to communicate and express your talents and abilities in the position you’re seeking out. In recovery it is important not to set expectations, but be prepared to set the bar for yourself high so that you can provide a quality version of yourself to apply toward whatever you would do for a treatment facility.
While staying in contact and staying accountable to those who work at the treatment facility, let them see how you carry yourself as a sober individual, and emphasize your passion for these principles that have given you this new life of sobriety. One way or the other your actions will always speak volumes, so do not hesitate to volunteer your time to the treatment program, and apply yourself to every opportunity to show you have and learn and will teach from a personal experience.
Working in drug and alcohol addiction treatment is an amazing experience, and I was blessed enough to get a job doing what I love at a treatment center that had a huge part of saving my life. None of that would have been possible without other people in recovery who were working at Palm Partners when I was a client, and what they did to change my recovery is something I could only hope to contribute to someone else, because the disease of addiction is powerful and fatal, but thankfully we are all in this together. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Sometimes our past isn’t easy to get away from when we are trying to change our future, and plenty of people in recovery have an arrest record to prove it. When looking for work our old behaviors and consequences get dragged out in the open, and not all employers understand depending on the charges. Some recovering addicts and alcoholics have a tough time finding work because of their record once they have made the decision to change, and after getting started whether through treatment or other methods they struggle to find financial stability.
A lot of people in recovery come across a pretty common question, how can I get a job with a record? Depending on your area, and what kind of industry dominates, you may have an easier time than you think. Here are a few common suggestions to get you started, including specific job options or just strategies on approaching the situation.
- Driving Jobs
Depending on the nature of your record, some opportunities still exist with jobs driving. If you still have a decently clean driving record you may still be able to get work in a number of different transportation businesses. Offences like DUI’s, reckless endangerment, or even excessive tickets may hinder these positions from being available. But if your driving record is in good shape look into work such as:
- Car wash operator
- Customer Courier
- Delivery Driver
- Truck Driver
A lot of construction and landscaping companies have private contractors or owners that will work with people. Positions in manual labor such as these often employ a fair amount of individuals with some type of arrest record or even pending court issues.
- Temp Agencies/Other Programs
Temporary Work Agencies are a pretty huge help for people with some kind of record, and there are even specific programs set up in some areas geared specially to assist with rehabilitation of ex-cons and people who have difficulty finding work due to criminal history. Temp Agencies will often assess your criminal background and optimize their list of affiliate companies in order to find you work where businesses won’t deny you based on your record.
Some companies like UPS have policies where they hire felons and other people who would have a harder time finding work based on a record as part of an effort to help reform ex-cons. Do a little research and see what kind of programs or agencies may be in your area to assist you.
- Mom and Pop Shop’s
Sometimes an easy route is to look for smaller family owned businesses where there is not so much corporate regulation on their hiring requirements. Working at a small privately owned business to get a decent amount of experience especially in a more specific skill set like auto-repair or installations may help you build up a resume strong enough that you can later work for larger companies with extensive enough experience in a trade.
Many times companies have a tougher time finding employees who will work the grave-yard hours. It could range from stocking grocery store shelves to kitchen jobs in restaurants, depending on the nature of your record and the time frame. Especially if the business is closed to customers and it is primarily manual labor or cleaning after hours then you may have a better shot.
- Being Honest
Honesty goes a long way with a lot of employers. If you can get to an interview and take the time to speak openly with the owner or upper-management, be sure to explain the situation as well as you can, and emphasize the fact that you are actively changing your life. Explain the nature of the offense if they have not yet conducted a background check so that there are no surprises when they do, and let them know that you are willing to work to prove yourself. Some employers will be sympathetic in your situation, and you can sometimes be surprised how far it takes you.
- Ask for Help
In this respect, a recommendation is a huge help as well. If you keep your friends informed of the situation and ask that they help you in regards to getting an interview it can also give you an edge on getting past the initial snag on an application. Again, honesty here really comes in handy. If someone makes an effort to vouch for you, make sure you show up early, dressed to impress and ready to lay the facts out for the interview. Again any experience you can build up now, even if the job is not what you want, can help you later on down the line.
