Sobriety often requires you to change something about the way you live. It could be that you need new friends or that you need a healthier lifestyle, or perhaps medication and therapy. People sometimes find their jobs are not conducive to recovery. For a variety of reasons, some jobs tend to go with higher rates of addiction. If you your job has certain characteristics, you might want to consider a change if you’re serious about recovery.
Is you job high stress?
Some jobs don’t let up. You may find yourself stuck trying to find imperfect solutions for unreasonable demands. You may work too many hours for too little pay. If your job is inherently stressful, you might want to consider a change. Stress is the biggest trigger of cravings and relapse so if you can’t get work stress under control, you are facing an uphill battle in recovery.
Some jobs that fall into this category are health care jobs, especially working directly with patients, law, finance, and food service, especially cooks and chefs. People in these kinds of jobs often feel they need stimulants to get them through long hours, and depressants to help them relax when they aren’t working. Working without drugs can sometimes feel like a handicap. If you don’t feel like you can manage a job sober, it’s not for you.
Is your job dangerous?
Jobs that have a high risk of injury tend to have a high risk of addiction as well. People who have to work while sore or injured often rely on pain medication to get them through the day. There is also the stress of job uncertainty. A serious injury can leave you unable to work at a time when austerity is increasingly popular. Jobs like mining, timbering, fishing and construction also typically require travel and being away from your sober support network can make recovery harder.
Are you around drugs or alcohol a lot?
Some jobs put you in contact with substances you’d rather avoid and with people who use those substances. Health care is a dangerous field because it’s high stress and there’s access to drugs. People often have trouble keeping jobs as bartenders because it’s hard to be sober in that environment. It’s one of the few jobs where it’s generally acceptable to drink while working, and on a slow night, it might feel like there’s nothing better to do.
Not everyone has the option of finding a new job to suit recovery. If you are stuck at your job for now, you might have to just make it work. That might mean delegating more, reducing hours, attending more meetings, and trying to find better ways to manage stress and relax.
Castle Craig is one of the most established and respected addiction rehab centres in the UK. Castle Craig provides consulting psychiatrists who diagnose associated mental illnesses like anxiety states, depression, ADD, PTSD, eating disorders, compulsive gambling, and compulsive relationships. For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | January 29, 2020