What is/was your first job after getting clean? Looking for job ideas


Hi everyone! This is my first post so I hope I’m doing this right. My name is Kelly and I’m an addict. Been clean from heroin, pills & meth for a little over a year and a half. I have had the benefit of not having to work during this time but it’s definately time for me to step up and help my Mom out whom I have been living with since I got out of rehab.

I am a Registered Nurse but I lost my license due to my drug addiction. I am working on getting that back but it’s going to be a fairly involved process since I have a felony (expunged) and it’s been almost 10 years since my I surrendered my license so I will have to do some courses to refresh myself.

Anyway, here’s my tl;dr, I literally haven’t worked for about 10 years unless drug dealer counts and I’m PRETTY sure it doesn’t. I am currently working at a fairly large retail dept. store but it’s only seasonal.

I’m interested in what others who like me, haven’t worked for a while did to get themselves back into the work force. Interested in hearing what did and didn’t work for them.

As an example, when I was only a few months clean, a friend of mine from rehab said ‘hey my mom knows a guy who owns a sandwich shop lets go apply!’. I did go with her to apply and I got the job (we both did) but I literally just had the biggest anxiety attack ever. It wasn’t just a small shop it was Firehouse Subs which is an extremely busy large place where I live. I was told I wasn’t wrapping pickles fast enough and I lost any and all confidence I had been building. Bottom line was, I wish I had waited a little longer before starting any kind of job bc mentally I was just NOT ready.

I recently got this retail job and I am actually excited (albeit a little nervous) when I go into work and have liked it a lot. I just don’t have too many hours and they really only want to keep the people who want to work full time and 9 hr shifts and that just isn’t something I feel like I am ready for.

Please share your storys/thoughts/opinions/suggestions etc. about anything related to working after getting clean. Look forward to hearing your thoughts and meeting you guys!


This is a great question. Welcome to the forum, hope you’re here to stay btw…anyways. Lot’s of people rush back into work, which they think is the most important thing in life and defines them as a human being. I admire you for taking the time for recovery.
I used to work in the restaurant business as a restaurant manager for my previous career…at some point in recovery I went back that road against advice…I relapsed after just few months of working.
Now I made it back to school and am doing my first work training at the moment. I spent a lot of time really thinking about what it was that I enjoyed doing. Then I mapped out how I could achieve that as my occupation. Applied for a school…and boom, I’m on my way to a new profession. If being a nurse is something that you really enjoy doing then, try and get back to that…but do spend all the time needed figuring out what it is that you enjoy doing…:slight_smile:


Have you considered working in the recovery field? Like a peer support specialist or something?


Hi Kelly. Sounds like things are going well for you! A temp agency may be an option for you. You will get to try different positions and something could turn into full time.


Thank you so so much for the kind reply. Ive been a member here for a while but it’s taken me this whole year and a half to even be able to communicate with anyone outside my little safety bubble (mom, sister people from rehab, therapist & Dr). I was kinda frozen just praying to get through all of the anxiety in my mind and body. I’m so happy someone reaponded thank you!

I loved nursing. But there wasn’t one day as a nursing student or as a nurse that I wasn’t loaded. I’m terrified of working 12 hour shifts sober. Thank God it’s going to be a good year until I can even get my license back. In the meantime I’m just doing my little 4-5 hour shifts at Macys trying to gain back my physical stamina and build my confidence back. Thank you for your words of support, so much appreciated :hugs:


Yes. For sure this is where I am headed. I have another 5 months before I can work at any rehabs/recovery homes where I live. They all require 2 years clean.

Yes! A temp agency is a great idea! Thank you Frank68!


Progress is going to happen by facing the fear. You working 5 hour shifts Will soon Be easy. Less than a year ago I went to a rehabilitating Job. I struggled doing four hours of work three Days a week. Now I wake up at 4.40 in the morning, work until 3.30 pm. Go to gym, then a meeting. I’m usually Back home around 9.30 in the evening. A full Day, i’d say. A year ago I couldn’t have even dreamed it was possible


Hi @Kellwhy and welcome. I am glad you have come this far and you seem to have a really positive outlook on life. It’s good to take your time, build up your energy, your working hours. Much good advice has been given to you here already.
If possible, a chat with a job coach could help you focus on your possibilities? You’ll get there. Good to have you here!


Thank you so much for the welcome :hugs:

It feels so good to have found a community to both receive and give support. Really happy to be here.


Omg really? This is super encouraging and I’m so happy to know someone can understand and relate to what I’m going through. This is exactly what I was hoping would start happening. Yes!



I’m glad you asked this question. I need more time focused entirely on my recovery from alcohol as well as stabilizing in my mental illness before I add a job into it, so I hadn’t thought to think about this. I’d like to plan ahead for it, thanks for the reminder! It’s been a few years for me since I had regular work, and I’m anticipating needing to start slow like you are. Even though I’d love to dive into something full time, like, tomorrow :stuck_out_tongue:


Hi and welcome @Kellwhy😀
Im also a nurse but have decided that i want out of it. The shift makes me sleepless (working 80%ningt for 18 years) and plays a role to my binge drinking.
Im back at school studying psychology. Going for a job at day time working 3 days on with resting nightshift then 7 days off. But it might be something else in the end.


It’s so nice to read about your challenges and plans to respond to them. You have such a lovely positive attitude. Hang around here, it sounds like you have lots to give :two_hearts::two_hearts:


Welcome :slight_smile: a year and a half? Im sure you can teach some of us a thing or 2 :slight_smile:

I am really interested to hear what ideas come up here actually because while I’m pretty settled in my long-arsed-houred, hectic job (which I think has mostly aided my sobriety), its definitely not for everyone in recovery so looking forward to responses. I don’t know how to word the question correctly but im sure you’ll get me; what ‘type’ of nurse are you?


In my previous jobs I was working in childcare then a chef, I could return to this as I have a clear record , however I’m looking at going in to be a drug and alcohol recovery coach


Its the perfect time of year to ‘kitchen’ aswell :wink: if you need an extra dose of stress that is :wink:


:smile: no thanks, but I’m doing cooking with recovery program anyway right now.


Nice :slight_smile: hows it going? I assume you’re instructing?


Not yet, intake is at the end of January but forms are going in and still need to be interviewed


All the best with that :slight_smile: I’d love to hear some of your recipes and give them a try