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Job Loss Presents a Unique Danger for People in Recovery

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Job loss was another painful reminder of why my sobriety must be the number one thing in my life.

It’s been a few weeks since I had a theoretical bomb dropped on me. I recently got laid off from my full-time job and my financial stability, my career, and overall sense of security were taken from me. It was unexpected, devastating, and made me question everything. Job loss is just that — a loss. I felt grief, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and defeat. I questioned if I did enough, if it was the job I really wanted, if I deserved that job, and if I’ll ever find another job as good as this one again. Being laid off had me questioning my life, my worth, my value as an employee, and even my sobriety.

Like so many situations in sobriety, job loss can present a unique danger. As a person in recovery who used drinking as a coping mechanism for the majority of my life, being laid off led to me wishing that I could drink. I wished I had the luxury of numbing my emotions for a moment. I wished I could take myself out of living in the moment for a second. Logical, sober me, knows that alcohol wouldn’t make the situation better, only worse. Sober me knew that alcohol might make me forget for a little while, but it wouldn’t make my pain go away.

How can we make it through these ups and downs of life and still stay sober? Here’s what has worked for me over these last few weeks:

Honor Your Feelings

I’ve had a lot of surprising feelings over these past few weeks while I grieve the loss of my job. Some days it’s been hard to get out of bed, other days I feel okay, and other days I feel like I can barely feed myself or exercise. I started getting impatient with myself, thinking I should be over this already and not so upset. But then I remembered, healing is not linear. Healing takes time and grief demands to be felt. It’s important to honor your feelings about any situation in sobriety, but especially job loss. You’re allowed to be mad and sad and feel lost. As soon as I accepted this, the grieving process began.

Use Your Support System

If you’re anything like me, you might feel awkward or guilty reaching out to people in your support system when you’re feeling down. I had people tell me that everyone gets laid off at least once in their lifetime, and although I know these people were trying to help me, it made me feel like I shouldn’t be upset. I have a few friends who have been through similar situations and who I knew wouldn’t judge me and I reached out to them. It was comforting to hear their words, their advice, and to know that I wasn’t alone in my thoughts and feelings. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, especially if you’re thinking about drinking.

Get more tips on staying sober during the stressful and scary time of losing your job in the original article How To Survive Job Loss in Sobriety at The Fix.

Job Loss Presents a Unique Danger for People in Recovery

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APA Reference
Guest Author, P. (2018). Job Loss Presents a Unique Danger for People in Recovery. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 3 Nov 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.