Author Archives: Dharav Shah

Tips on How Recovering Addicts Can Build A Career

rufus pic

One of the most frustrating things about daily life in recovery from drugs or alcohol is that it becomes difficult to get a steady job, even if you desperately need one to pay your bills.  However, one of the benefits of our culture’s reliance on the internet is that there are many ways you can make a living by yourself, using the talents and skills you currently possess.  Here are some ways you can start reaching out online and in your community to make ends meet while you look for a permanent position.

Make sure you are mentally healthy

 In order to find a truly fulfilling way of making a living, you should be in a positive headspace.  This means that while you look for job opportunities, you should also take the time to follow a basic self-care checklist.  A checklist will help ensure that your mental health is as ideal as possible, even as you embark on the challenge of starting your own business.  Remember, the best way to take care of your professional life is to ensure you take care of your internal life first.

 Explore the world of crafts

Your next move will depend on your preferences and abilities.  If you are talented at arts and crafts and would like to start a business creating and selling handmade items, then look into online sites like Etsy, which provide an electronic venue for creative people to share their works.  This doesn’t mean you are limited to crochet or knitting; the market is vast and has enough room for custom shirts, stylized coasters, unique pieces of artwork, and more.  The great thing about online sales is that you are not limited by your past as an addict — all people see is the quality of your handmade creations. 

As you start to build a brand and a name, you may wish to expand.  Many local farmers markets and community gatherings offer booth space for people to share their wares.  This can provide you an opportunity to get to know your community a little better and sell some additional merchandise.  Getting to spend time with other creative people in your area can help foster friendships and develop a rapport, which is a great way to support your mental health and can also lead to a full-time job, should you desire it. 

Teach lessons

If you enjoy interacting with people but prefer to help others develop their own talents, why not teach private lessons?  People are always in the market for musical instrument or art lessons, so even if you have already been selling pieces online, you can supplement that business with teaching.  When you are setting up, be sure to check the going rates in your community and charge accordingly after factoring in your level of experience and training.  This can help develop your sense of self-worth as you watch your students become more skilled at their respective endeavors.  It can also leave a great amount of time for other business ventures, as most lessons last between 30 minutes to an hour and occur once a week.

Establish yourself as a pet or house sitter

Another easy way to supplement your current set of side jobs is by establishing yourself as a trustworthy pet sitter in your community.  This can be easier if you already know people in your area, but it is not difficult at all to spread the news through word of mouth.  Additionally, there are several websites that aggregate pet sitters by their location.  Pet sitting requires that you be good with pets and have enough attention to detail to care for their needs during the duration of their owner’s absence. 

Depending on your current living situation and the preferences of the pets’ owners, you can board pets at your house, make regular visits to their home, or double as a house sitter.  This can be particularly useful because pet and house sitting allow for a large amount of free time, which you can fill with additional side gigs.

Never write off your unique talents and abilities. Depending on where you live, there will usually be a need for people skilled in various creative areas.  All it takes to develop your own fulfilling side gig is determination and persistence. 

Rufus Carter |


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We found these websites & articles interesting. Check them out ….

1)      A wonderful short animation film of 5 mins describing the phenomenon of addiction

2)      We have uploaded our presentation on the impact of the alcohol epidemic and its possible solutions, in a medical college on you-tube. The link is :

3)      WHO, Global status report on alcohol and health 2014; and other useful info compiled by WHO:

4)      A 6 min podcast titled  ‘Alice – reached breaking point’. The wife of an alcohol dependent person describes how she coped with it.

5)      A 17 minutes video introducing the concept of motivational interviewing – how to help a person to increase his motivation for any behavioural change eg. to quit alcohol, to exercise regularly, etc.

6)      A detailed manual for those who would like to start practicing the skill of motivational interviewing:

7)      To read more on craving management techniques, you can check out: )

8)      Marlatt & Gordon have given a model of relapse prevention that is very useful in understanding why relapse takes place and how to prevent it. Its overview:  )

9)      Manual on brief intervention for harmful alcohol use, by WHO:

10)  Psychosocial Interventions for helping people with substance use disorders. Content developed by Centre for Addiction Medicine, NIMHANS.

11)  website of National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, USA

12)  Book: Substance use disorder; Manual for physicians. Published by AIIMS.

13)  Medical students of MGIMS, Sewagram formed a group called ‘White Coat Army’ and did an awareness campaign in the hospital premises during evening hours. A video of one of their awareness talks in Marathi:     (volume gets clear after the 1min mark)

14)  A radio interview on tobacco use in our society & associated problems in Marathi:

Part 1:

Part 2:


Thank you for taking the time to check out our website :-)

While our country is developing economically, this epidemic has the potential to turn it all into vain…

Alcohol consumption has been rapidly rising in the developing countries of the world especially India & China; while traditional markets in Europe are showing declining trends of alcohol consumption.   Alcohol companies are also focusing their attention on these new upcoming potential markets, targetting the youth through various promotional strategies. And they are getting good results – sales of alcohol are increasing by 6 to 8 % every year!

As alcohol is becoming more & more trendy amongst youngsters and as its easy of availability is increasing, the age of initiation of drinking it has been decreasing rapidly. In Kerala, the percentage of drinking population under 21 years has increased from 2 to 18%; and age of initiation has decreased from 19 to 13.5 years in just the past 2 decades!!Similar trends are being seen in all states

Average age of initiation of alcohol use in Kerala

Year 1986 1990 1994 1998 2002 2006
Age (yrs) 19 17 15 14.5 14 13.5

Source:  Johnson J. Edayaranmula, ADIC-INDIA, 2007 Drinking Patterns in Kerala,

Because the bodies and brains of young people, especially teenagers, are still developing; they are more sensitive to the damaging effects of alcohol use. Studies around the world are conclusively underscoring that early alcohol use results in a much higher risk of alcohol dependence and abuse.

In this age of equality, women are catching up too! With drinking alcohol becoming an accepted social norm which even well educated men indulge in, women are also increasingly joining their male counterparts in experimenting with this addiction and are falling prey to it. A recent study in Karnataka reported no major difference between the amounts of alcohol drunk by men or women on any typical drinking occasion.

Paradoxically, centres of higher education are becoming breeding grounds for the spread of substance abuse! Youngsters are going to bigger towns and living in hostels where they are largely unsupervised and the peer pressure to take addictive substances is high. Also a lot of youngsters have a lot of spare money and the result is obvious. Hence it has become imperative that before a child steps in college, parents educate their children thoroughly about the truth of these addictive poisons.

Studies have shown that in countries with growing economies where the purchasing power is increasing, if there is an unregulated alcohol-policy environment, there is a rapid increase in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm. A large proportion of benefits of development gets squandered over alcohol. Lets see what happened in Thailand, which experienced the development boom a few years ahead of us. Historically, alcohol use by Thai people was low. But then around 40 years back, politicians made laws favouring the alcohol industry claiming that it will help the economy (something very similar to what is being witnessed in India now). The result is that, recent surveys show that around one third of their population has started to drink; and 22.7% of the Thai drinkers have alcohol use disorders! The per head alcohol consumption has increased 33 times, from 0.26L in 1961 to 8.47L in 2001; and there is a pronounced rise in the rates of drinking among young women too! Correspondingly there has been an increase in alcohol related harm like deaths from liver diseases, frequency of traffic accidents, family violence, etc.

We need to wake up to this epidemic if we don’t want India to go the Thailand way. Unless we urgently educate youngsters in our families & vicinity and unless we press for better legislative control over the sale of addictive poisons like alcohol & tobacco, a grim future awaits our next generation….