Time spent in sober living gives you the opportunity to practice the skills you learned in treatment that help you navigate the world without the help of drugs or alcohol. Getting a job while you’re in sober living has several benefits to your recovery, according to an article in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.1 Having a job:

  • Fills your time with productive pursuits
  • Reduces financial strain
  • Increases feelings of stability
  • Gives you the opportunity to develop healthy relationships with others
  • Increases self-confidence and feelings of self-worth
  • Helps you find purpose and meaning in life

But not every job is suitable for someone in early recovery. Here are some tips for finding the right job for you while you’re in sober living.

1. Draw on your strengths.

A sense of fulfillment in life comes from using your strengths every day.2 The best kind of job for you is one that draws on your strengths. When you’re using your inherent strengths, you’re more likely to enjoy your job and feel a sense of purpose while you’re working. If you have good business sense, a corporate job may be right for you. If you get pleasure from helping others, a service industry job or a career in social work or education might be a good match for you.

To get started identifying your strengths, ask yourself:

  • What do I care about?
  • What am I good at?
  • What were my interests when I was younger, or before the addiction?
  • What makes me feel motivated?
  • What brings me happiness?
  • What activities make me feel a sense of flow, where time ceases to exist and I’m deeply engaged?

Try to find a job that allows you to use your strengths and that leaves you with a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

2. Consider the stress level of the job.

Stress is a major trigger for relapse, and finding a job that’s not too stressful is essential in early recovery. If waiting tables at a busy restaurant stresses you out, avoid that type of job. If deadlines make you nervous, avoid getting a job where meeting tight deadlines is central to success. If travel gives you anxiety, don’t choose a job that requires it.

This isn’t to say you should avoid finding a challenging job. Challenges can be very beneficial for improving your self-confidence. But make sure the challenges will inspire you to do your best, rather than cause undue stress in your life.

3. Consider the practical aspects.

Practical considerations are important when you’re trying to decide what type of job to get. Here are some considerations you should keep in mind while brainstorming job ideas:

Transportation. Do you have reliable transportation to and from work, or will public transit be able to get you there and back?

Pay. How much do you need to make in order to meet your financial obligations and have a little extra for fun stuff and to save? Look for a job with a starting pay you can live on.

Benefits. Do you need a job that provides health insurance or vacation time and sick leave? Keep these things in mind while job hunting.

Office culture. Do you work better alone, or as a team? Do you work better under close supervision, or are you better left to your own devices?

Start Applying

Once you decide what type of job to look for, put together a resume and start sending them out. You can look for jobs in the newspaper, through online job boards, or through an organization’s website. Federal, state and local government job boards offer a wealth of employment opportunities, and these jobs usually have good pay and benefits.

Getting a job can help promote successful recovery and give you the opportunity to work on your social, relationship and coping skills. It can also open many doors in your life that can lead you to a greater sense of purpose, meaning, well-being and happiness, which will go a long way toward supporting long-term recovery.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852519/
  2. https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/learn/wellbeing