Advice For Returning To The Workforce Whilst Battling Addiction and Mental Health Battles

Hi everyone, my name is Hope. I was searching the internet for a group that I could learn, grow and share with… and I came across Talking Sober. After battling addiction and various mental health issues for what feels like an eternity… well the better part of 20 years… I have decided that I really want, no need to be able to work again, to have some sort of responsibility again… routine, and… hope!. Which would serve for 3 main purposes…

  1. Regain my confidence
  2. Self belief and recognitionin in myself that I am capable and
  3. An Income as finances are very tight and everyday living now has gotten to the point of near impossible (I have been unemployed now for over 5years).

I was once a very competent person, a person who had pride in themsleves, a person with hopes, dreams and was achieving goal after goal. I took joy in the simple pleasures of life. I participated with others and was involved in sport and art and other “normalised” activities, I had a steady good paying job in banking and finance. and I also was a small business owner… Well… that was until… I was not. Until the inevitable. I broke… I broke to the point I shattered into what feels like a million pieces and No matter how hard I try it feels like i will never find all of the pieces again. The pieces of my life and of others lives that I have let down and repeatedly disappointed.

There are many reasons I could try to explain why my life fell completely apart. Many circumstances entwined in the next… but, I will some it all up with Addiction and my Mental Health - which includes… PTSD, Social Anxiety and Clinical Depression.

I guess my question is. How have others? How have you overcome the odds and been able to go back to work? I’m overcome with panic attacks with just the thought of (if I’m lucky enough that someone will want to employ me) embarrassing myself on day 1 of a new job. That I’m not capable, That who am I kidding, I will definitely fail. That I am a total looser who will hever be able to function in a normal environment again. Catastrophising is a massive debilitating problem I have. Negative self talk. Setting myself up for failure… before I’ve even begun. I’m just so scared of failing. Of going back to work and then knowing for certain that I can’t do it and if that happens I fear there will be no hope left at all. I really want to try. I don’t want to give up and except that I’m not good enough to work again. I’m just very scared.

Have others felt thus way when going back to employment? How did you overcome your fears and be brave and the courage to try x


I don’t know but I have been unemployed for a similar length of time and face similar issues. So I’m keen to find out what others say!

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@Hope17 You’re sober now right? Yay you! It’s not the solution but the first condition for a better life. When sober we can work on ourselves. To put ourselves back together. To become whole again. This is lots of work. Maybe you need to do some work on yourself before getting back to work. Maybe a job is part of that.

What you need is a plan. Maybe you need to go to meetings. Do the 12 steps or find another support group than AA or NA. Maybe you need psychotherapy. Maybe both. I am sure you can’t do it alone. None of us can. We need each other.

Another thing I am sure of is that we need to be ruthlessly honest. With ourselves in the first place. What do you really need right now? It might be work. It might be something else. It might be a combination. Maybe volunteering first is an idea too. Less pressure.

Whatever you do I wish you all success. Coming here and sharing your story and questions is a big step. Thanks! We can do this. Together. Hugs.


Hello and welcome. Sobriety is absolutely the first step here. If addiction was a factor for keeping you out of the workforce it should be the first thing you kick to the curb.

We build new lives through sobriety. Once you’ve started to examine the roots of your addiction and focus on your recovery things start changing.