Friday, October 19, 2012

The Value of Work

I can only imagine what recovery must be like for an addict. I would guess it isn't an internal struggle it must be more like an internal thermonuclear war. Two sides literally fighting for survival. I have a great admiration for any one that has fought that war and won. Way too many are not able to win that war or forever fight skirmishes all their life never feeling even a small taste of freedom.

My observations of my son in recovery extend to all people in general as it relates life. Work is important. Work has been defined as a basic psychological need of humans in general. We all want to feel that we contribute. We must contribute to our family, to others, to society and most of all to ourselves. Work provides purpose. I'm not just talking about punching a clock someplace. Work is what we do to give purpose to our life.

It's not just with addiction, I've seen others suffering from different diseases, they can't wait to get well so they can work. The lack of work is devastating for all peoples. Unemployed, sick, disabled, doesn't matter we all want to contribute.

Especially with addiction I see the destructive power of no work. The old saying I heard from my grandma was, "Idle hands are the devil's playthings" is most appropriate.

Addicts in recovery carry baggage. Many times criminal records, long periods of unemployment, huge unexplained gaps on a resume or application is part of that overwhelming load. For a fact, this makes it hard to get a job and work. I can vouch to that because for over twenty years of my career I have been in human resources and I am that guy that tossed their resume or application aside.

Nothing is going to change over night. All people need work to be healthy. It doesn't matter if a paycheck comes on Friday, work is what we do for our self to be healthy. Work is the reward, money is the byproduct. I don't want anyone to misunderstand the value of compensation, we needs our basic survival needs met but we cannot ignore or diminish the value intrinsic motivation has on our own health.

For myself there has been much professional learning over these past years. I no longer toss aside those resumes and applications (people). But, I do hold all people to the same standards. Recovery is an event or process not an excuse.

I don't have an answer for those in recovery looking to find a job and running into countless brick walls. Nothing in the world is going change over night except you. I don't believe I am unique. There are hiring managers out there that understand what I have come to learn. You just have to dig deeper to find them. Work is a critical part of your recovery, don't allow it be a reason for your relapse.


Anonymous said...

With this economy it is difficult for people who don't have any addiction issues, so now more than ever the addict will have a much harder time finding a job. I know both of my children are having trouble finding a job one with one criminal charge on his record, nothing major, and the other with a perfectly clean record.

I agree work is vital to recovery and I was told that by the experts but finding a job, well it just is not easy for anyone at all these days.

I also don't think that once they have stopped using the war is ever really "won." They fight for their sobriety every single day, many that have been clean for years tell me that. The battle is never over.

Dad and Mom said...

I use "won" as a relative term. I know this is a disease in which there is no cure.

Anonymous said...

Thank god that somebody understands.

Tori said...

B is having a hard time too and I am grateful he is in school and has his music that keeps him busy BUT he needs a job. Not just because it is financially hurting us but he has never really had one and he is going to be 22 soon.

What the heck does he put for his previous work?

Now that he doesn't have drug court he could replace that 15 hours with a job, but employers have their pick right now and sadly he isn't what they are looking for.

Change said...

My duaghter has had to accept a job at a place where they do not drug test..not that SHE couldn't pass it, but it means the place is swarming with addicts working to get a few paychecks so they can use again. I hate that; I hate she is still around people who possibly could influence her in such a negative way. After all, she started using because of the people she was hanging around with. So with recovery they say to get new "clean" friends, stay away from those who use, but when it's sometimes the only job you can find (working with addicts), it sucks. I think ALL employers should drug test.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most profound statements I've read in a long time. I just recently found your blog. I am a mother of 3 young boys and I stay at home with them. This is hard work, but the lack of working for a paycheck and the rewards of accomplishing and interacting with others has been a huge struggle for me. Even though I always dreamed of being a stay at home mom and this is what I want, the "boredom" and lack of motivation due to every day being the same has taken it's toll on me and I am struggling with addiction to prescription pain pills. It started with a back injury, but when I took those pills, the depression went away and I was able to be pleasant, get the laundry done, keep the house clean and enjoy it at the same time. I felt a happiness like never before. Like you've said, the good things come to an end and 1 pill turned to 3 and so forth. Now my whole day revolves around where I can get more pills and what I'm going to do when I run out. I come from a wonderful family who loves me dearly. I am a college graduate with a masters degree and have a great marriage and husband who is so good to me and my children. He has NO idea that I'm addicted to pain pills. I don't know how in the world he hasn't noticed my ups and downs, the many times I'm sick (when I'm going through withdrawals) and has never asked. He couldn't even tell you the name of a pain pill. I get down on my hands and knees and beg the Lord to help me and I feel so defeated daily. This is my dirty secret and I am the only one that knows. I think this started from post partum depression and the struggle of not working and boredom. I'm completely functioning and have never resorted to buying pills from a drug dealer, but the guilt I feel is tremendous when I look at my precious children, yet I just can't stop.
My grandfather worked until he was 80 years old and was in perfect health. As soon as he stopped working, his health declined drastically. This blog post has so much wisdom and I appreciate your collection of thoughts. Best wishes to you and I pray that your son will continue to remain in recovery. I just found your blog today and I haven't been able to stop reading. If you saw me or knew me, you would think I was the perfect housewife with a perfect family and I am living a lie. Before the constant pill usage, I loved spending time with friends, having playdates and people over for dinner. I loved going to church and doing family activities. Now, I have become such so reclusive and the pills are my friend and my social life. I fake it when I have to go somewhere, just enough so we will look normal. I feel that there is no way out and the devil uses my secrecy to keep me in chains. This is the first time I've even written this out. I hope this is a start to give me the strength I need to tell my secret and get help. The thought of being away from my children is devastating to me. I've never been one to ask for help and my pride prevents me from admitting that I am not the "perfect" person I appear to be. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Dad and Mom said...


There is hope. Write me, my e-mail is on the blog. If you need to talk we can exchange phone numbers. There are too many people out there just like you, there is help for you. You don't have to be alone in this.

Be strong. Don't be sad, don't be ashamed.