Recovery from addiction is a transformative but also very challenging process. One area that can be particularly difficult to navigate is embarking on a new career path and knowing how to get a job in addiction recovery.

While starting a new career can be exciting, it can also be confusing, scary and rippled with its own difficulties during your recovery period. However, there are many success stories of individuals in recovery who have gone on to find a new job and start a new career. What’s more, having a job during recovery isn’t just a great way to earn some money but it can also support you in your journey of sobriety too. Here, we provide actionable insights on how to get a job in addiction recovery.

Addiction and Recovery in the UK

Latest figures show that nearly 600,000 adults in England are dependent on alcohol but only 18% are receiving treatment for the condition. What’s more, every year, around 7,000 deaths occur specifically related to alcohol in the UK. There are around 130,000 adults in the country in contact with drug treatment services but still every year around 3,000 people lose their lives to drug poisoning in England and Wales.

It’s believed that over 100,000 people receive drug or alcohol addiction treatment every year in the UK. What’s more, there has been an increase in holistic recovery services which focus not just on substance use but also overall wellbeing, mental health and reintegration into society such as helping individuals to find a job. In addition to this, community-based recovery programmes and local support groups led by peers are also becoming more common and are said to be effective support of long-term recovery.

Why You Should Consider A Job During Recovery

Working while recovering from addiction can provide various benefits – both for the individual’s overall health and well-being and for supporting their sobriety. The main advantages of getting a job during recovery include:

  • Routine and structure
  • Economic independence
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Purpose and direction
  • Social support
  • Skill development
  • Distractions from cravings
  • Opportunity for growth
  • Employee health benefits
  • A new start

All of these benefits can play a huge role in ensuring someone in recovery stays on the right track while reducing the risk of relapse. However, it’s important to remember that working during recovery won’t be right for everyone and it will depend on the stage of recovery someone is at. What’s more, the type of job and work environment matters. For this reason, it’s important to find a role that aligns with your recovery goals and also one that doesn’t result in any triggers or unnecessary stress. Be mindful that everyone’s recovery journey is unique and the decision to start working during recovery should be based on their needs, situations, preferences and readiness.

How To Get A Job While In Addiction Recovery

If you are in recovery and believe you are ready to start looking for a job, or you want to support a loved one in finding the right job, the below steps can help you to find an opportunity that works:

  • Identify non-triggering jobs – Be aware of what you might find triggering and search for opportunities away from this. For example, if you’ve struggled with alcohol use, a role in a bar probably isn’t ideal.
  • Seek support – It’s really important that your employer is supportive and that you also work in an environment which is. While you might be nervous to discuss your past, it’s important that your employer is able to give you the guidance and support you need, which is why you need to be honest. Many even offer programmes to help.
  • Use existing skills – Consider your strengths and the skills you already have. Could you use these in a new job? This is an easy way to give yourself a competitive edge during your job hunt.
  • Be honest – You’re not obliged to tell your employer about your history but you might find it helps. This is because there might be days where you require more support and some employers may also appreciate honesty and view it as strength and determination.
  • Use support networks – There are lots of individuals in recovery who are either trying to find work or who are working. For this reason, you may find it useful to get support and guidance from local groups or even fellow peers. Counsellors and support group workers can even act as references.

Finding Job Opportunities While In Addiction Recovery

When it comes to finding a job in recovery, there are specialist job boards and websites specifically for employment during recovery. We offer resources and motivational interviewing which are tailored to individuals in recovery. Another way to find opportunities is to speak to people at your support groups as well as meet people in the field that you want to work in. What’s more, some rehab centres may also offer vocational training or work experience placements which can help you to get your foot in the door. You could also consider volunteering in order to build your experience.

It goes without saying that you’ll need a CV to highlight your skills and experience. But don’t worry if you haven’t got one or you don’t know what to include as addiction recovery professionals can help with this, and you may even find local workshops and initiatives to help with this. There may also be sessions on interview preparation which can help you to showcase your skills.

Starting Your Career While In Addiction Recovery

The truth is that working can be challenging for many people, especially those in recovery. For this reason, the following tips may help you through the journey:

  • Establish a routine – Plan your day, including breaks, meals and any support group meetings. This can help you to stay on track.
  • Remember self-care – Your well-being is essential so be sure to find time for activities that support your mental health.
  • Get support – Whether it’s a family member, your employer or even a support worker, find someone that you trust and that you can talk to as you navigate this new path.
  • Set boundaries – Work shouldn’t get in the way of your recovery so don’t be afraid to say no and only prioritise tasks that support and align your recovery goals.
  • Celebrate small wins – From completing the first week to having a successful job interview, however small it is, you’ve reached a milestone so well done!

Working during addiction recovery can be challenging. But with the right support, guidance and dedication, it is achievable. What’s more, it can also offer a number of benefits as long as physical and mental well-being is prioritised. If you have any questions about addiction recovery or want some support in finding a job, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team today.


  • [1] 600,000 adults in England are dependent on alcohol but only 18% are receiving treatment -
  • [2] 7,000 deaths occur specifically related to alcohol in the UK -
  • [3] over 100,000 people receive drug or alcohol addiction treatment every year in the UK -