For many addicts fresh out of rehab, one of the first major steps is finding a job.

They’ll likely need a new job, either because they didn’t have one before rehab due to their addiction or because they left a job to enter rehab and need to find new employment in recovery. But if job hunting is difficult for someone who’s never struggled with addiction, it can be far worse for a recovering addict, who is balancing their recovery with the normal struggles of employment. But starting a new chapter is possible with a few job search tips for individuals in recovery.

Finding a job is an important part of the recovery process. Employment not only provides financial security, but also a stability and routine that can be invaluable to someone building a new life after addiction. But a former addict’s very status as a former addict can present certain stumbling blocks to finding a new job. Resume gaps, criminal arrests and other issues can rear up during the job hunt to make it a more difficult task.

But it’s not an impossible task. Here are a few job search tips for individuals in recovery to help them find a new job and start a new chapter in life.

  1. Know your legal rights. Addiction is considered a disease by medical professionals and alcoholics and, with certain caveats, drug users are legally considered people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The ADA means employers cannot discriminate against you in the hiring process, nor fire you for a history of substance abuse. As long as you have sought treatment for your addiction, you are protected against a great many issues employers may raise about your past with drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, they are not allowed to ask if you are a former addict before hiring you, nor use such information to choose not to hire you.
  2. Put yourself first. It’s vital you remember your health comes before your job. Recovery is an intensive process that may require further treatment, support meetings or other time-consuming matters. You’ll need to find a job that will allow you the time to take care of such issues. A flexible schedule would be helpful. You may feel the need to start with a part-time job to ensure you have the ability to make it to appointments and meetings key to your continued sobriety.
  3. Reach out for help. If you have a good support network, let them help you with your job search. They can recommend you for jobs or point you in the right direction. Rehab programs, such as Good Landing Recovery, will often have advice on what jobs you may find in the early going of recovery, when you’re still getting your feet under you and are establishing yourself in the world of employment again. You can also look for help from support groups, online resources and more.

Finding a job is an important part of recovery for many people. At Good Landing Recovery, patients can get help clearing that hurdle, and many others, that may arise during the recovery process. See what they can do for you today.