If you are in early recovery, perhaps in treatment or just getting out, you may find yourself feeling anxious about what will happen when you re-enter “the real world” and need to find employment and housing. These life skills are often taken for granted, but they can be really overwhelming for women in early recovery who don’t have experience in these matters. Women in recovery often experience barriers to employment. For some, it is a lack of experience, and for others, there may be issues with childcare. Still others have to contend with an arrest record. It can seem at times like these are insurmountable challenges to finding work, but they aren’t. Yes, it can be more difficult to find work if you have no experience or a record, but it can be done. Women in recovery have been overcoming these obstacles for many years, and you can, too. Here are some strategies you can use to overcome these challenges and get into the workforce. Talk About Your Fears Don’t hesitate to share your fears with others. Now is not the time to isolate or be tight-lipped. It is okay to be afraid, and it is okay to talk about it. Reach out to your support group, talk to your sponsor, put it out there at meetings. Talking about your fears takes the power out of them, and gives others the opportunity to help you. Get Advice From Women Who Have Been There Whatever problems you are having in recovery, someone has been there before you. Other women who have time have struggled with this same problem, and can offer you suggestions for overcoming and coping with it. Ask Around And Network Don’t be afraid to ask. Whether you are filling out applications, talking to managers or asking people in your circle if they know who is hiring, ask and ask some more. Start networking with people who are in your chosen field. If you don’t have a chosen field, then start researching companies you would like to work for. Find out what it takes to be considered for a position. Do you have to have certain skills or education? Find out and start working toward that goal. Learn New Skills You may need to learn new skills in order to get the kind of job that you want. This may mean attending a vocational school or training program. It may mean going back to school to finish a degree. It might feel overwhelming, but if you take it one day at a time, you will get to where you need to be. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it will take too long. Time is going to pass no matter what, so you might as well make that time work for you. Make sure you also focus on “soft skills.” Examples would be good communication, a positive attitude, leadership, teamwork, problem-solving and idea generation. These skills are often just as attractive to employers as work experience. Learn How To Prepare For An Interview If you have never had a job before, or if it has been awhile, your interview skills are going to need an overhaul. The job market has changed in recent years, and so has the interview process. It is important that you get comfortable talking to prospective employers and that you put your best foot forward. There are programs that can teach you interview skills, as well as how to create a resume. Be Persistent It might take a while to get an interview, and it may take even longer to get hired. Be persistent. You might have to call people back, you might have to apply more than once. You might have to take a job you aren’t excited about for right now. That’s okay, keep applying for jobs you are excited about. Early recovery is full of challenges, but if you keep trying, you will see results. Persistence is the key to success. You don’t have to settle. You can consistently move forward, one day at a time. Keep working toward your goals. Apply What You Have Learned In Recovery You have already learned much of what you need to know in order to be successful in the workplace. Be honest, be open-minded, be willing. You will be tempted to take shortcuts, or to be dishonest because you are afraid. Don’t fall into that trap. Have faith in your higher power and faith in yourself. The right opportunity will present itself. Put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Life skills such as job searching, budgeting and finding housing are often overwhelming to the addict in early recovery. Applying what you have already learned in recovery and reaching out to others is the best way to make sure that you stay on track. Getting Help At Wayside House If you are a woman who is struggling with addiction, Wayside House can help. Wayside offers a comprehensive addiction program that includes inpatient care, outpatient care, and an alumni program. We are with you every step of the way and our holistic approach to addiction recovery means we offer the very best in treatment including counseling, dual diagnosis treatment, holistic therapies such as yoga and meditation, equine therapy, and horticulture therapy. For women in early recovery, we offer life skills training and help with finding employment through Posner Career Center. Learn more about our programs and services, call 561-278-0055 today.