How does work play an important part in building self-reliance during a successful addiction recovery?

To help those who are on the road to recovery, we asked addiction counselors and recovery specialists this question for their best insights. From establishing accountability to growing self-reliance, there are several ways that may help you understand how work helps build self-reliance and aid you in your addiction recovery. 

Here are seven of reasons why work is important to addiction recovery: 

  • Add Routine and Structure
  • Establish Accountability
  • Create Achievable Goals
  • Rebuild Through Work
  • Grow Self-Reliance
  • Gain Trust and Purpose
  • Take Responsibility

Add Routine and Structure

Having a regular work schedule builds a routine and structure into the day for those with a substance use disorder. Navigating recovery can be difficult. Working, along with other healthy habits such as exercise, eating healthy foods, and attending counseling, can go a long way in enhancing recovery and personal growth. Staying occupied with a new routine of healthy habits also lessens the possibility of putting yourself in a high-risk situation and increases your quality of life.

-Dan Reck, MATClinics

Establish Accountability

It’s a critical key for addiction recovery to have for folks who have been enabled for a long time and had certain life skills and development compromised by the addiction. Not only is work encouraging them to become self-supporting on their own contributions, but it’s also building up their self-esteem. They are building their own personal empire, no matter what that looks like for the person. It could be having an apartment or car in their name, items that they may have stolen or borrowed without permission in the past. It’s a big accomplishment for those who have the ability to apply themselves. It’s about being accountable for your own life and lifestyle. If you choose to pursue a certain path, show up consistently and work towards that goal– short term and long term. I believe with a solid recovery foundation, the sky’s the limit if you are willing to work towards it.

-Roy Duprez, Back2Basics Outdoor Adventure Recovery

Create Achievable Goals

Having small goals in recovery gives people a purpose again. Even if they are small, they are big achievements. Within work, there are always goals to achieve within projects, timelines, clients, etc. Work automatically brings goals to the table, giving people in recovery a purpose.

-Kiran Gollakota, Waltham Clinic

Rebuild Through Work

Work often plays a very positive and underappreciated part in helping a patient fully recover from an addiction. For starters, it is a grounding and stabilizing factor which forces a person to create a schedule around it. This, in turn, can make you more organized and put together as you’re pushed to be more picky and selective with your free time. Secondly, work will keep you busy, which is very good news. Why? Because you have something to focus on and thus by extension you have less time to get sucked into the vortex of personal demons and temptations you’re trying to fully transcend. Work can be a very useful tool for helping recovering patients rebuild their self-esteem, strong mindset and self-reliance.

-Anna Berkolec, ResumeLab

Grow Self-Reliance

Work is an important part of becoming self-reliant and can be immensely helpful in the recovery process. Depending on the type of addiction, it can be difficult for people to gain and maintain employment which can quickly spiral into negative outcomes. Finding meaningful work can help pave the way for recovery.

-Greg Hannely, Soba Recovery

Gain Trust and Purpose

Working is amazing for recovery. Recovering addicts can find it very difficult to not only trust others but trust themselves. When they are able to focus their efforts on work, it helps build trust within themselves and shows them that there is more out there than addiction. It shows them that people can rely on them, and they can rely on themselves. Working shows someone in recovery that they can do better and they can change their life if they set their mind to it. I have found, being in recovery myself, that working with others is an inspiration to be better and do better for yourself and everyone around you. Work is an extremely important role in building self-reliance because work gives someone purpose.

Ryan Zofay, Entrepreneur and Motivational Speaker

Take Responsibility

Recovering from addiction is a hard journey, one that never ends. Working and holding a job is a huge step in recovery. It proves to yourself that you are able to be a responsible human who can change their path. Work provides motivation, stability, responsibility, and the most important respect. When you are responsible, you earn respect. That is why work is so important while building self-reliance, you see yourself turn into a responsible person who later on earns that respect.

-Guy Bar, Hyfit

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