Tips on How Recovering Addicts Can Build A Career

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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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