While someone has an addiction, they often only consider money as a priority because it can get them the substance they want so desperately. Other responsibilities that require money are often thrown out the window, along with the skills to manage the money.
After treatment and during the path to recovery, it can be stressful to relearn or learn for the first time how to properly manage money. Stress is a common trigger for relapse, so recovering addicts must properly deal with this by educating themselves on how to learn this life skill after addiction.
Money Problems Lead To Stress
As previously discussed, poor money management can lead to stress. This is directly connected to substance abuse because more often than not, money has been wasted on funding the addiction. Money goes directly to buying drugs or alcohol, causing many addicts to end up jobless, homeless, in debt, and living in poverty.
All of these things can lead to stress, especially debt, as it follows you everywhere and you are constantly reminded of it, even after you restart your life. Stress is a commonplace trigger for relapse. While there are ways to manage and cope with stress, the stress associated with money management will not dissipate until you learn to properly organize your funds.
Getting A New Job? Discuss Money!
While getting a job is a crucial next step in recovery following treatment, recovering addicts should only return to work if they are absolutely sure they are ready. If they are not prepared and require more treatment, any money they make may end up going to fund the addiction again, at the first sign of stress.
That being said, when an individual does return to work when they are ready, they must learn the proper money management skills to have success in their lives. Earning money is a rewarding feeling, but that feeling doesn’t last if the money is not properly handled.
Recovering addicts must learn how to pay off debt, pay their bills, budget, save money, and achieve their financial and employment goals. However, they should not get so focused on earning money that it becomes an obsession. This can cause them to move backward in recovery as they deal with stress related to addiction.
Even if the family does not discuss money openly normally, recovering addicts need people to talk to about money management with people who can help them. They must learn to discuss the subject if they want to have any success in their newfound life of sobriety. These sometimes difficult conversations can help prevent relapse in the long run; thus, they are necessary.
Money Management Tips for Recovering Addicts
Learn The Difference Between Want & Need
It is no secret that the addicted brain constantly seeks what it wants in order to feel instantly gratified and satisfied. This is dangerous when a recovering addict begins earning their own money after treatment, as their brain may desire that same feeling. Fighting back against that feeling can help you manage your money in significant ways. Before buying something, ask yourself, “Do I really need this? Or do I just want it?”
Find Cheaper Options
Coupon clipping isn’t just for those ladies on TV. Finding coupons, seeking out bargains and sales, or simply opting for a cheaper alternative to your more expensive items can help you save money in the long run. Always think of a less expensive alternative to your spending and activities in life.
Set Goals for Saving Money
Set goals for larger purchases or leisure activities for yourself and loved ones every once in a while. When you achieve them, you will feel a sense of accomplishment, purpose, happiness, and relief! Sobriety is a way cheaper lifestyle than that of addiction, and realizing this after treatment is a rewarding feeling as you meet your savings goals.
No Cards If You Can Help It
Recovered addicts and instant money typically do not go hand in hand. While this may not always be the case, the majority of those in early recovery may struggle with using credit and debit cards. Swiping cards and not seeing the actual amount of money in your hands can lead to more impulsive spending. For this reason, it is recommended to withdraw money from the bank and use cash, leaving your cards with a trusted loved one.
There are many financial resources available to you, you just have to find them. Many are available online for free or at a low cost. You can even ask your bank for budgeting and financial planning services when you open your account. Never be embarrassed, as these steps will lead you to financial independence and success in the long run!
More General Tips
- When you find a job, set up a direct deposit option for your paycheck to go directly into your bank account. This will alleviate the temptation of cashing the paycheck instantly and spending it on something you may not necessarily need.
- Stay in contact with your treatment center or sponsor, having them check on you every couple of weeks to ensure you are on track.
- Make and plan a weekly budget and stick to it.
- Envelope method: withdraw money from the bank for budgeted spending and keep it in an envelope. Once the envelope is empty, you cannot spend more until the next payday.
- Keep an inventory of debts, assets, budgeting, and more.
Many people don’t realize that a major stressor following addiction treatment is money. Learning proper management can prevent relapse and set recovering addicts up for financial success in the future. There are many resources that can help individuals learn money management, but there are specific ones for those recovering from addiction. You must learn the difference between a need and a want, try to only use cash, set savings goals, create a budget, and try to find cheaper alternatives to your normal spending habits. Following these tips and others from financial centers can put you on the right track! For more information, contact Northstar Transitions at (303) 558-6400.