Advice for Living Sober in Chicago | Stairway to Freedom

Steps for Finding Employment After Rehab

You’ve taken the first giant step and completed rehab to get your life back on track, but now that it’s back to the real world what do you do now? To succeed with a clean life after rehab, it’s important to get back into a normal routine.

Gaining a sense of normalcy all starts with finding a new job and while that might sound like an impossible task, there are plenty of job opportunities for recovering addicts.

Get your job search started on the right foot with these steps for finding employment after rehab.

Continue reading below…

Finding Employment After Rehab


Utilize Your Resources
You are not alone in finding employment after addiction, there are always people and services around to help guide you through the process.

Check with your local recovery center and ask about their employment resources. Many centers host workshops, and provide job posting lists to help you further your education and network with other working professionals who were in the same place once. You can also find many free podcasts and videos that talk through getting back into the workforce.

Adjust Expectations
Jobs for recovering addicts might not come easily, but it’s not impossible. You’ll need to go into the process with realistic expectations and a set of attainable goals, that might look different than what you were capable of before rehab.

Don’t get caught up in what you were qualified to do before, and consider this a fresh start. Staying open to the idea of starting from the bottom and working your way up will heighten your odds of finding employment after rehab. Any job is only as good as you make it, and with hard work and dedication, even the lowest level jobs can turn into a great career.

Don’t Feel Pressured to Overshare

It’s important to be honest when looking for a job after rehab, but don’t feel like you have to lead an interview trying to explain every detail of your addiction recovery journey. If you have a criminal past then you’ll need to divulge those details from the start, but other than that you are not legally obligated to discuss your history with addiction.

How much you choose to share is completely up to you. Whether it’s sharing everything so you can go in and be completely yourself, or being discreet with the hope of starting with a clean slate, there’s no wrong way to go about discussing your past.

Avoid High Stress Jobs
You might think you have your sobriety completely under control, but you would be surprised how things can spiral in stressful situations. While maybe you used to be able to handle a stressful work environment, remember there’s now more on your plate than ever before.

Research the work environment, and thoroughly read through all job expectations before agreeing to move forward. It’s best to aim for jobs that have set hours so can effectively manage both work and recovery.

Stay Focused on Recovery
Isolating yourself, and internalizing the pressure will only heighten the stress that comes with trying to juggle sobriety and work life.

While it’s important to find a job that provides a steady source of income, sobriety should always be a constant priority. Don’t use a job search, or work obligations as an excuse to miss meetings, or neglect the necessary recovery steps.

Whenever you need a helping hand, or someone to talk to, remember that your Stairway to Freedom Chicago sober living community is always here to help. Contact us now to learn more about our housing facilities, and the way we help recovering addicts stay clean after rehab.

3 Tips to Conquer Holiday Work Events as a Recovering Alcoholic

Holiday Work Events as a Recovering Alcoholic

While many look forward to holiday parties and end of the year celebrations, this time of year can be extremely stressful if you’re a recovering alcoholic. It can be difficult to integrate back into social events and holidays amplify your challenge to stay sober with open bars and alcohol everywhere you look. You know that staying sober takes effort, patience, and skills to combat difficult situations. So preparation is going to be key as you embark on this holiday season. These tips can help you avoid relapse and come out on the other side even stronger.

Should You Go?

Initially, recovering alcoholics may find themselves asking if they should even go to the holiday work event. At first it may seem that just avoiding the awkward moments, social anxiety, and chance of embarrassment all together is enough reason to make up an excuse not to go. However, more often than not, isolating oneself increases your potential to feel depressed and lonely, which often triggers the desire to drink. Now, you may be thinking, “but what if my coworkers also have the tendency to make me feel just as isolated and depressed?” Below you will find some tips to overcome these social difficulties. However, ultimately consulting with your Stairway to Freedom counselor will help you decide what the right choice is for you at this time. But keep in mind that every day you succeed without alcohol, you get stronger, and the confidence to simply get your foot in the door will carry you another step further from the depths of addiction. If you’re ready for this next challenge in your on-going journey of recovery, these tools can help you conquer the holiday evening.

Work Event Tips for Recovering Alcoholics

Coworkers and newer friends may not know that you are recovering. What is nice about this is you have a clean slate. No one looking over your shoulder and judging your choices. No one is questioning how you’re managing and functioning. No one is making awkward comments about alcohol being “bad anyways” and they should “probably quit too.” You avoid all these awkward stressors, but are confronted with the unfortunate task of how to respond when someone asks to get you a refill or how to not pull attention to your lack of alcohol without going down a personal path you don’t want to talk about.


