I think the inherent desire to help others has always been inside me. It’s probably why promoting alcohol and Monster energy drink, selling shoes and vacation packages, and being an administrative assistant were such unsatisfying jobs for me. They didn’t fill me up. I was always discontent with those jobs because I felt like something was missing. I felt like I was meant for more, but I never knew what. It’s true that I didn’t consider myself a writer until I got my first online writing gig for a website called Medical News Today, and even then, I was skeptical. I’m not really a writer. I just got hired to do a job and I’m doing it. That’s what I would say to myself. It wasn’t until I got sober that I was thrust into the arena of helping others, and at times I’ve still felt the struggle to find my career path in life.
It's true when I say sobriety has given me every good thing in my life. And that’s true of jobs as well. Literally every single job I’ve had since getting sober has been related to my recovery in some way. Past and current employers have read my blogs, or seen my Huffington Post article, or see the brand I’ve built online, and many seek me out to contribute to their businesses. Because I decided to start a silly blog in 2014 about my sobriety and because I decided to be honest about my life online, many doors have opened for me. I love that we live in a world where it is now ok to talk about your former drinking and drug use in a real way and instead of losing jobs, or missing out on opportunities, we create more for ourselves. I’ve also had jobs and requests from certain organizations that have wanted to use me for the platform and influence I have, and not for my skills and collaboration. I’ve had to learn to be cautious and truly look into people’s motives.
Along the way, I’ve made some amazing connections and friends in the sober community, many of who are doing incredible things. Most recently, I’ve been contemplating what my next career move is. I’ve always been a person who has worked several jobs at a time to make ends meet. But in the long-term I have always envisioned having one job that I could give all of my heart to. In an ideal situation – a job that would include all of the things I loved – sobriety, social media, marketing, changing the world, and that pays a good living wage. As I’ve navigated the last two years of my life, I’ve become a certified life and recovery coach, worked doing all kinds of things for my CrossFit gym, and of course, was still doing the freelance writing hustle. I began feel desperate for change. What should I do? And how? I wanted to make money to support myself and my family, while continuing to do the things I love. That’s when a job opportunity popped up on my Facebook feed from a friend.
It was a woman I knew, liked, and trust, and she was looking for a Marketing Manager for her business. The description sounded intimidating, but amazing. I had no idea if I would be a right fit, but I decided to apply on a whim. It could be exactly what I’ve been searching for. I sought counsel from my significant other and a few friends who encouraged me to apply. Why not? Of course, you should apply. I applied and I honestly had zero expectations. I had lost my highest paying job, a book deal, and had several rounds of interviews for other jobs that didn’t pan out over the last two years, and at this point I really had nothing to lose and was used to the pain of rejection and loss.
Once I had my interview over Zoom, I knew I really wanted this job. I felt like it was an ideal fit for both sides, but I again didn’t want to get my hopes up for fear of being crushed if it didn’t work out in my favor. I was prepared to wait a week or more to hear back, but it didn’t take longer than a few days. My friend (now turned employer!) offered me the position and I accepted. I am now Head of Marketing for This Naked Mind! If you don’t know Annie Grace or This Naked mind, please check out her stuff here. She is doing amazing work to help people change their relationships with alcohol and I am grateful that I now get to be a part of it, doing exactly what I’ve wanted to do – in an even bigger capacity. I’ve just begun and already feel like I’ve learned so much.
This story (and my entire career path) is a testament to the breakdown of addiction stigma and the evolving landscape of the sober community. Organizations and jobs like this didn’t exist when I got sober and I’m so glad that now they do. I’m grateful that I get to work for an organization where I can use my skills, develop new ones, and be accepted as my authentic self. Most importantly I get to work towards a shared vision of a world where people break free from the shackles of alcohol and live a life of peace and freedom.
After a long period of time of not knowing what was next for me, and worrying about paying the bills, it feels good to step into this new chapter.
My advice to you is don’t give up! Apply to the job you think you can’t get. Research the organizations that you know are doing good things. Don’t settle for low-paying jobs that drain you just because they’re convenient. You deserve more! You deserve to make money and do something that means something to you. Hold out hope that something better will come along, because one day it will.