Addiction to alcohol and other drugs knows no ethnic, religious or socio-economic boundaries, and individuals who have this chronic, yet manageable, disease come from all walks of life. As such, individuals with addiction should be treated the same as people with other life-threatening illnesses and disabilities.
Offered the opportunity, people in recovery from addiction can do meaningful work, contribute positively to their communities and become productive, tax-paying members of society. In fact, many people in recovery are outstanding employees precisely because they have faced obstacles and overcome enormous challenges. Through treatment and the recovery process, they have gained new life skills and achieved goals they may have never before dreamed possible. Many of these newly developed abilities benefit them—and their employers—in the workplace. People in recovery often:
- Recognize that they have a chronic and possibly recurring disability and are on alert for threats to their commitment to a life free of alcohol or other drugs.
- Have learned to recognize early warning signs and know how to employ effective coping skills to avert relapse.
- Are motivated to pursue and maintain meaningful work because of their treatment experience.
- Are motivated to learn new skills and apply themselves in new, productive ways.
- Are more educated and have better job and life skills as a result of their treatment experience.
- Have learned to cultivate and maintain extensive professional and peer support networks as part of their commitment to remain sober.
- Are self aware and committed to change for good, understanding that through recovery, they created their own second chance or "lease on life.”
- Are highly motivated to make up for past mistakes and lost time, a desire which translates into accomplishment in the workplace.
- Commit themselves to the job because it is the right thing to do and because work positively fills the void initially created by giving up alcohol and/or other drugs.
- Are team players who want to help others succeed.
- Have already overcome significant challenges in achieving recovery, an accomplishment that contributes to a determination to succeed in other areas of their lives, including employment.
For more information about addiction, treatment and recovery, see Substance Abuse Basics.
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