Women In Recovery Use Alumni Groups To Job Hunt

Feb 20, 2024

Women face unique challenges when entering and exiting a substance abuse program. Alumni group aftercare programs for women are essential for their ultimate success in regaining and maintaining sobriety. Not only do these groups offer much-needed female support, but networking within the group can help you find work and get back on your feet financially.

Women In Recovery Use Alumni Groups To Job Hunt


How Is Recovery Different for Women?

As much as we would like to say there is no difference between women and men, that does a disservice to women. Women must understand that their biological differences give them a different recovery experience than men. Some of the physiological differences include:

  • Women do not metabolize drugs and alcohol as quickly as men, meaning women are exposed to higher concentrations of drugs or alcohol for longer periods than men.
  • While men are more likely to get addicted, women scale up their substance use faster than men and experience more physical problems because of it.
  • Women are more likely to get prescriptions for opioid drugs and use them longer than men, while men are more likely to turn to alcohol.

Culturally, women face challenges that are different from men’s:

  • Men who have a substance use disorder are considered weak, while women are considered immoral. This is largely due to the woman’s role as a mother or caregiver. Women face more stigma for their unhealthy habits than men.
  • Women are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol after emotional trauma than men, making trauma therapy a huge part of their recovery.
  • Women are more likely to abuse substances to self-medicate mental health issues.
  • Women are less likely to see treatment due to the stigma and childcare concerns.

How Do Alumni Groups Address Women’s Issues Directly?

  • It can be helpful for women dealing with trauma to be surrounded by other women. They may be unable to talk about sensitive topics with men in the room.
  • A female mentor is more likely to understand women’s problems when reentering the world.

How Do Addiction Alumni Groups Help Women when Job Hunting?

Job Interview Prep: It can be daunting to answer questions about gaps in work history because you’ve been in rehab or criminal history questions if your addiction caused trouble between you and the law. While it is against the law for companies to discriminate against you due to your past, it can happen.

Don’t get discouraged. Renaissance’s Sober Sisters Alumni Group and other alumni organizations designed for women dealing with addiction may have connections to a second-chance job market.

A second-chance job hires people with a criminal or substance abuse past. It’s more a mindset of the employer than a specific job, offering opportunities in many different industries. People in recovery can be among the most enthusiastic and conscientious employees as they recognize the value of work as a part of women’s sober living strategy.

Counseling: Ongoing counseling programs as part of a women’s support group help continue healing from past trauma. Women learn healthier coping mechanisms when under stress, be it while job hunting, during the training phase of a new job, or when problems at work threaten their peace.

Relationships: Starting a new job can be a lonely experience. A woman may be under immense pressure as they deal with parole issues, custody battles, and strained family relationships. The alumni group surrounds you with people who have been where you are. It’s a safe place to talk about the more complex issues and build lasting friendships with people who won’t judge you for the past.

Culture: Addiction thrives in isolation. Weekly meetings, quarterly retreats, and annual events keep you connected to other sober sisters who will encourage and inspire you. You can enjoy sober activities with like-minded people at the end of the day or week and let your hair down in a safe environment.

In addition, sisters who have been sober longer can teach you how to handle stressful situations that might otherwise trigger a relapse. You can hold each other accountable, using peer influence for your benefit rather than your downfall. It also allows you to mentor women as they leave rehab to face a life of sobriety. You can give them hope that lasting sobriety is possible and that they are not alone.

Final Thoughts

Leaving a safe space like a drug and alcohol recovery center can be stressful as you return to your lives, families, and problems. Damaged family relationships need mending, parole requirements must be met, and dealing with child services can be a nightmare. Alumni groups offer continued support after you leave the recovery center. That support is invaluable, offering a reprieve from the hardships caused by your substance abuse. It can also be your greatest tool in moving beyond these issues as you take positive steps toward a better future, one day at a time.