Addiction derails, delays, and destroys careers. Once sobriety begins we quickly seek to restore what was lost or fix what was damaged. This sets up a trap where we scramble to make up for the loss, or we get stuck with woulda, coulda, shoulda. The extent of damage to your career determines the path of your career recovery. Strong recovery must include career recovery.
What is a career?
A career is more than a job. A career is something you do that is an extension of your identity, something that gives you a sense of purpose, something that provides financial stability, and allows you to learn and grow. It is helpful to think about your career as a broad view of how you change the world. It could be a combination of paid work, volunteer service, projects, and hobbies.
Addiction has a way of derailing, delaying, and destroying career plans. Many people grieve the loss of a dream because of a criminal record or history with a certain drug. This is more about fears becoming a limiting belief than it is a reality. One of the dangers is that resentment can become self condemning, limiting, and paralyzing. “I can’t do this because of my past” or “now that I am an addict I can never be what I wanted” are examples of self condemning and limiting beliefs. Another danger is our tendency to remember falsely. Perhaps you remember having the best career ever, it was a dream come true but in reality you hated it, resented the drudgery, and who you were becoming in the process. Career recovery means constructing a life of purpose, financial stability, and personal growth you want to be a part of. Shaping career recovery will take intentionality, creativity, motivation, and persistence.
Nothing happens by ease, chance, or luck. The only time you coast is when you are going downhill. Left alone things will get worse. Career recovery begins with a time of deep thought and planning. Your career is an extension of you. Identify who you are and what you were created for. Take a few personality profile tests and understand your tendencies that are not likely to change. Read about careers that your type thrives in. And look at what frustrates your type. Think about the ways you like to work, how you gain a sense of purpose and productivity. If your past is clouding your judgment, hire a counselor to help you gain insights. Look at how the events in your life have shaped you for certain things. Then, start to sketch a vision of who you are and what you want to do.
Your mind is capable of creative problem solving. Let it work. Your mind will offer hundreds or even thousands of possibilities if you encourage it. Make a list of things you could do for purpose, financial stability, and personal growth. When your mind says that’s all I got, tell it to produce 3 more ideas and thank it for each one. If the idea is ridiculous, laugh about it and thank it anyway. When you think you are done, ask your mind to continue working on these questions in the background. As they come up in the course of your day simply make a note of them. In this way you are putting your creativity into your career recovery.
As you work through these ideas there will be some that rise to the top. Some will stir a passion and excitement in you. Make note of this. Motivation is rooted in our identity, purpose, hopes, and dreams. It is a powerful source of energy.
Motivation always runs out. Determination is a choice and it doesn’t quit when motivation is lacking. Career recovery requires persistence. Know that you are taking on life shaping activities. Dreams come true over time and after many private victories. You get what you focus on. Learn to harness your focus and maintain it no matter what your circumstances tell you.
Career recovery will change over time. As the seasons of your life change it will change. The principles of recovery will enhance your career and make a strong recovery possible. By doing the self exploration listed here, you will be better prepared to make quality choices about education, career changes, volunteer opportunities, projects, side hustles, and much more that enhance your career recovery.
If you would like personal coaching in this area please contact Todd Davis, PhD. at Leadershop Ministries.