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.