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Emphasizing the 'work' in recovery work

February 2, 2010
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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A CeDAR workshop responds to clients’ need for vocational assistance

A professed 12-Step enthusiast, Lorie Obernauer, PhD, still believes strongly that clients need more than the Steps alone to achieve a lasting recovery. In a move that equally reflects a long-unmet need in treatment programs and the perils of today’s job market, the alumni liaison at the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation (CeDAR) at the University of Colorado Hospital is organizing the center’s first-ever alumni workshop on job search strategies.

“Are You Ready to Work?” will be held on Feb. 18 and will be open to all CeDAR program alumni, although Obernauer expects a few non-alumni might attend also. The two-hour morning workshop will be conducted by a representative of the state Department of Employment and Labor who will have some familiarity with his audience, since he once worked in an addiction treatment organization.

Obernauer says that in her regular meetings with CeDAR patients as they approach the end of their treatment stay, she constantly hears of job-related concerns, especially among the younger patients. “They either don’t have jobs or they’ve left one job after another,” she says.

Topics covered in the session will range from marketing oneself to tapping hidden markets. Obernauer says attendees will become familiar with possible retraining opportunities, and will be informed about the availability of education and retraining monies.

She adds that the workshop will differ from other alumni presentations in an important respect: While CeDAR customarily charges a modest fee for the workshops, it is making this one available free of charge to job seekers. “It made more sense for this one to be free,” Obernauer says.

Already the organization is organizing a second workshop for later this year, to explore stresses and relapse triggers that recovering people experience while in the workplace. Obernauer expects about two dozen attendees for CeDAR’s first job-related alumni workshop this month.