Once someone leaves rehab and lands their first job, most people assume they’ll be happy and fulfilled. However, for most recovering addicts, the reality is a bit different. For starters, many face stigma and criticism. They also have trouble reentering the workforce and navigating triggers at work. So if you or a loved one is having difficulty finding purpose and meaning in work during addiction recovery, here are some tactics to consider. 

Identify What Motivates You

Finding purpose and meaning in work during recovery is about understanding what motivates you to push forward. But this can be surprisingly complex, especially when facing the uncertainty of addiction recovery. 

Here are some examples of motivators:

  • Material gain – you seek wealth, possessions, and a high standard of living. 
  • Power or influence – you feel more secure by leading.
  • Accomplishments – you want to excel in a specific area. 
  • Autonomy – you thrive when you feel you’re the master of your destiny.
  • Security – you want to create a predictable future. 
  • Status – you want to be recognized by others. 

To identify your motivators, ask yourself these questions: what energizes you? What’s the one thing that makes you show up in your life? What do you yearn for? What matters to you the most? Analyze these questions and try to pinpoint the motivator behind what fuels you. Then, apply that same motivator to your work life. 

Knowing what motivates you can also help in relapse prevention. Next time you identify a relapse trigger, tap into your motivation to find your way back and avoid an episode.

Set Goals for the Future

Setting achievable goals is a tried-and-true recipe for success in any area of life. To set addiction recovery goals, try the following:

  • Analyze your overall goals. Do you want to be happy? A better person? Be able to gain new professional skills?
  • Determine what specific areas you wish to improve in. Physical health? Mental health? Personal growth?
  • Identify which of these goals would better improve your overall health.
  • Determine how realistic the goals you find the most important.

Explore Different Career Paths 

Recovering from drug or alcohol addiction is a long-term process. But, consider this an opportunity to reassess what you thought your life should be. Exploring alternative career paths may be an excellent way to refresh your goals and give you something to work towards. If you ever want to explore a new career path, seek opportunities in that field that might help you find new meaning and purpose. 

Find Work That Aligns With Your Values

Finding purpose and meaning in something you hate is very challenging. When looking for new open positions, consider whether or not the company’s values align with your new-found values. Being part of something bigger than yourself will help you feel motivated and fulfilled. Usually, not-for-profit companies have excellent roles that can align with great causes and values to follow. 

Seek a Supportive and Inclusive Workplace

Nowadays, many companies are embracing inclusivity and providing employees with a more supportive environment. Some companies commit to being inclusive, and that includes hiring recovering addicts. They will give you the support and motivation you need to continue your recovery process, and you will likely find meaning and purpose in working with such a diverse group of people. 

Enroll in Volunteering Opportunities

Of course, you can’t always find the ideal work environment that perfectly aligns with your values and keeps you motivated. Achieving a work-life balance in recovery is also about what you do outside work hours. 

For example, you can find purpose in life through volunteering. Volunteering reduces stress, increases positive feelings, improves relationships, and helps you find a sense of purpose. So, whether through your company or yourself, seek volunteering opportunities to maintain drive and meaning in your life. 

Achieving Work-Life Balance in Recovery Is Critical for Long-Lasting Sobriety

Finding purpose in life and addiction recovery is a deeply personal journey everyone must go through to stay sober. Work is a significant part of life and a source of daily structure for many, so it’s natural to want to integrate our purpose into it.

Keep exploring yourself and getting acquainted with the sober version of yourself. Participation in group support meetings can help you learn new ways to reconnect with your work. Talk to your therapist or addiction counselor about your struggles and challenges in finding a new purpose in your life. 

Finding purpose in life can be difficult. However, having a defined reason and motivation to continue showing up is essential. Whether that’s your family or your legacy, the purpose will always steer you in the right direction.