The Vital Cornerstone for Recovery
For many, navigating the path of recovery, employment offers more than just financial stability. It provides a renewed sense of identity, purpose, and belonging. The act of working, collaborating with peers, and contributing to society enriches recovery capital, strengthening the foundation on which people can rebuild their lives.
According to Alison Webb in her book, Recovery Allies, How to Support Addiction Recovery and Build Recovery-Friendly Communities (North Atlantic Books, 2022), employment transcends just being a route to income.
It stands as a cornerstone in the path to recovery by:
• Fostering Self-Worth and Purpose: Engaging in work not only gives individuals a sense of identity and purpose but also provides them avenues for personal growth, a feeling of belonging to a team, and opportunities to meaningfully contribute to society.
• Bridging the Gap – From Takers to Givers: Many in recovery perceive their past of active addiction as a period where they were merely “taking” from society. Employment paves a way for them to evolve from “takers” to “givers” enabling them to contribute to their communities and the broader society.
• Employers Being Champions: The recovery journey is immensely aided by employers who recognize and establish supportive environments for those in recovery. Alison emphasizes that the repercussions of substance use in professional settings, such as escalated healthcare expenses and absenteeism, make it important for employers to be supportive to recovery efforts.
• Enhancing Recovery: Data suggests that employment dramatically enhances recovery capital by presenting avenues for independent living, access to health insurance, reduced financial stress, and an improved social stature. Also, a job can structure one’s day, elevate self-respect, uplift spirits, and amplify overall life quality.
• Guarding Against Returning to Use: Being employed can be a significant guard against returning to use. As Alison writes, “The likelihood of sustained recovery is as deeply influenced by employment as it is by the duration of treatment.”
In a nutshell, employment isn’t just a ladder to economic well-being. It’s vital to amplifying recovery capital, nurturing self-worth, bestowing purpose, and endorsing long-term recovery.