Addiction can take a toll on many aspects of your life, including your physical health, mental state, spiritual well-being, relationships – and your finances. In fact, many people in recovery find themselves struggling financially. This is because addiction clouds your judgement when it comes to money management. You’re thinking about scoring, not saving your pennies. You’ve likely burned through a lot of cash to support your lifestyle during active addiction and may even be struggling with severe debt. What’s more, getting help for a substance use disorder can be expensive – though the cost of not getting treatment is much, much higher.
Unfortunately, addiction and irresponsible spending habits go hand in hand. Even after you’ve entered treatment, you may continue to make irresponsible purchases as a way of feeling better emotionally. While money can become a source of stress during recovery, there are ways to take control so it doesn’t sabotage your hard-won sobriety. Similar to other aspects of addiction treatment, your financial health can be revived with the right strategies and perseverance.
Financial Wellness in Addiction Recovery
Fortunately, financial wellness is a life skill that can be taught in recovery. This includes techniques like saving, budgeting, managing a bank account and tracking spending habits.
For many people in recovery, paydays can be stumbling blocks, notes the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This is why it’s important to plan how to get your paycheck deposited and bills paid without spending it on drugs or alcohol. If money is a trigger for you, it may be wise to arrange for direct deposit and/or entrust a loved one or friend to accompany you when shopping.
Here are a few more tips for managing your finances in recovery and reducing financial insecurity:
- Stick to budget. This basic but fundamental financial skill can help ensure that you pay your bills, repay any debts, and even save a little. Most banks and credit unions offer free financial planning advice or workshops, and there are plenty of apps to help you start a budget. Consider the following in your monthly budget: How much money do you have? How much money do you make? How much money do you owe? How much money do you need to spend (rent, utilities, phone bill, groceries, basic necessities)? Note: If you’re having trouble defining “necessities,” it might help to break it into two categories: physical needs (costs related to food, drink, shelter, sleep, warmth) and safety needs (costs related to security and safety like health insurance).
- Don’t carry credit cards. Carrying credit or debit cards can lead to too much temptation. Do your best to pay with cash, if possible, or go a step further and set up a prepaid debit card designed to help people in recovery with their finances. Ask someone you trust to keep or cancel any credit cards you don’t need.
- Take advantage of direct deposit. This will eliminate the temptation of cashing your check on the spot. As you become more financially stable, you can also set up a portion of your pay to go directly to a savings account.
- Communicate with your loved ones. Even if you’re on your own financially, a support system can make managing your money that much easier.
- Lean on your therapist, counselor or sponsor. Ask them to check in with you on paydays, or work together to come up with some recommendations that could help turn your finances around.
Learning Financial Responsibility at BRC
Rebuilding financial security in addiction recovery takes time, but it is possible when you stick with a budget, avoid impulse spending, and ask for help when you need it. At BRC, we help our clients learn about financial sobriety, financial responsibility, money management and more. To learn about our life skills program, call us today: 866-461-1759.