Addiction can take over a person’s life. It can ruin relationships, cost a person their job, and lose almost everything they have worked hard for. Aside from the ill effects of addiction on one’s physical and mental health, its social effects are equally devastating.
One of the most important things to take care of after rehab is money management. Just like self-awareness, emotions, and spirituality, financial matters are another critical factor in ensuring a successful recovery. Why? Because a lot of people suffering from addiction use their life savings to fund their substance abuse condition. They spend it on substances as soon as they receive money until they find themselves homeless, experiencing poverty, and in deep debt.
There are also people who are not going through financial ruin but start to associate spending money with a sense of rush or high. This can make money a powerful trigger or can make spending on unnecessary things a replacement addiction.
For these reasons, it is essential that money management is understood fully as another threat to an individual’s quest for sobriety.
Financial Issues and Relapse
Managing money is an important life skill that people recovering from addiction may not have learned or have forgotten during their active addiction. Contrary to popular belief, there is a connection between substance abuse and poor money management. It leads to debt, and debt causes stress. If a person is stressed, they experience feelings of hopelessness and the lack of ability to change the situation. This situation leads people to turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with everything. The feeling is no different from losing hope due to the difficulty to find work or having trouble with paying for one’s needs.
Like other relapse triggers, it is important to understand the triggers to avoid relapse. Thus, it is necessary to teach and reinforce a person recovering from addiction, some lifelong money management skills and techniques. These can include tracking one’s spending, budgeting, saving money, and having bank accounts for several purposes. This financial literacy is a key to steering individuals to cope with possible triggers and to help them stay on the right path early in their recovery.
Money Management Tips for People in Recovery
People recovering from addiction need all the help they can get when it comes to managing their finances at the start of their recovery efforts. It will be very beneficial for them to have a person who will set a limit on the amount of money they can have access to. This is especially true if money has been a trigger of their addiction in the past.
Thus, it is in their best interest to place their paycheck and other income in the care of a person they trust the most. This is usually their mothers, partner in life, and other trustworthy individuals. Obviously, this trusted person should not be suffering from addiction.
Since most things do not last a lifetime, it is critical that the person himself learns how to manage their own money. They should be equipped with money management skills, so they can slowly regain financial responsibility. Some of the most useful tips to achieve successful money management include:
- Making an inventory of all assets and debts. Listing down what a person has and how much they still owe gives them a clear picture of their financial standing.
- Learn how to separate needs and wants. You do not necessarily need all the things you want. Get only the essentials and let go of all others.
- Create a budget that includes needs, debt payment, building an emergency fund, and costs for some wants. The latter does not have to be expensive. It is enough that you do not feel totally deprived.
- Store money wisely. Making your money accessible all the time makes it susceptible to spending. You can open an account with the bank across the town or opt for an account that has no debit card or ATM access.
- Make use of available resources. There are a lot of free financial planning services which you can take advantage of. There are also seminars that equip you with the knowledge on how to negotiate with creditors to come up with a win-win payback plan or how to declare bankruptcy.
- The envelope method never gets old. Frequently using the ATM card makes one feel like their resources are unlimited. In the envelope method, people are encouraged to withdraw all of their income for a certain period, budget them accordingly, and place each amount in an envelope representing the expenses. Once the budget placed in the envelope has been exhausted, this means you do not have to spend more.
- Maintaining a close relationship with a recovery sponsor means having an accountability partner to help you with all aspects of recovery. This includes one’s finances. Have that person check on you every payday to avoid mindless spending.
Setting and keeping savings goals. You can set up automatic transfers to a separate savings account to make sure you do not bleed dry when things and finances get tough.