Why Recovering Addicts Can Benefit from a Career in Addiction Counseling

addiction counseling

Drug and alcohol abuse is a chronic problem in America–as many as 2.4 million Americans struggle with prescription drug addiction, and 17.6 million abuse alcohol. This addiction and abuse can destroy lives, leading to deaths from overdose, abuse-related illnesses, and deaths from accidents while driving vehicles, boats, or even just from falling. Thankfully, many individuals are able to overcome their addiction and maintain a sober lifestyle over a long period of time. These people work hard to rebuild their lives, their relationships, and careers after giving up substance abuse. Upon completing rehab, many addicts in recovery return to their former professions, but some people choose to move in a different direction with their newfound life. They may be so excited about recovery that they want to incorporate it into all aspects of their lives, or they may feel so inspired by their sobriety that they want to help others achieve sobriety as well. For these people, substance abuse careers may be a good choice.

Substance Abuse Careers

People in recovery may look for alcohol or drug addiction jobs because of their personal experience with substance abuse. Having struggled with addiction allows addicts in recovery to relate to the challenges of overcoming addiction, undergoing detox and withdrawal, and maintaining sobriety. There are a variety of careers related to helping people to overcome addiction; some require degrees and some do not. Here are a few examples of substance abuse careers:

  • Addiction Counselor or Substance Abuse Counselor: works directly with patients to understand the roots of their addiction, reorganize their lives for sober living, and plan ahead for any challenges they may encounter. These counselor work on a team with other counselors and medical professionals to develop treatment plans. They may work at an addiction treatment facility, correctional institutions, or in private practice. Substance abuse counseling does not require a college degree and training is provided on-the-job.
  • Social worker: works with the patient and with the family to make a plan to treat the addiction, cope with the changes that go along with addiction treatment, and to change the home environment to make sober living possible. Social workers may be employed by the state or local government, schools, hospitals, and health care centers. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in social work is required but some positions may require a master’s degree.
  • Recovery coach: works directly with the patient to identify goals for sober living, practice strategies for positive coping mechanisms, and dealing with the mental and emotional issues brought on by substance abuse. They may work in a rehab center or as a private support system for those who can afford it. Recovery coaches may have an educational background in addiction treatment or they may be “self-certified” based on personal experience.
  • Drug addiction and detox specialist: Medical doctors who supervise patients going through the process of detox and withdrawal. They typically work at treatment centers, where they oversee each patient’s detox process and course of treatment.

Careers in addiction counseling can be especially appealing to people who have overcome substance abuse. Addicts in recovery may feel so empowered by their new lifestyle and new choices that they want to share it with others who are just beginning to work toward recovery.  Additionally, working in a substance abuse career can help an addict in recovery stay on track by making his or her whole life about sober living. Since some of these jobs require no specific education, drug addiction careers are possible for anyone committed to helping others maintain a clean and sober lifestyle.

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