Rebuilding Your Credibility: How Recovering Addicts Can Prove Their Workplace Resilience

I understand that drug and alcohol addiction can create a real flat tire in one’s life.  Well, let’s be honest, it’s more like getting all four tires slashed at one time, and then still trying to drive to the destination that is your life.  Even long after regaining sobriety and long after patching those tires, people still look at you funny while you’re driving down the road that is your life.  For some reason, no matter how stable and relaxed you are in your recovery, people often still question your credibility.

Listed in this article are five ways that you can make a conscious effort to regain your credibility after beating an addiction:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, as this will remove the stigma and help improve your credibility. You can reach out to friends, family members or professionals.  It is a very human thing to do and shows that you are fully in touch with your recovery.  Your network will respect you for it and not judge you so much.
  2. Understand that life is change and that these things take time. Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable and is just a part of life, isn’t it?  For something as serious as addiction, it will take a while for those close to you to get over that and to grow out of the idea of viewing you as an addict or even just as a recovered addict.
  3. Sometimes you will fail, but you will always learn from whatever it is you are doing.  You won’t always be able to fully get your credibility back.  Nelson Mandela had a great quote on this topic that I have included here: “I never lose. I either win or learn.” Adopt that same attitude in life and believe me you will learn from every experience you have in recovery.
  4. Keep a positive attitude that lasts a lifetime.  Even if people do not accept you instantly, know that they will soon enough.  Know that they will come around soon enough.  Know that they will bring you back into the fold, and your confidence is what will bring that about.
  5. Be more decisive with people.  Be commanding and in charge, and people will respect you for it and start flowing you more credibility.  When something unexpected happens in your life, what is your first reaction to it? Do you take care of it right away? Do you ask someone for advice?  Both are okay. Or do you wail your woes to every single person you meet that day instead? That is not so great and will lose your credibility.

At the end of the day, it is sometimes a tricky prospect to regain your credibility after having just gone through addiction and after having put others in your life through it as well.  Sometimes it can be difficult to really accept people back in after experiencing this, but you really do need to accept them as the alternative is really not so great.

If you ever want to jump back into life and really take your life back, you need to be able to engage yourself in recovery that lasts a lifetime.  And to do that, you need to get your networks up and running again.  To do that, you need to regain credibility with the people you know and care about.  To do that, you need to follow the above tips and others to make it clear to people that you are not an addict anymore.  Do this, and you will win in the long run.

5 Ways a Recovering Addict Can Destigmatize Addiction During a Job Interview

One thing that I have learned very quickly as a result of working with recovered addicts, of operating drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation centers, and as a result of being recovered myself is that it can and often is very difficult for recovering addicts to get jobs. The stigma that is connected to addiction is a serious, deep, and very harmful slash against someone’s reputation and it is pretty hard to overcome, to say the least.

My hope is to see a change in the perspective of a recovered addict. I want people to start to not see them as recovered addicts but to instead see them as someone who managed to pull through a crisis issue and a difficulty the likes of which no one would want to wish upon anyone else. I would like to see this issue brought down a notch, and rather than having those who feel as though they can’t take life by the horns and win because of their addictions feel let down, I’d like to see these people build off of their recovery and use their previous experience as addicts to truly find something new for themselves.

Listed below are a few tips and tricks that I think recovering addicts can use to remove the stigma of addiction during a job interview:

  1. First of all, you can’t go wrong by giving the interviewer all of the data. Honesty is and always has been the best policy in these types of situations. So just be honest with them. Tell them everything there is to tell them. Give them all of the data. If they ask about your previous addiction, tell them about it, what you used, how long you used for, how long you’ve been sober, etc. A good boss will respect and appreciate the honesty and your willingness to talk about it. A bad boss won’t, but you don’t want to work for him anyway.
  2. Go over how you beat addiction. For every second you spent discussing your addiction, spend ten seconds discussing your rehabilitation and recovery from addiction. This will really put it in their mind that you are clean now and that you are a recovered individual.
  3. Go over facts and statistics on relapse rates, and show how unlikely it is that you will relapse based on credible sources. Use your recovery counselors and support network as references. Be very open and very willing for the interviewer to examine this area of your life.
  4. Sell yourself. Really pitch yourself at how, because of your addiction and your recovery and what that did for you as an individual, you will be able to be the absolute best employee that the interviewer has. Use your recovery and your past addiction to actually make yourself look more desirable, not less desirable.
  5. All in all, some people just won’t change their mind about recovered addicts, and you have to accept that. There are some people who you just won’t be able to convince that you are a qualified candidate for their position, no matter what you say or how you act or what you do. However, probably about thirty percent of interviewers are on the fence about it.

The above tips are what will help you win those interviewers over to your side of the fence. Probably about forty percent of interviewers won’t have a problem with your history at all, and about thirty percent won’t want anything to do with you no matter what you say or do. Use the above tips to your advantage, and you will win the majority of the time and be able to get the jobs that you want to get.

Parent to Parent: Should You Disclose Your Past Addiction

I can understand that this particular subject matter could get a little tense and it could get a little controversial.  As parents (speaking from experience) we all suffer and struggle trying to think with the decision on whether or not we should branch out and tell our children about our past addiction problems if we had them.  On the one hand, we think that it could be a good thing because it might put things into perspective for our young ones.  On the other hand, though we might be a little bit concerned at the thought of doing this too as it might cause us to worry that they might think less of us, or that they might justify their own actions based off of our past ones.

Some parents choose to tell their kids about their past substance abuse.  Some choose to keep it hidden in an effort to protect them.  The honest truth of the matter is that I don’t think there is anything wrong with either decision, especially if it is made in the right way and that the parents have fully looked at and explored both options in their minds and how each route could go down.  In that case, I support parents of both sides of the coin.

What My Advice is on the Matter

Here’s what I think about it.  I personally believe in an all-out in the open, no subtleties, no withholds, no lies, no secrets type of approach to parenting.  I want to know everything about my kids, and since that is what I want from them, I am willing to afford them the same courtesy.  I feel it is only fair if I am asking for my kids to tell me everything that I, in turn, tell them everything.  That sounds fair, right?

Of course, I do have some contingencies.  I don’t tell my kids about my past unless I think they are ready to hear it, and I always consult with their mother before I do so.  That is my policy.  I feel as though children have a right to know all about their parents, just as parents have a right to know all about their kids.  In truth what it really comes down to is when you go about telling them about your addiction past and how you go about telling them about it and under what circumstances you tell them about it.  That is ultimately what it all comes down to I feel.

With this in mind, I invite you to come to a decision on which you think is the best decision.  I invite you to arrive for yourself a conclusion as to what you think will be best for your kids.  Consider points like:

  • “What have they heard about me so far and what kind of effect did that have on them?”
  • “Are they old enough?”
  • “Are they on the verge of experimenting with drugs and alcohol themselves?”
  • “Have they already started abusing drugs and alcohol?”
  • “What would be the pros to be telling my kids about my addiction past?”
  • “What are the cons to me telling my kids about my addiction past?”

If you write all this out and make a list and answer all the questions honestly and truthfully then it will be pretty clear to you and plain to you what you need to do to effectively address this situation.

As a last note, I strongly encourage you to consult with your spouse on this matter. Whether your spouse is the parent of your kids or not, I strongly encourage you to involve them in this process and the overall decision too.  After all, it is just as much his or her responsibility to raise the kids as it is yours, so they should have a say in the matter just as much as you should.  In the end, a final exercise to do to decide which is the best decision is to think on it and work it out in your head and to try to think about how it could be successful and workable and what might happen that might make it unworkable.  Whichever direction you are leaning towards after that will be the right choice.