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
Relapse is a more complicated and drawn out process than most people like to give it credit. No one accidently shoots heroin or binge drinks, it doesn’t ‘Just Happen’ like so many people like to describe it. Like they went to sleep one night with strong and resilient sobriety and woke up dead drunk with no clue how they got there. Relapse has many symptoms and related behaviors that show up far before the actual act of using or drinking again actually takes place.
Lying is a clear cut symptom of what some may call ‘relapse behavior’. As part of a new series of articles we will be taking a closer look at some specific behaviors that tend to be detrimental to spiritual fitness and the principles of recovery and that are typically signs that relapse is a more real possibility than we would like to give it credit. Not saying that it is a definite, but these actions are the kinds you want to watch out for, and lying is a serious indication that your slacking in some area on staying spiritually fit or sticking to your principles. Now do NOT let this article come across as self-righteous because I will gladly admit here that I lie. I’m an alcoholic and drug addict, of course I’m not perfect. But this is what I have noticed, and what has been frequently pointed out to me.
Why is Lying Dangerous
Lying is dangerous to those of us in recovery because it can lead us to things like:
- Reverts us back to other old behaviors
- Causes our support group not to trust us
- Causes us not to trust others
- Get us back in the habit of manipulation
- Goes against principles of humility
- Feeds into negative ego
- Creates more lies and conflicts
These are just a few examples of how lying to others, or even to ourselves, can endanger our sobriety. Each point is very important in the grand scheme of how we conduct ourselves in our relationships and in our recovery, and these kinds of problems can develop over time into the barriers between us and an effective program when something else comes us and we have the temptation to go back out. Lying is one behavior that lays the ground-work for all types of negative behaviors, and can set the stage for a relapse.
Lying to others
Lying to the people around us can create resentment, distrust and conflict because it cuts us off from being honest and open minded. Lying to our peers about even the smallest detail can compound into a larger form of deception if we allow it to evolve from there. Lying to a sponsor in recovery is detrimental because it maintains your reservations and undermines that relationship. It probably won’t harm them directly, but it poisons your personal recovery, same thing when lying to your family and friends for whatever reason.
In my personal experience, before my relapse I had noticed myself lying to people about small things. I lied to my family about where I lived, I lied to my girlfriend and my job, just little minute details that eventually toward my actually using and drinking again became more and more visual. I had prepared myself for my relapse by lying to people about where I would be and what I was doing the night I went to use, and I lied every chance I could once I used to keep using.
Lying to yourself
As reckless as lying to others is, lying to yourself can be equally as harmful to your continued sobriety. When you constantly find excuses or explanations for destructive or neglectful behavior you are co-signing the symptoms of a relapse. Remaining open-minded, honest and humble is a huge party of practicing the principles of recovery.
You can also lie to yourself and try to convince yourself you don’t need help, or you are no longer an addict or alcoholic. If you are like me, this is one of the worst lies you can tell yourself, because it will quickly evolve into a relapse if it goes unchecked.
Damages of Lying
takes a serious hit when you lie. Whether it is to others or yourself it is counter-productive to practicing humility, but lying to yourself to justify the other things you do or the way you act is one of the quickest ways to ‘shoot your humility in the foot’ as we used to say. Staying humble is about recognizing that we are not better or more deserving than others, and that remaining modest in regards to our own importance. So when we tell ourselves lies about why we can get away with THIS, or should not feel bad about THAT, or don’t need to take THOSE suggestions, that’s when we are feeding into our ego.
Lying to others and re-instating that idea in our minds that the truth is not as valuable when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient destroys our own trust. When we start basing our own actions and outlooks on the lies we tell, we start to perceive more of what we take in from others as lies. Being dishonest breeds distrust, and having faith in others and the program is essential to personal growth. I know because when I catch myself being dishonest, part of me immediately suspects others of being as shady as I am, or at least thinking up the lies I do, even when that is far from the truth.
