Workplace Culture of Substance Abuse - What Should You Do?



Living in recovery, we are met with tests to our sobriety in may forms, requiring us to lean on our higher power and the principles of the 12 steps of recovery in order to navigate these trials and tribulations. As addicts, we often seek out environments which are enabling or conducive to our continued substance abuse. This applies to our professional lives as well, as many addicts seek a career where heavy drinking or drug use is condoned or even encouraged. Now that you are in sobriety, what should you do about this chosen career path - stay the course or make a change?


One trade which has always been popular with alcoholics and addicts alike is that of hospitality. The serving profession seem to go hand in hand with drinking and drug use, due in part to the stressful work environment, daily cash tips in your pocket, and easy availability of alcohol and other substances within the restaurant. This does not mean you cannot successfully continue on as a server in sobriety, but you should absolutely take precautionary measures in order to protect your sobriety. If you find many of your coworkers are actively abusing substances on the job, in your shared work areas, you should seek a new employer ASAP. Similarly, you should opt to work for a restaurant that does not have an in-house bar, as the daily exposure to both alcohol and intoxicated individuals would be threatening to your sobriety in early recovery. As you can see, taking some common sense precautions can easily enable you to continue in your chosen vocation in the food and beverage industry.


Another job category which seems to be favored by addicts and alcoholics, especially here in South Florida, is that of telemarketing sales.These sales offices vary wildly in terms of scrupules and legitimacy, and of course those in active addiction seek out those with the most lax supervision with the most potential for profit. Just as with the food and beverage industry, simply because you made bad employment choices in the past does not mean you need to depart from this particular profession. However, unlike working in a restaurant, most of the phone sales positions here in South Florida require a certain level of deception in order to thrive financially. In light of this reality, you should strongly consider a career change now that you are living in recovery, so that your career does not undermine your quest to adhere to the principles of your recovery program and the will of your higher power.


It is said that when we get sober, the only thing that must change is everything. This concept certainly should apply to our means of employment, especially if our current employer was an enabling force in our active addiction. This is a case where you must be rigorously honest with yourself regarding the pros and cons of your current job and whether or not it is helpful or harmful to your recovery. Talk with your sponsor, your sober supports, and with your therapist about the realities of the situation, and trust their advice as well as your gut instinct when it comes to this important decision. So long as you strive to seek your higher power’s will in this area of your life, you will achieve a fulfilling and financially supportive career which promotes your continued sobriety and enables your living a happy, joyous, and free life!


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