People who struggle with addiction often fear the possibility of never finding professional or financial success. Even upon entering treatment, they worry that the consequences of their addictive behaviors, such as a DUI, can prevent them from ever being considered for gainful employment or pursuing a respectable career. However, this is far from the truth.
Since addiction is best understood by those who suffer and recover from it, many people who experience the disease firsthand are the most qualified to have careers in the addiction field. Job titles that range from recovery coach to addiction specialist to substance abuse counselor offer recovering individuals both a career and a personal mission—a lifetime of working in a field that personally moves them.
Train to Recover for a Living
Active addicts entering treatment may question whether they can ever be accepted into a college or university in the future. Many of them have either been convicted of a felony or have failed out or withdrawn from school as a result of their addiction. However, there are many programs across the country designed to give recovering individuals a second chance at higher education. Thankfully, these programs negate the denial of an application based on convictions or past scholastic offenses.
In fact, the slate is wiped clean for recovering individuals applying to these programs. As long as they have completed drug or alcohol treatment and have one year’s sobriety, they are candidates for acceptance. Moreover, those in recovery are often eligible for scholarships through these programs.
Of course, the scholarships offered are contingent upon the recovering student’s sobriety and GPA. Additionally, most programs have stipulations, like weekly recovery meeting attendance, therapy or recovery coaching, seminars, among others. The latter list depends on the type of recovery program offered at the university, as each specific school will likely be unique.
These programs also offer advising. Typically, one advisor is utilized for all recovering students. The goal is to design each student’s schedule around the requirements of the program and that of the student’s chosen field of study. The advisor generally deals a bit in life skills coaching, as well, offering resources for employment, sober living, recovery communities, meetings, and etc.
For those who do not wish to attend a university to acquire the education and training needed to become a professional in the addiction field, there are also online courses that offer certification in different aspects of the field are usually the best options. However, the structure is often lacking, as is the accountability. The latter is key to successful recovery and completion of any educational program.
Your Life’s Work
Regardless of which path is chosen to pursue and achieve a degree, certification and/or licensure in the field of addiction, the experience is both rewarding and healing. In fact, it can be a valuable tool for recovery. The courses required, books and other resources recommended and knowledge gained progress the understanding of the disease itself. More importantly, they spur personal reflections and a deeper knowing of and compassion for the self.