I have often said that “if there is a hard way to learn something, I will find it.” Unfortunately, that is the case for me in this instance related to job opportunities. The majority of states in the U.S require public agencies and certain private employers to conduct background checks before offering employment. This is especially the case when employment consists of contact with children, elderly, and people with disabilities. As a mental health therapist, I work with all of those populations and have experienced background checks at every job opportunity that I have pursued.
It has been my experience, at least initially, that finding a job in my field after experiencing past problems with alcohol is extremely difficult. I was hired within a month as a mental health therapist after obtaining my master’s degree. After getting another OWI as well as losing my job approximately seven months ago (when this post was written), I have submitted 15+ applications and been interviewed five times.
I didn’t start the job-seeking process immediately. I waited until after I completed forty-five days of rehabilitation successfully and was sober for over one hundred days. Not only that, but in the state of Michigan, to keep your license as a health professional, after accruing any alcohol or drug-related problems, you have to maintain compliance in the Health Professionals Recovery Program. Compliance for me in the program consisted of remaining completely sober, submitting to random drug/alcohol screens, attending 13 Alcohol Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings a month, weekly individual therapy, bi-weekly group therapy, and a quarterly visit to an addictionologist. I had remained compliant as well as obtained verification from a certified therapist that I am safe to practice my occupation as a mental health therapist. Yet, I remained unemployed (at the time this post was written).
As you can see, the problems that have arisen related to my issues with addiction haven’t made the job-seeking process any easier for me. I am not saying it is impossible to obtain a job as a person with an addiction, but remaining sober and avoiding the problems associated with addiction certainly increase the odds. By remaining sober, Today you can acquire better job opportunities.