If you can, bring your own drink to the party, or if there’s a bartender, get to the event a little early and talk to that bartender. You don’t have to tell them your life story, but some interaction to get to know them will help that server remember your face and your drink. Ease into the conversation a question about what types of mocktails the bar could concoct up for you for the evening or introduce them to one of your favorite recipes. Bartenders are usually excited to mix it up and this is an easy creative task that will leave you feeling at ease as you approach the bar throughout the night and able to hold a drink in your hand without discomfort.

Prepared Answers

One of the biggest stressors at a holiday party is knowing how to manage the bits of peer pressure and what to say when someone asks you what you’re drinking. Having answers prepared will help you sail through these otherwise awkward moments with ease.

What are you drinking?
This common question can raise your anxiety, but a plan to answer will get you through it. Let them know it’s a specialty mocktail the bartender agreed to make for you since you are watching your sugar intake. The other person may joke that they should be watching their sugar too, but the reality is they are not going to start tonight and will most likely leave the drink alone. This can also seamlessly lead to other dietary conversations outside of drinks that will quickly get you out of the beverage discussion.

Can I get you a refill?
If someone asks to get you a drink, tell them you were actually on your way over there already or you are on your way to the bathroom and will grab it on the way back. This will help you dodge any further drink questions, get you out of the situation and allow you to go up to the bar and order your mocktail yourself.

Come on, celebrate with us, will you take a shot?
There’s always that one at the party who gathers a bunch together and pushes for a group shot. Keep in mind that though there is a lot of build up in this situation, the actual shot takes seconds and you are certainly not missing out on anything. Bow out of this quick situation with an easy excuse to have to be up early the next morning and find new people to talk to for the night.

Have an Excuse to Leave

It’s important to always have a couple excuses up your sleeve to quickly leave if you get uncomfortable or if you still have a curfew to meet with your chicago sober living community. An excuse to check your phone (like you’re waiting on a call/text) will give you the opportunity to connect with a support group or fellow Stairway to Freedom members as needed throughout the night to provide that extra encouragement to conquer any challenges. It will be helpful to also have an excuse to leave the event early.

You don’t have to spend the entire night at the party, give yourself a timeline that makes sense for you and stick to it. Set an alarm on your phone and let them know you have to go take the dog out, pick up a kid, get to the pharmacy before it closes..etc. Essentially just give yourself an easy out.

Discuss and share these holiday work event tips for recovering alcoholics with your friends and Chicago sober living community. Talking through any anxiety and preparing for any challenges that may arise will help get you ready to take this next step toward a sense of normalcy. Mocktails, rehearsed answers, and an easy out will provide you with little tools to triumph through the night. Take each moment one at a time and remember that your Stairway to Freedom Chicago sober living community is always a text away and will be ready to celebrate your return from the night sober and stronger.

Illinois Marijuana Legalization: An Emerging Threat

The Impact of Illinois Marijuana Legalization

Sober living is difficult enough on its own, but when communities introduce new, easily accessible temptations it becomes even more challenging for those suffering from addiction. 

Illinois was the latest state to join the craze in permitting the recreational use of marijuana, when it was announced that starting in January the buying and selling of cannabis and cannabis products will be legalized. Illinois is the 11th state in the US to allow recreational use of pot, however they are the first to legalize it through state legislature, not ballot initiatives.

While it’s been a few months since the decision to legalize marijuana in Illinois, the state legislature has stayed anxious in their pursuit to monetize the booming industry. They have put immense pressure on the FDA to start regulating the manufacturing and marketing of the emerging market. Every business in the Illinois area has January 1st circled on their calendars, as they have seen what the cannabis industry has done to other US markets.

Illinois’ Who’s Who in Legal Marijuana

Cresco Labs, a medical marijuana company with multi dispensary licenses, is launching their new brand, Sunnyside, in the upcoming months. Cresco projects to transform their medical brand into a recreational, health and well-mindedness one, similar to the nationwide chain Wholefoods. The first Sunnyside opening will take place in Philadelphia in November. Illinois is one of the 7 states that plans to eventually adopt one too. Sunnyside plans to turn their 5 existing Illinois medical dispensaries into dual-use stores, and to open five new shops scattered across the state’s vibrant areas.

