Men & Careers: Does The Path Change After Rehab?

Man after rehab considering changing careers

After discharging from rehab treatment for an addiction, it can be a difficult and stressful time considering whether to return to your previous career or start over. Most individuals who have returned to their careers find readjustment to work a challenge at first [1].

Remembering that feelings of blame or guilt can lead to relapse and focus on the positives and look to the future is important in the recovery process. Whether interviewing or seeing coworkers again after rehab, one should keep interactions positive. Only you decide what you want to share or not with others.

When leaving rehab, some men will return to their prior employment, but others may not have that opportunity. Some men may have careers that are high profile or are executive in nature, so being able to return to that same position is necessary.

Others, regardless of profile, and depending on the severity of the addiction, may have lost their career. Rehab can change a person’s thoughts and direction in life for what they want to do within their career.

Recovery can bring new changes in various ways. Many factors are involved when looking at a career such as an experience in the industry, education, training, previous employment, and personal goals [2].

When Leaving Rehab

When getting ready to leave the recovery facility, go over your recovery and support plan with your treatment team. The team can include friends, family, co-workers, and other contacts to help you return or gain employment.

Being able to outline your personal goals is also important. Knowing what you want to achieve can help you realize what career path is best for you.

If you are looking for a new career, there are various agencies that can assist. One such organization is American in Recovery. American in Recovery is a non-profit company that provides resources for individuals who are looking for employment within their area.

Man's shoesIt is a free service for both those seeking employment and those hiring [3].

Another organization is the National Hire Network that works with people who have criminal records and addiction to find employment. This organization offers a state by state directory of employment programs.

If you are seeking a new career path, but unsure of what you want to do, many individuals will volunteer their time at various organizations. Focusing on cases where you feel passionate or connected is a good place to start.

For example, if you enjoy working with animals, starting at a humane society or animal shelter. If you feel connected to hands on work, then offer to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity or the ReStore in your area.

There are endless possibilities when wanting to try something new in which to get involved. If you are changing career paths, seek out new training opportunities or education to support your new endeavor. This can mean mentoring under someone who already works in that specialty, or going back to school to gain a degree in the area needed.

For individuals who are needing to keep their employment after treatment, it is important to take steps before entering treatment if possible. First, those who do enter treatment and return to work are often more likely to succeed in their position than those who are untreated for addictions [4].

Be honest with the human resources department and the supervisor on how long your treatment will last. You do not have to share everything with your work, but be honest about your health and severity of your addiction.

If you can give notice, do it as that helps your employer be able to find a temp or rearrange your duties until your return.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) is also available at most agencies or organizations to be able to coordinate rehab and support programs. They will also have information about how rehab might affect your employment.

Stay in contact with your employer throughout your rehabilitation, so they know if return dates change and how you are doing. Often you can coordinate those conversations with your treatment team.

Returning to your previous employment after rehab can provide a stable structure and routine for men after treatment. This can aid in long term recovery and sobriety.

Being able to keep track of your needs and recovery goals is essential when returning to work. First, being able to handle questions about absence is important.

Knowing what to say and reviewing with your support system can be helpful. It is up to you to share your history or leave of absence with coworkers.

Stress and Adjustment After Treatment

Stress on the job can lead to relapse, and knowing how to handle that can help guard against relapse. Attending support meetings and aftercare groups can help connect to others who are adjusting to either a new career or return to work [5].

Having coping skills that are healthy and provide a way to decompress and recharge you mentally and emotionally can help with fighting substance use urges and situations that may present when in recovery.

Remember when returning to a career or finding a new one, means taking a step back and looking at what the workplace functioning, dynamics, and way of being looks life.

Man backpackingConsidering if this matches your current view of what you feel fits your current life is essential to understand how your career path may look. Being able to stay positive and maintaining a work-life balance is important to be able to take on further responsibility.

Remember that all individuals feel like they are in a rut or stuck in their career at some point in their life. Knowing how to recharge, consider what career path is the best fit for your passions and needs can help you decide if the current or new career choices will work for you.

Be able to return to work is an option for many individuals, but finding yourself and your recovered life is the best of all.

Image of Libby Lyons and familyAbout the Author: Libby Lyons is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS). Libby has been practicing in the field of eating disorders, addictions, depression, anxiety and other comorbid issues in various agencies. Libby has previously worked as a contractor for the United States Air Force Domestic Violence Program, Saint Louis University Student Health and Counseling, Saint Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute Eating Disorders Program, and has been in Private Practice.
Libby currently works as a counselor at Fontbonne University and is a Adjunct Professor at Saint Louis University, and is a contributing author for Addiction Hope and Eating Disorder Hope. Libby lives in the St. Louis area with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys spending time with her family, running, and watching movies.


[1] Getting a Job or Re-Entering Your Career After Rehab. (2016, May 16). Retrieved June 20, 2017, from
[2] How to get a Job After Successfully Completing Drug Rehabilitation. (2017, May 19). Retrieved June 20, 2017, from
[3] J. (2013, June 20). Finding a Job Once in Recovery. Retrieved July 02, 2017, from
[4] Can I Get My Job Back After Rehab? (n.d.). Retrieved July 02, 2017, from
[5] Returning to Work After Rehab | Work and Job From Rehab. (n.d.). Retrieved July 02, 2017, from

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on August 23, 2017
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 23, 2017.
Published on

About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Addiction Hope in January, 2013, after experiencing years of inquiries for addiction help by visitors to our well regarded sister site, Eating Disorder Hope. Many of the eating disorder sufferers that contact Eating Disorder Hope also had a co-occurring issue of addiction to alcohol, drugs, and process addictions.