So you messed up big time. You lost your job because of your addiction, and that doesn’t look good on your work record. Employers are going to be understandably nervous about you when they check out your history. But here’s the good news: your career has had a setback, but you can get it back on track again. You’re not going to get instant gratification, but it can be done. Be aware: you will need to prove that you’re responsible.

  1. Sort out your addiction

There are no two ways about this: you need to get help. And since your addiction has had such a profound influence on your life, you probably need inpatient treatment. Unless you lose the addiction, you aren’t going to regain a career, because whatever you are addicted to will stay in charge of your life.

You need to be able to show future employers that you took charge, that you did something decisive about your problem. You need to show that you’re no longer a slave to substances and your addiction. What could be more decisive than putting yourself into rehab? Do it!

  1. Get into some volunteer work

You can’t really expect to walk into a great job right away, but if you can back up your decisive action of going to rehab with proof that you’re a reliable worker, your chances are way better. Even a few months helping out at a community organisation can get you a good reference. Plus, it shows that you’re ready to be a giver and not just a taker.

  1. Get some new skills

Another way of showing that you’re done with being a loser and ready to be a go-getter is to upskill. Get into a training course that will improve your existing skills or try something altogether new that you always wanted to do. Give it your best shot. If you’re able to develop a good relationship with your trainers or tutors, you may be able to get a good character reference to match your great effort.

  1. Start your own business

One of my favourite recovery stories is about a British woman who exited her addiction with literally no resources. But she started looking for work as a cleaner, later began to co-ordinate a group of cleaners and now has a hugely successful business of her own. Could you do something like that?

Start small and work at creating a business that you can be proud of. Freelance online, take on odd jobs, look for growth opportunities. You could be amazed at where it can lead you!

  1. Start temping

Once again you’re using opportunities that will show future employers that you’re a serious and reliable employee – and temping is a foot in the door. You may even turn a temporary job into a permanent one. There are plenty of agencies that can help you to find temporary work. Join one.

  1. Try in-service training or an apprenticeship

You don’t earn much as an apprentice or trainee, but you get two golden opportunities: First, you can show that you’re to be trusted. Second, you can get a qualification that leads to better things. And as a bonus, there’s always a possibility of landing a permanent job with the same organization where you did your training. Pull out all the stops and go for it with all your might.

Organizations that can help

  1. The Department of Labor

The Department of Labor can advise you and put you in touch with places where you can explore opportunities. Visit a One Stop Career Center and see how they can help you to get your career back on track.

  1. America in Recovery

This non-profit for recovering addicts is straightforward in its strategy. If you’re ready to be thankful for a work opportunity, if you’re ready to work harder and accept lower pay, you fit their profile and they’ll help to find you a job. Remember, working for less needn’t be a permanent feature of your career, but you do need to prove that you’re worth employing now that you’re in recovery. Once you’ve done that, you can start looking for better-paying opportunities.

Never give up!

Keep your determination. Prove yourself. There are many people who have succeeded after addiction and you can be one of them. Show the world what you can do!