Getting a Job in Recovery

Hi again, I've also been playing with the idea of getting a job working with the mentally and physically disabled. At my clinic, where we have a mental health department, substance abuse department, and another department for, I believe, people with physical and developmental disabilities, I was a peer counselor on a volunteer basis. I assisted clients in the computer lab look for government benefits, housing, financial aid and school, and employment. I taught a little bit, like medicine management, budgeting on a fixed income, and living independently. I led the creative writing & reading group, helped with drama therapy, and goal setting group. I also helped with maintenance work like cooking and cleaning, and adminstrative work like billing and the newsletter. We do art class, music group, outings (like field trips), and sing-a-longs, which I do not lead. However, in addition to my psychology schooling (about 2 years), I also studied law. I studied law for one year but did not receive my certificate because I decided not to go ahead with my internship as an administrative assistant. Well, I have another volunteer opportunity, and that is a law clinic helping low-income clients with physical and mental disabilities receive their Social Security benefits, and I know all about that, because I, too, receive a check. They will have to know ahead of time that I was diagnosed with a mental disability, but by law they are not supposed to discriminate against me. The only problem is my lack of ability to perform office administration in a law office, because not only do I have trouble with secretarial work (I've tried it, gotten extremely stressed out, and made many mistakes), but also I did not really go to school for the office administration part of it. I went to school and took introduction to law & the legal system, some other law class, computers in business, office procedures using an introduction to paralegalism textbook, and various other courses like business ethics. I learned legal writing. I did not learn the dockets and filing. The legal secretary has an entirely different role, and they may consider me an imperfect fit for the job. But none of the other volunteer positions are right for me. I don't want to work. I might have to go back to school for one month, learning legal office administration, but I dread it. It's just so dumb why I don't want to work for them. It's because I don't trust myself to do this work, especially since I might be distracted by my substance abuse recovery at this time. My dad and I were just talking back and forth about job interviews yesterday. He used to be a higher-up boss and interviewer. He later became a kind of job coach. He told me he was impressed with some of my answers to your standard interview questions, like what are your greatest strengths & weaknesses, mistakes you've made in the past and how you fixed them, and lastly about the grilling, which can be a very heated series of questions towards the end intended to make sure you are the right person for the job and that you are who you say you are.
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  • @StrengthBringsHope Fortunately, or unfortunately, just because one is in recovery doesn't mean that life takes a pause. Sometimes it seems like it would be great if everything took a time-out and allowed one to focus on what they needed to do to finish their recovery. But, life roars on.

    In the case you described above, this can be a good thing. I have said that the secret to recovery is learning to live a new lifestyle, the sober lifestyle. It's just like any other lifestyle, it has certain expectations, culture, and other nuances. Getting the job might be the perfect way to frame that new sober lifestyle. It can also help cement your own recovery, and provide some feedback and help challenge more of your assumptions that are needed to be revisited during recovery. However, just be vigilant that those challenges lead to relapse. The tragedies that some people live with daily could give the monster reason to start attacking you. If you are in regular contact with people with substance abuse problems, that will be a further test. When does the student become the teacher? When is the person far enough along that they can start guiding others? When do they have the conviction and faith in their recovery that someone isn't going to sway them back to their old ways? I have no idea, but making sure your contact with others that might be earlier in their journey doesn't drag you back.

    Don't be afraid of school either. For any job, there is a constant parade of new education and training. Plus, with your new outlook and with you not poisoning yourself, the school and the work might not be so bad. Just make sure that the job is right for you too. If it is tough, stressful, or unrewarding, that will allow the monster to get in and start whispering you with "great" ideas on how to "relax".

    Keep the faith!
  • @StrengthBringsHope hey there. you have a heart to serve others, and that is wonderful. the world needs bright lights like you!! keep in mind balance as you move forward too.... sometimes those with big hearts tend to swing a bit far on the "giving" scale, and end up burned out.... so check in with yourself regularly... :)

    so good to hear your enthusiasm and optimism... you are inspiring others here just by sharing your journey...

    leaker is right that temptations and challenges may come, but you never have to cope by drinking or drugging... never... :)

    have a great Sunday!
  • Man, @Leaker couldn't be more right about life roaring on when someone is in recovery. Or working trying to find recovery. I used to pray for a giant "PAUSE" button when my son was in the throes of his addiction. I just wanted everything else in my world to stop so I could concentrate on helping my son. But, alas...There is no giant pause button for life.

    I think it's great that you're thinking about doing something to help people who need it, @StrengthBringsHope. I have found that helping others is a true passion of mine, too. It's just so rewarding to feel like you're making a difference. And it's nice to feel good about what you're doing, too. That said, take @dominica's words about balance to heart, to.

    Proud of you, my friend!
  • Hey, sorry I haven't read the replies to this thread until now, but these are great ideas. I did decide to go back to school, I have one more week, and I am gauging myself for stress level. Thank you all so much for your advice and support.
  • You're very welcome, @StrengthBringsHope. Glad to hear you're going back to school. Try your best to keep the stress to a minimum. You got this!
  • @StrengthBringsHope wonderful!! thank you for the update!!

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