Getting a Job in Sobriety and the Hurdles You Might Face

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people waiting for a job interview

Getting a job in sobriety can sometimes be difficult. Knowing which jobs should be avoided may make you feel like your options are limited. Unfortunately, some jobs have been known to discriminate against people in recovery, especially in areas where recovery is extremely common. These should never be reasons to give up though, and there are certainly great jobs out there and people who would be happy to hire people in recovery. Often times you won’t even need to tell your employer you are in recovery. Here are some common hurdles you may face:


When getting a job in sobriety, bars and restaurants are common ideas. Sometimes people in recovery only have experience in this field, or lack experience or education for other types of jobs. This makes serving or bartending tempting. These jobs should be considered carefully though, and possibly used as a last resort. The restaurant industry is known for its nightlife scene and even drug use. It may cause you cravings to constantly be surrounded by alcohol, people drinking, and even co-workers using drugs. It might be best to look for other jobs if at all possible. Recovery should come first, so if you think being surrounded by alcohol could be tempting, then don’t do it.

Some bars and restaurants require employees to taste wines and other alcoholic beverages so that they can describe them and recommend them to customers. You should certainly find out what will be required of you before getting a job in sobriety. It can seem harmless to take a tiny sip of wine but that can easily turn into a full-blown relapse. Bars and restaurants are probably best left for after early sobriety when you have a strong program and feel comfortable in your recovery.

“Are You in Recovery?”

I live in a town that has MANY addiction treatment centers and a huge recovery community, which in some ways makes it easier for getting a job in sobriety. This has made the public (and employers) hyper-aware of people in addiction recovery. Some people have a bad perception of people in recovery, so they may even ask this at an interview. Though it may be difficult, it’s best to tell the truth. It may seem easy and harmless to lie, but if your employer finds out in the future then it could cost you your job. This would also further push your employer’s beliefs that sober people are sneaky or manipulative. It is best to be honest and hope for the best. If you have the skills needed and a professional demeanor, while also being honest about your situation, then your interviewer may give you a chance.

If they ask “how long have you been sober? ” then there are ways to get around this question. If you say “30 days” or “2 months,” then your interviewer is more likely to discriminate against you. You can simply explain politely that you prefer not talk about your recovery in the workplace because it is a separate part of your life. You can explain that recovery does not affect your job and you prefer to keep the two very separate. Your employer will hopefully respect this answer if you explain it politely and professionally.  

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Some Jobs PREFER People in Recovery

If you are fortunate enough to live in an area with many addiction treatment centers then there are probably a bunch of opportunities for getting a job in sobriety. Some addiction treatment centers either require people to be in recovery or strongly prefer people in recovery. There are tech jobs that are entry level and often do not require any experience or education. These jobs often entail watching clients/patients, transporting them to meetings, to groups, or to the store. Many people find these jobs very rewarding as well because it gives them an opportunity to help people that they can relate with. You can give advice and support people who were once in the same boat as you. Some treatment centers will also help techs further their education if they decide they want to become an addiction counselor or therapist.

Other jobs not related to recovery may also have favorable perceptions of sober people. Many sober people have proven to be even more reliable than people who are not sober. If you work a strong program, it often pushes you to be the best version of yourself. Many people in recovery are honest and hardworking, and employers will notice that quickly. Don’t be afraid to hide who you are. Whether your employer has a good or bad perception of those in recovery, you will eventually find a job.

How Pinnacle Can Help

One of the most effective ways to beat addiction is to start recovery at an addiction treatment center. Pinnacle Treatment Center is a comprehensive program that addresses the root causes of addiction and how to overcome it. Pinnacle provides intensive therapy along with lectures and exercises for life skills and relapse prevention. Patients will be involved in group therapy sessions as well as 12-step groups like NA and AA. Pinnacle will even help manage aftercare planning to ensure their patients remain on the right path after treatment. A well-rounded program like this is the best way to start recovery today and take control of your life. Call us today at 1-866-301-0573.

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