When we lie we are abandoning key elements of our recovery. Honesty and being thorough and willing to work on the real problems is vital to recovery, especially when working with others. When you find yourself lying to yourself or others regularly, it is only a matter of time before you begin to act out in ways that are bad for you (if you haven’t already) because you now believe you can sweep it under the rug. Not just will you try to get away with more and keep poisoning yourself with more lies, but then things like guilt and shame and fear creep up on you. And fear in my own experience, whether it is recognized or not, is a big piece of a relapse. When we lie we are running, from ourselves, our peers, and the truth of our defects and our mistakes. As long as we can be open and honest in recovery, we need not run from life.
Lying to others and lying to yourself is one of the worse ways we sabotage our future and our relationships. Hiding the truth and making up excuses only prolongs our pain, and ultimately causes most damage than we expected. Sometimes we even become addicted to the lies we tell ourselves, but in recovery from drugs and alcohol the truth will always set you free. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Emotional sobriety is about finding and maintaining our emotional equilibrium, so it has everything to do with being able to self-regulate and find balance when we’re off-kilter. Emotional sobriety is especially important to those of us in recovery because, when our emotions are out of control, so is our thinking and that could spell trouble. Besides, when you read these 9 qualities of an emotionally sober person, why wouldn’t you want emotional sobriety? I mean, it sounds awesome.
#1: They’re happy, joyous, and free
I know, this is quite the cliché in the rooms but, being ‘happy, joyous, and free’ are certainly qualities of an emotionally sober person. This sort of way of being can be achieved if you’re willing to do the work…and then actually do it. Recovering is very different from abstaining. When you’re recovering from drug addiction, which means you are working on a solution – whatever that looks like for you – rather than simply are not using (abstaining).
#2: They have a positive outlook on life
Now, this isn’t to say that they never have their “bad days” but, an emotionally sober person differs from someone who is merely dry in that, their overall attitude is a positive one. You know what I mean. There are plenty of people out there who are generally negative and hyper-critical basically about everything. Then there are those people who seem to roll with the punches and, rather than dwell on their setbacks, move on rather quickly. Basically, they don’t let negative feelings ruin their day.
#3: They laugh a lot
Although closely tied to numbers 1 and 2, being able to laugh – and often – is yet another quality of someone with emotional sobriety. There’s definitely something behind the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine” and these people seem to have tapped into that.
#4: They know how to be serious at times and silly at other times
Being in recovery means taking your addiction seriously. However, I’m a firm believer in adding levity to serious and even somber situations. And by that, I mean having a good sense of humor and trying to maintain high spirits. The people I know whom I’d describe as having emotional sobriety don’t always take things (and especially themselves) so seriously.
#5: They have good things to say
Whether it’s their share in a meeting or advice they give you about an issue at work or in your relationship, an emotionally sober person tends to have a good head on their shoulders and a mature way of looking at things.
#6: They meditate and/or pray
In order to obtain and maintain emotional sobriety, people who strike me as emotionally balanced are in the habit of meditating as well as praying. These are great ways for building spirituality, inner peace and calm, and self-awareness, which are all important aspects and tools to a strong recovery as well as feeling balanced.
#7: They have good relationships with others
Emotionally sober people can also be spotted by the quality of their relationships with others. That’s to say, these folks are able to form deep and intimate connections with others while maintaining healthy boundaries.
#8: They live the principles
Those who work a 12 Step program are familiar with the concept of “living the spiritual principles.” Whether they work this type of recovery program or a different one, people with emotional sobriety live principled lives by incorporating qualities such as honesty, compassion, courage, integrity, and service to others.
#9: They keep their behavior in-check
Another quality of an emotionally sober person is that they very rarely react without first thinking things through. As human beings, we experience emotions and moods as a result; after all, we’re not robots. But those of us who are, let’s say not-so-well-adjusted are more likely to have a knee-jerk reaction that could lead to making a poor decision. Emotionally sober people are able to experience their emotions and then re-calibrate themselves so that they make the best decision in that moment.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.