The growing accessibility of cannabis is something that will likely prove to be more harmful than beneficial. Marijuana has become more dangerous in recent years due to the increase in its concentration and potency. THC content in pot has increased as much as 300% since the 1960s, which has largely affected the number of people that become dependant on it and abuse it. Marijuana holds the second highest rate after cocaine for emergency room visits caused by substance abuse.

The larger issue at hand however is how this will impact those already suffering from alcohol and drug addiction. 

Illinois Marijuana LegalizationUrban Poison: Problems with Legal Cannabis

The information shared above may surprise a lot of people. Studies have shown, however, that the two are connected in more ways than not. This may lead regular users to newfound addictions and even mental disorders.

While only 1 out of every 10 marijuana users become addicted to the drug, when narrowing it down to just adolescent smokers, the number jumps to 6. Furthermore, concluded from a March study performed by the Lancet medical journal, daily marijuana use increases the likelihood to develop psychotic disorders. Additionally, heavy cannabis users are undoubtedly more prone to memory loss, and developing false memories.

Unfortunately, the road to sobriety only gets more difficult when smoking on the daily becomes a habit. When a consistent cannabis user decides to take a lengthy smoke break, ripple effects are possible. These include depression, anxiety, insomnia and even a loss of appetite.

Illinois adopting a recreational use of marijuana policy will undoubtedly increase the number of daily marijuana users. It could potentially increase the number of marijuana addicts as well. If your addictive habits become harder to break, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is a solution for you. Stairway Sober Living is here to assist you on your road to recovery. We are eager to help you get back on track.

Are you (or a loved one) suffering from addiction? Worried about the impact that pending marijuana legalization in Illinois will have on your or another’s sobriety?

Identifying your Addictive Personality

Addictive PersonalityWhat is an addictive personality?

What are signs of the signs and do you have it? These are the important questions to answer when beginning on the road to recovery.

The road to sobriety is lengthy and requires many steps. First, it’s important to recognize your weaknesses, and pinpoint when and how the addiction began. Unfortunately, an issue regarding addictions is that once becoming addicted to one substance, it is likely that another one will follow. Therefore, in order to win your battle against the addiction, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the research on addictive personalities, and its causes and symptoms.

What is an Addictive Personality?

While there is no exact definition for an addictive personality, medical professionals have established different criteria to help answer this question. Michael Weaver, a medical director at the University of Texas, writes that the majority of addictive personalities stem from a combination of one’s genetic makeup, the environment in which they reside and their past addiction history.

Another school of thought, is an addictive personality is the excessive need to perform a particular action constantly, which alters a person’s mind and makes their day-to-day life much more difficult without it.

Signs of an Addictive Personality

Mark Griffiths, a PHD behavioral addiction professor, classified a few different symptoms relating to having an addiction. Griffiths said that:

  1. If the action of addiction conflicts with other relationships and activities. 
  2. If one has withdrawal symptoms when away from the addiction.
  3. If there’s a gradual increase in tolerance of the substance.
  4. If use of the behavior in question alters their mood.

Griffiths believes that these 4 scenarios are calling cards for assistance regarding a person’s current and growing addiction.

Other signs of an addict include:

  1. Constant lying about their medications and behavior.
  2. Claiming the actions or substances are healthy and necessary.
  3. The behavior soothes discomforting situations.
  4. Feelings of guilt are experienced after indulging in the action or behavior.
  5. An inability to stop and in following guidelines that you have set for yourself.

Do you have an Addictive Personality?

Luckily, there are many resources available to help everyone answer this question. Some clues could be:

  1. Genetics.
  2. Prior addictions.
  3. Certain personality traits, having lots of excitement, impulsivity, an inability to quit.
  4. Other mental disorders, ie. depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, PTSD, anxiety.
  5. High levels of dopamine.

Additionally, there are various quizzes on the web that help people self-diagnose themselves. If interested, here is one short examination that can help you in your road to recovery. 

The Next Step:

If you find yourself stuck in an addiction, you shouldn’t feel alone or afraid. Almost 21 million Americans are addicted to at least one commodity, however only 10% of them receive treatment for it. “The important thing to remember is that your personality doesn’t determine your fate” Michael Weaver says, “You can get help and lead a successful, productive life.” “The first step”, Weaver builds on, “is acknowledging the potential problem and asking yourself whether you have an addictive personality.” 

Asking for help isn’t something to be ashamed of, in fact, it’s a necessity of life. Luckily for the people of Chicago, Stairway 2 Freedom Sober Living is the place to inquire. We are established in helping people pass over their hurdles, and assist them in moving forward. Don’t let an addiction take over your life, let it become an obstacle of the past.

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