Work-Life After Addiction

How to Get Back on the Work Horse


Addiction takes its toll in many ways. Besides physical and emotional dependence on alcohol and substances, an addict in recovery also needs to recover in other areas of life. This means rebuilding broken relationships, re-establishing trust with your community and regaining employment. As you search for that first job opportunity, these side jobs can help you can make ends meet.

Online Seller

If you have a penchant for thrift shopping and scoring good deals, try becoming a reseller on Amazon or eBay. Some sellers get into the resale business by selling off their own things. Eventually new inventory might come in through wholesale suppliers or discount stores. Purchasing bulk items at a lower price allows the seller to flip those items for a profit online. You can sell high value or name brand items sitting around in your closet on re-commerce sites such as Poshmark, Tradesy, Depop and The RealReal.

Another option is to sell your art, crafts and handmade items on Etsy, where you can also sell vintage items. Take photos under good lighting and use the right tags, and you’ll be on your way to sales in no time. When setting your prices, remember to consider your hourly rate as well as a profit from the sale, and don’t forget to subtract the cost of materials and fees.


Pet Sitter

Animal lovers, wouldn’t it be a dream come true to get paid to play with animals? Many busy or disabled people hire dog walkers and pet sitters to walk their dogs and feed their cats. You might get hired to drop-in for a feeding once or twice a day, a 20-minute walk in the afternoon, or an overnight stay with a client’s dog. Clients who consistently work long hours might need your services on a regular basis, which is great for business. As a pet sitter, you have the ability to set your own rates and choose your furry/scaly clients after meeting them.


Musicians can make money playing gigs or teaching music lessons. Bar gigs don’t pay as well as weddings or corporate events, so get a band together and learn the most popular cover songs. Post your services as an entertainment vendor on wedding websites. Reach out to wedding and event planners to become a preferred vendor. Some musicians can also find weekend morning work playing church gigs or at ambient brunch spots.

Perhaps you’re more of a teacher than a performer. If you’re skilled at music theory and technique, you can try your hand at musical instrument instruction. Sign up to teach for a local school, or advertise for private one-on-one lessons.  You could make $50 or more per hour teaching music lessons to students. Teaching the same students weekly provides consistent workflow.


Freelancing is a broad term that encompasses a variety of roles, but the most common ones are in creative fields that most companies don’t usually keep on staff full-time. Writers, graphic designers, web developers, and digital marketers can all work remotely as freelancers. The client hires them for a project or campaign, and they execute the project by a specified deadline. Even some customer service and virtual assistant jobs are outsourced to freelancers.


Freelance consultants can find jobs on Upwork, which connects companies to contract employees for temporary gigs. The sites allow users to upload portfolios; take proficiency tests to display competency; leave reviews; find and post work; bid and hire and invoice and pay. Workers can schedule flexible hours and set their own rates based on what competitors are offering. Much of the control is in your hands, but you have to work hard at building your profile and keeping customers happy.

Making it all balance out

Looking for work is a full-time job on its own, but the bills won’t pay for themselves. There are many fulfilling ways to make extra cash when you’re in a job transition or trying to find your way. Whether you’re in sober living or at home, you don’t have to sit around idly waiting for your new career to begin. A side job or two could be exactly what you need to get the gears in motion.

Meet the Author, Rufus Carter

Hi! I’m Rufus. I’m 47 and I have been in recovery for 9 years. I’ve been working as a personal trainer for the past 6 years. My first 3 years of recovery, I felt a little lost and like I was just getting by. I discovered my personal passion and career calling when I decided to focus on my physical health and also became a personal trainer for others who want to grow in strength and health.

Finding a meaningful way to live your life is essential when you’re in recovery – I’m living proof of that! My passion is to provide resources for anyone in recovery who is trying to choose their career path. There are many careers that can cultivate your unique skills.

It is my goal to make your professional journey go smoothly, for you to feel supported, to feel excited to walk into an interview and crush it. Know that rather than stop us from achieving our goals our experiences set us apart from other people. Take pride in yourself!

You can find me at