Previous articles have covered the basics of gaining independence in recovery, but there is more than simply caring for yourself and paying off old debts as part of recovery. You need to find employment, create a support group, and learn to rely on yourself. This may seem overwhelming, but you have already taken the hardest step in not using. Read on to learn a little more about becoming independent.
Finding employment can be tough for a recovering addict. You may have a jail record or large gaps in your employment history, but this is far from insurmountable. So how do you go about finding employment? Try a few of these tips to get started.
Create a resume that reflects all of your skills. Include work history, but also anything that you are good at that would be a useful skill in the work place. Perhaps you are a strong communicator, so you have people skills. Maybe you know how to do basic construction tasks from numerous DIY projects, include this information. If your counseling center, a local organization, or rehab facility offers job training, then utilize this. They can help you create a resume and practice for interviews. Some facilities even offer to help set up interviews or offer job placement. At first you may want to look for jobs that are not that challenging so you can stay focused on recovery without much additional stress. This allows you to get your feet wet and ease into the workforce. This also allows you to make money while looking for another form of employment. Baby steps will still move you forward. Try not to get frustrated while looking for work, it can take time but you should keep trying.
You should also start building your support system. Being independent is much different from being isolated. Recovery is not about being alone or bored, but about finding supportive people and having fun in ways that do not involve drugs or alcohol. There will be days you just want to hang out with friends or need the supportive shoulder of someone you care about. Build this support system as a form of personal cheerleaders to help you along the way. These will be the people you turn to when times get tough or you are thinking about a relapse. This does not make you less independent, it makes you human. Friends and loved ones can give us a reason to keep going when we feel like giving up.
Finally, learn to rely on yourself. Many addicts have low self-esteem and do not trust their own judgement. This is understandable, but you will never learn to trust your judgement if you do not practice. In active addiction your judgment led you down the right path, but now you know what to do or not do to stay in recovery. Learn to love yourself again to become more independent. Give yourself a clean start by correcting what you can from your past and letting the rest go. You cannot change what you have done, but you can change what you are doing now.
Independence creates confidence and self-esteem over time. Once you learn to take care of yourself you will feel like you can take on the world. You will find yourself being happier and joyful with less stress as you take care of yourself mentally, physically, and financially. As you grow you can also begin helping others and find your purpose in life. There is nothing you cannot overcome if you are willing to try.
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