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By WENDY WIECKI
Substance abuse program coordinator 

End the Stigma: Addiction recovery and employment

 

June 9, 2022



One of the most important things a person in addiction recovery can do is to maintain employment. It is very important that they do not isolate and become unproductive.

Employment is one way to provide daily stimulation, structure, and interactions in the world and with others. It helps to keep the mind sharp and allows the individual to engage emotionally with others in a new and healthy way. However, there can be certain obstacles when seeking work. One of the most difficult obstacles is reputation issues. This is especially true in small communities where most people will be aware of the person’s prior troubles with drugs or alcohol. This can be even more difficult if the individual has spent any time in jail or experienced other troubles with the law. However, most people in recovery have found that being open and honest about their experience gets the most results.

Another obstacle can be the time one is required to participate in treatment. When an individual is required to attend an Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program (IOP), this means that 9-19 hours a week is dedicated to treatment. According to the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria, “Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) generally provide 9-19 hours of structured programming per week for adults and 6-19 hours for adolescents, consisting primarily of counseling and education about addiction-related and mental health problems.” This level of care is the highest level of care an individual can receive before being required to go to residential treatment. Working a full-time job and meeting IOP requirements can be difficult to balance, and it can be exhausting. Finding employers that will work with the treatment schedule can often times be very difficult.

Knowing the above obstacles and challenges, I want to give a very special THANK YOU to the employers and businesses in Worland that have employed the individuals that are currently in substance abuse treatment, and those who have worked with the employees to accommodate treatment schedules.

As a provider, we try to adjust schedules as much as we can, but realistically, it is not possible to meet everyone’s needs. That is why the flexibility and support from employers is so important. We have noticed the support of these employers and it is greatly appreciated. Allowing employees to leave in the middle of a shift, attend their treatment group, and then return to work has been a huge asset to the client and their recovery journey. Finding a supportive employer that is willing to lower the barriers to seeking care, receiving care, and maintaining recovery eliminates a great deal of stress for an individual that is trying to turn their life around from what addiction has created.

Communities are essential parts of addiction recovery, so to all of you making these adjustments in your business to accommodate treatment for these individuals, we give a sincere thank you. Your support is recognized, appreciated and vital.

 
 

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