When it came to employment, I was not shall we say “the best” employee. I was always late, I was always missing days, deadlines weren’t met budgets didn’t balance, tills were always short, sales were low, I couldn’t answer a phone or take a comprehensible message. I also had a drinking problem and mental health issues which are quite common among those with addictions.
Because I had such low self-esteem about what I was capable of doing, work became a place of fear and to hide that fear alcohol became a necessity. Eventually, as it does, everything came crashing down and I had hit my bottom. I went to detox and treatment and came out sober. Fortunately something clicked and it stuck with me. It’s important to mention I had the support of friends, family, psychological and physical help and two beautiful kids to stay sober for. What I didn’t have was the courage or the know how to get back to work. I had no real skills to offer and I had no idea how to write a resume or present myself in an interview. I didn’t know where to turn, nothing had been spoken about in treatment, nothing about how to carry on after we’re sober.
At a meeting somebody told me about Oasis. I had never heard of their services even though their office was quite literally 5 minutes away from where I was living. I made my appointment and went in for an assessment, they started me in an employment program. They asked me what kind of work I could do and I told them nothing, I’ve never had a real job and have been fired from most of them. They told me that wasn’t true and started to ask me about cooking, cleaning, raising my kids (volunteering at their school, getting them registered for extracurricular programs etc….), paying my bills, grocery shopping, all things I had done for years but didn’t realize were skills I could use in the workforce. My confidence started growing as I found that there were more and more activities in my life that I could transfer into work related skills. I actually was job worthy.
Oasis’s Employment Team supported me through understanding and education about how to enter the workforce confidently. There are other agencies who offer what Oasis does however Oasis is the only organization who offers this to people with addiction and mental health issues. I was comfortable there and was treated with patience and understanding. I wish I had known about them earlier, I think it’s very important in sobriety to feel a sense of responsibility. I believe the Government needs to ensure that treatment centres (whether they’re private, community or government run) are aware of Oasis and their services.
Employment is vital to sobriety, it gives us confidence, self-esteem and motivation, responsibility and self-worth, it kept me accountable and determined to move forward.