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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.