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If you’re new to recovery, you're probably eager to jump back into the workforce for the structure and accountability that a job provides. However, looking for a job can take time, particularly for former addicts who are still adjusting to a life of sobriety. Fortunately, there are plenty of fulfilling ways to make a living on your own until you find that perfect job.
Start a Side Gig Helping Others
If you’re looking for fulfilling work, try being a caregiver. Babysitters and elderly caretakers are always in demand. Plus, the flexible hours and low-stress environment make caregiving a great way to re-introduce yourself to work. First, you'll need to learn some basic safety and first-aid practices. Consider getting certified in first aid or CPR so that you can charge more for your services and stand apart from the competition.
Try Pet Sitting
Pet sitting is a rewarding and relatively stress-free side hustle that is easy to come across. People with pets often travel for leisure or work and are always looking for someone to take care of their animals while they're away. You can likely find pet sitting jobs by simply talking to friends and family or posting on social media about your services. But, it's important that you love pets before taking on this type of work. If you don't like being around animals, maybe give this one a pass. You must also be consistently on time for your pet sitting gigs and do everything that the owner asks of you. Remember, pet owners see their animals as family members, so you have to treat them with the utmost love and respect.
Look for Online Jobs
If you like the idea of working from home, take advantage of the digital age and get paid to sit at your computer! Forbes has compiled a list of lucrative online gigs that anyone can do without training. For example, if you love planning and organization, try being a virtual assistant or virtual bridesmaid for weddings. If you have writing or design skills, try freelancing. There are numerous freelancing websites that can help you get started with finding clients. Or, you can set up your own website and search for work on job boards. Online tutoring or teaching English over the web are also wonderful ways to spend your free time helping others and earning money.
Take Advantage of Your Creative Skills
If you can play an instrument, sew, or are otherwise handy with DIY projects, there may be a market for your skills. Teaching music is a side gig that many musicians take on, but you don’t have to be a professional musician to make it work. You can start by offering low-cost music lessons to the children of your friends and family members. Then, ask them to recommend you to other families they know. Just remember, teaching music can be stressful and exhausting so you may not want to make it your full-time job.
If you like to craft, you can try selling on Etsy, an e-commerce website for merchants selling handmade items. Though many people make good money on the site, the success of your shop will depend heavily on the amount of work you put into it and your willingness to learn online marketing techniques. Take a look at Etsy and see what other merchants are selling to get some inspiration or your own crafts.
Be Ready to Handle Job Stress
When you do finally get that job offer and you land yourself a position in a workplace, be cautious of job stress. Workplace stress can actually fuel substance abuse and trigger relapse for people in recovery. The anxiety and depression caused by chronic job stress can lead people to self-medicate with substances. As you head back to work, make sure you use the coping skills you’ve learned through your recovery to navigate stress on the job.
The world can feel like a foreign and unfamiliar place after battling a period of addiction and recovery. Finding a way to spend your time meaningfully while earning the money you need to stay independent and responsible is an important part of reincorporating in society. Don't be afraid to try out a few small side gigs as you search for work you find truly fulfilling. Perhaps you'll even end up making one of these personal ventures your full-time job.