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Rebuilding the wreck

Many of us who have the disease of addiction end up losing our jobs. As the disease progresses, all the things we held important before fall by the wayside for more time to be spent pursuing our addiction.

When we have detoxed and are back in the community again, it can be very difficult to feel a part of things. I felt as though I had a tattoo on my forehead that declared I was unfit, unreliable and a parasite. These feelings were unfounded as I had a support network built up around me. Friends, family and fellow addicts in recovery continued to encourage me - but that didn't help what I felt inside - a piece of gutter trash.

These are normal feelings to have in the early stages of recovery after the "honeymoon" period. One of my biggest enemies was boredom. A great deal of my life previously had been spent in either the pursuit, use or withdrawal from whatever it was at the time - suddenly it was gone.

With nothing to fill the void....

I obsessed over the past, became bitter and self pitying about the rotten hand that life dealt me. I regularly forgot just how blessed I was. I would pace up and down rooms like a caged animal. I had forgotten how to live. 

Self-pity is a luxury a recovering addict cannot afford - it will lead you straight back to the darkness.

The first breakthrough was starting to renovate the house I was in, it took many months and we had little money (thanks to my previous behavior). I needed to learn a great deal to see the project through. But carrying out the renovations strengthened my body and self esteem - the colors of the world began to enter my life again. I was useful and began to refocus the resourcefulness I had learned as a practicing addict into more productive areas.

Quite simply, recovery is about the refocusing of energy. No magic pills or potions or complicated rituals. We are complicated enough people as it is!

With my self-confidence boosted, I began to think about returning to work. I was relatively unskilled and had no qualifications. I worried about attending job interviews and having employers digging into my past. I set up barriers in my mind which weren't necessary.

With some help from various community organizations, I was taught how to construct a resume - the "functional" kind, not chronological. That way I could summarize my skills and abilities without having to put a timeline in. My work history had numerous gaps, some of which I cannot remember to this day. I didn't put dates next to previous places of employment and utilized people who knew me in recovery as referees. It wasn't the best resume, but at least it was a start.

The functional resume will at least assist in securing job interviews, just set your initial return to work aspiration at a realistic level. Remember that you are starting from scratch.

I was then given the opportunity of learning about computers. Another big turning point. The decision to accept the training and then follow through positively shaped my life from that day on. I went from technophobe to technophile! I found something that I was good at, totally unexpectedly! It was through the computer that I learned to express myself effectively and it has formed the basis of my career.

You will find during your recovery that many opportunities will present themselves if you are seriously looking for them. Don't reject any of them before examining them closely. Accept genuine offers of help when they are offered. After all, we had no hesitation before in asking for help when it meant we could feed our habits! If you find yourself turning down opportunities for employment, re-education and self improvement, ask yourself why.

Are you fearful of people discovering your past once you have secured a job? You will also find that most people will not only accept you, but seek you out. So many people are affected by the disease that they are eager to find out more about it, but are afraid to approach doctors and other health professionals. I found that other people knowing about my past helped keep me clean and sober - there's nothing like a bit of positive peer group pressure! One of the greatest aspects of my recovery is having the privilege in assisting other addicts and their families. If I hid my past, I would not have been able to do so.

Addiction is not a dirty word, just a bad disease. Education is the medication.

Are you fearful of succeeding? This is also a normal feeling at this stage. Being successful means responsibility, perhaps people will rely on you..... what a frightening thought!!! These are exactly the opportunities you need!

As practicing addicts, we are used to setting ourselves up to lose on a daily basis. Failure is our intimate friend. When you are in recovery, success can be an uncomfortable experience as it is something new and foreign. Learn to embrace it, pat yourself on the back for each little thing you achieve.

Perhaps you are currently seeking to get back into the workforce and are finding it difficult, after all, these are tough times. Perhaps things still haven't sorted themselves out at home and relationships are still strained. Give it time, just keep striving and searching. Please always keep this in mind:

You are a success every day you get through without a drink or drug.

Have you made it through today? Congratulations from me!!!! Now pat yourself on the back!

Michael Bloch

Copyright information.... This article is free for reproduction but must be reproduced in its entirety along with the authors' name and web site link. This copyright statement must be also be included. (c) 2001 - 2007 Michael Bloch, World Wide,. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2001 - 2007 Taming the Beast -

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