Some may not even know what a get-well job is. I would say most in the recovery world do, but for those that don’t this is the best explanation I have for you…A job that doesn’t require too much stress, allows you to not work too many crazy hours, and typically doesn’t pay that much.
Some would say why would you want that? Well, I can tell you, it was instrumental for me to get and remain sober.
People like us in early sobriety tend to need a complete overhaul in our lives to start the path of recovery. Now, this isn’t everyone’s story, but it is mine and countless other ones in recovery I know.
When I was getting sober this time, I had a college degree from a good university in Boston and already had a few decent jobs on my resume. The best advice I received from someone when I was in early recovery other than don’t go home was, “you don’t need to get back into work like that for a while.” Why would I need that kind of money when I live in a halfway house? Money is a huge trigger for alcoholics and addicts. Why would I need the stress of a job that I may have to bring home with me as well? My focus in early recovery should be recovery and that is it for the most part.
Why should I settle for less? I can’t live off that salary. These are some statements that I have heard from people that I have tried to help in the past when suggesting a get-well job. Heck, I even used those terms before…but I didn’t stay sober either just for the record.
We aren’t settling for less when we apply for a get-well job. Insinuating that is all ego…in my opinion. A get-well job did way more for me that I thought it would. It humbled me, which I so desperately needed. Having a degree and thinking I was too smart for a get-well job put me at a huge disadvantage in early recovery.
So, for once in my life I took some good advice and took that job stocking shelves and working at 6 am. I was out every day at 3 pm so I could go to a meeting every night. I did not have to take my job home with me. I made just enough to pay rent and eat. That is all I needed. What I wanted was irrelevant at this point. I was just trying to stay alive.
I kept that job until I was a little more stable in my recovery. When I was around a year and a half sober and after discussions with my recovery network, I decided it was time to get back to a job I went to school for. I honestly believe if it wasn’t for the get-well job, I would have never had this other opportunity. I now work in the field of treatment and truly believe I have the best job imaginable. I did not say oh I have bills and oh this and that. The reality is I don’t pay bills when I use and if I take a stressful job too soon then once again the bills are out the window because I am using again saying “how did this happen”.
All too often I see people in recovery jumping into jobs that take them away from their focus on recovery. In their minds it is out of necessity, but ego and pride tend to be what is really affecting these decisions. Ego and pride have taken many lives of people I love in recovery.
I hope this blog may help someone that is at a crossroads and maybe says you know what… “I will take that job.” I know people that have stayed at their get-well job permanently and I think that is great! Money doesn’t buy happiness. Yes, it pays bills and we need it to survive but we should balance our recovery with it.