Addiction and Your Finances
Nothing wreaks havoc on your personal finances like addiction. Purchasing ever-increasing amounts of drugs or alcohol is probably the costliest habit you could develop. While in the throes of addiction, money is a means to an end – going into work each day is an instrument to fund drug use.
For many people, early recovery is a mixture of excitement and fear. In addiction treatment, you learn how to change your thinking, take charge of your day, and control your life. While focusing on all this inner work, it can be easy to overlook the small day-to-day obligations required for financial responsibility. Life skills like budgeting and saving are integral to lasting recovery.
The Importance of Basic Budgeting
Budgeting is the process of constructing a logical plan to spend your paycheck. This ensures that you will always have enough money for your basic needs, as well as for the things you would like to do. Following a spending plan will keep you out of debt and allow you to plan for the future. It also guarantees that you can afford both necessities and nice-to-haves.
By creating and following a budget, you can curb overspending and create a safety net for any unforeseen accidents or expenses.
Money as A Relapse Trigger
Unfortunately, money can be a major relapse trigger for many; either having too much or not enough cash on hand can push someone beyond their limits. The stress of financial struggle can result in someone coping by using again. In contrast, receiving an unexpected windfall – such as a tax return – could tempt one to purchase drugs or alcohol again.
Addiction can cause job loss or demotion, resulting in a disruption of cash flow or even tremendous amounts of debt. While making a budget may have been simple for you before active addiction, after rehab, you may feel you lack the confidence to manage your money wisely. This is why it’s incredibly important to prioritize your financial stability in early recovery. We’ve put together some of our favorite money management tips below. If you have any questions, we encourage you to reach out to our team for assistance. We’re happy to help you in your journey to financial freedom!
Process Addictions and Your Finances
Behavioral addictions – like spending, shopping, and gambling – are very common in early recovery and beyond. As a form of cross-addiction, it’s not unusual for those just leaving rehab for substance use to swap one bad habit for another. If left unchecked, this could seriously impact your ability to maintain a balanced budget.
There are even 12-Step programs for those who feel they have lost control over their spending. If you’re concerned about a shopping addiction, attending Debtors Anonymous meetings or seeking professional treatment could be extremely helpful.
Money Management Tips
- Separate wants from needs. In active addiction, your brain trains itself to pursue instant gratification. This mindset can keep control of you in early recovery unless you decide to push back. Instead of swiping your card for every minor desire, take a beat to reflect on whether you really need to spend that money.
- Avoid credit or debit cards. Speaking of swiping a card, we recommend eliminating that part of the equation entirely. Having instant access to money isn’t for everyone, and it can be especially tempting in early recovery. It’s best to leave your cards with someone you trust, like a sober family member, and to withdraw money from the bank in cash when you need to. This discourages random, impulsive spending.
- Seek affordable alternatives. Sometimes, there are cheaper ways to accomplish your goals. Clip coupons, hunt for bargains, or think of other options for outings. For example, if you want to have dinner with a friend, cook together instead of going to an expensive restaurant.
- Set savings goals. One huge bonus of sobriety is that it’s much, much cheaper than addiction! With that cost removed from your day-to-day life, you’ll be amazed by how much money you can save. If you want to make a larger purchase or take a weekend vacation, start setting aside money for those goals – you won’t regret it.
- Use your resources. There are a wide variety of financial education resources available for free or at a reduced cost. Typically, banks will offer financial planning services, and advocacy services exist to walk you through negotiating with creditors. Segue Recovery’s individualized sober coaching includes budgetary planning and assistance. If you want to gain financial independence, making use of these resources is an excellent first step.
Financial Freedom in Addiction Recovery
Early recovery can be an exciting and challenging time. Ensure that you’re off to a good start by creating a budget and prioritizing financial stability. Reach out to us today at 866-905-4550 if you’d like to learn more. Segue Recovery’s aftercare and sober coaching programs include financial planning services, as well as family support, time management instruction, and career help.