- Do NOT Give Up
So many people give up far too early and revert back to old habits. These are just a few options listed that are available to you, and you may give a few a shot once or twice and they may work out, they may not. The point is that you stay consistent in your efforts. If you have tried some of these and you’re still having trouble that is not a dead end, you just have not found the right route. NO ONE is completely and totally unemployable.
I personally know plenty of people with felony records, ex-cons and reckless drivers with disaster records who have put in the footwork to find a way to make a living. Sometimes it is surprising the kind of awesome job opportunity you can find when you just don’t give up. What is it we hear all the time in the rooms of recovery? Don’t quit before the miracle happens.
So many people in recovery face the same problems and must hurdle the same obstacles in order for real progression. Sometimes circumstances seem more limiting than they really are, and sometimes those who suffer confine themselves too closely to the excuses and stories they tell themselves not to get clean and stay sober. There is always a way to get the job done, if you’re willing to put the work in and change for life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
First of all, I just want to say that getting clean and sober – although tough at times – is a really exciting time for us recovering addicts. The reason I say that is because it’s a time of new beginnings, self-discovery, and possibility.
When we recover from substance abuse and addiction, it’s like a chance to reinvent ourselves and, for many, it’s a chance to pick up where they left off, before the drugs and alcohol took hold. That said, many people in recovery, both young and old, see it as the perfect chance to start a new career, which often means getting some kind of certificate or degree. So, here are some resources for recovering addicts who want to go back to school.
#1. Get your GED
If you haven’t already graduated high school and don’t have a diploma, then you will need to get take the GED, General Education Test, which, once passed, provides you with something that is equivalent to a high school diploma. You will then be able to go on to attend college. There are several resources online that you can sign up for in order to get the resources, study guides, etc. for preparing for the GED, as well as finding out how to go about taking the exam.
#2. Get your transcripts
If you have graduated high school and even attended some college, you will need to get your old transcripts. In order to do that, you will need to look up the school or schools you attended and contacted each to make a request for your transcripts. Keep in mind that often times, there is a fee for getting your transcripts. You might be able to get that waived either by simply requesting it – so what if they say ‘no’ – it’s worth a shot – or else there might be assistance available specifically for recovering addicts who want to go back to school. My advice is to research that online (see #s 5 and 6).
#3. Research schools in your state or that offer programs for the major you wish to pursue
In-state colleges and universities offer reduced tuition for residents so you might want to start there when researching possible schools to attend. If you have an idea of what field of study interests you, I suggest focusing on schools that specifically offer degrees in that area, however, this isn’t always necessary. You also have the option of attending a community college and then transferring to a more desirable school. This is especially an option to consider if a.) You need to bring up your grades in order to attend the school you prefer and/or b.) You want to reduce costs at first as community colleges are more affordable than state schools and private colleges.
#4. Contact an advisor at the college/university that interests you
Reach out to the school and ask for guidance on how to go about applying to their institution as well as what coursework you will need to take. If you are not sure what you want to pursue as a possible future career, I suggest attending a liberal arts college. These institutions specialize in offering a wide range of studies so that you can sample many different things before you commit to just one (or two, as I did).
#5. Apply for scholarships and financial aid
Talking to the school’s advisor might give you some pointers as to scholarships they offer. Also, checking online to see what scholarships are offered by your state or by particular groups, such as Kiwanis Club, Elks Club, Rotary Club, etc. is a good idea. Lastly, there is Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) that you can apply for. Check online to see if you qualify and for how much.
#6. Research other sources of aid
There are several programs out there that specifically offer assistance to recovering addicts who are seeking higher education. Researching online for resources for recovering addicts who want to go back to school should point you in the right direction.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction and you don’t know what to do, take comfort in knowing that help is available and that there is life after addiction. Call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 and speak directly with an Addiction Specialist any time of the day or night with questions and requests for resources. We’re here to help and you are not alone.