Finding Purpose: The Value of Employment in Recovery

Finding Purpose: The Value of Employment in Recovery

Many traditional rehab programs focus on abstaining from misusing substances. Although abstinence is a vital part of maintaining recovery, true healing is a whole-person process. Through an attachment-based approach, you have learned how important rebuilding a connection with yourself and others is to healing. Thus, looking at the impact substance use has had on other parts of your life, like work, highlights the need to support well-being beyond abstinence. As a result, employment in recovery is a valuable tool for supporting sustained recovery by addressing your needs to lead a quality life.

At Driftwood Recovery, we know that without attachment, challenges with addiction, pain, and mental health disorders can impede your ability to take care of yourself. Through attachment, you have the tools to foster independence. Thus, living an independent life means supporting your needs in every area of life. The ability to live a purposeful and quality life after treatment starts with employment in recovery.

However, you may question how employment in recovery can help you sustain recovery. With more insight into adaptive skills, you can understand the value of employment in recovery. Therefore, first recognizing how substance misuse has impaired your self-image can highlight the connection between employment and well-being.

The Impact of Substance Use on Employment

According to Healthcare, substance use and employment have two causal directions. Unemployment can increase mental health disorders. At the same time, challenges with mental health disorders can also lead to unemployment. Losing your job and, therefore, your income causes psychosocial stress as your ability to meet your basic needs is impaired.

Some of the ways stress from unemployment can harm your psychological well-being include depression and anxiety. The overwhelming nature of depression, anxiety, and distress can lead to avoidance behaviors. Therefore, the distress of unemployment can then increase your risk of unhealthy coping strategies like substance use disorder (SUD). When you are overwhelmed by the stress and complications of economic hardship, you are more likely to engage in self-medicating.

On the other hand, unaddressed challenges with SUD and other mental health disorders can impede your ability to function in your life. For example, challenges with SUD can reduce your productivity and increase your absence from work. Thus, difficulties meeting work responsibilities and obligations increase challenges in achieving and or maintaining gainful employment. Furthermore, unaddressed SUD can also be a risk factor for relapse.

The stress that comes with not being able to provide for yourself and a lack of purpose can make relapse possible as life stressors stack and erode your resilience. Looking at the causal directions between SUD and unemployment highlights the importance of employment in recovery. Further, increasing your awareness of substance use's impact on functioning also showcases the importance of your mental and emotional well-being in employment.

Understanding Mental Health and Employment Challenges

Challenges with unaddressed mental health disorders can lead to impaired functioning. When your functioning is impaired, it becomes more difficult to manage or build skills that support your movement through everyday life. The symptoms of mental health disorders like depression and anxiety can impair many areas of function, like decision-making, concentration, and time management.

Moreover, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental health disorders often co-occur with physical health conditions. Thus, co-occurring conditions like chronic pain further impede functioning and employment in recovery. With more insight into the impact of SUD and mental health on employment, you can understand the value of employment in recovery for sustained healing.

The Benefits of Employment in Recovery

Employment in recovery is an important goal for independence and leading a purposeful life. Finding stable and meaningful employment in recovery is vital for well-being and relapse prevention. As noted in Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, employment in recovery is a critical health intervention and supports meaningful outcomes for a variety of challenges. Whether you have experienced difficulties with SUD or other mental health disorders, employment in recovery can give you tools for a healthier you. Listed below are some of the benefits of supported employment in recovery:

  • Increase self-esteem
  • Self-reliance
  • Increase self-confidence
  • Reduce symptoms
  • Decrease stigma
  • Foster interpersonal relationships
    • Increase your sense of belonging
  • Support independence
    • Personal income

As the CDC states, a recovery-supportive workplace can create a culture of support that encourages lasting recovery. Through a recovery-supportive workplace, barriers to care are lowered, stigma is reduced, and relapse can be prevented. Despite the long-term benefits of employment in recovery, there are still barriers that impede access to work after treatment.

Addressing Barriers to Employment in Recovery

As noted in “Identifying Barriers to Employment After Substance Use Disorder Treatment” from the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives (CAADPE), there is a unique set of needs and challenges in finding work for sustained recovery. Some of the barriers you may experience to seeking and sustaining employment in recovery include:

  • Lack of training
  • Low paying jobs
  • Lack of childcare
  • Unstable housing
  • Unreliable transportation
  • Lack of digital literacy
  • Poor access to support services

With more awareness of the barriers to employment in recovery, you can see the value of alumni as a resource for sustained recovery.

Alumni Connections: Supporting Employment in Recovery at Driftwood Recovery

Leading a purposeful life does not start with the end of your symptoms but rather with more tools to cope. Through an alumni program, you can find the guidance and support you need to navigate the stressors of job seeking. With an active alumni program, you have access to resources to build skills like resume writing.

Alumni give you access to a wider network of connections for references and referrals. At Driftwood Recovery, we are dedicated to giving you a safe space to heal in person and through our app so you can build a quality life in recovery no matter where you are on your journey. With safety, there is space for you to continue to foster connections and engage in courageous recovery in every part of your life.

Employment in recovery is vital to building a quality life. Through employment, you can improve your sense of self and adapt to the stressors of work and other parts of life to foster an independent life in recovery. Employment encourages interpersonal relationships that support your sense of belonging. However, barriers like lack of training and skills can impede access to quality employment. At Driftwood Recovery, we are committed to providing a safe and peer-driven alumni network where you have access to a wide variety of resources. Through our alumni program, you have guidance and support to lead a purposeful life in sustained recovery. Call us at (512) 759-8330 to learn more today.