One of the biggest challenges faced by a newly sober person is the state of their financial affairs. Gambling, food, alcohol, and drugs all come at a price, and by the time we get into recovery, some of us face a mountain of debt. That is why at Breathe, we proactively put each client on a budget as a way to curb excessive spending during the recovery process.
Every recovering addict needs a plan in place to gauge against relapse. Here is my five-part process to get you started:
Recovery must always come first, for without it we will be ever more likely to fall back in the costly cycle of addiction. Therefore, it’s important to get a ‘sober job,’ one that supports you financially but doesn’t come with a lot of high stress. Sometimes this means you may not be able to return to your previous career right away, but with a positive attitude and a lot of hard work, you’ll be back in the game soon enough.
Invite your support system in. Having you sponsor, a trusted friend or family member by your side as you assess the wreckage of your financial past is crucial to keep from slipping into despair. When the going gets tough, your support is there to remind you to take a break, get some air and throw a prayer up to your HP.
Financial planning seminars offered at low cost or free at community centers are a good way to learn the ABC’s of budgeting and paying down your debt. You have to know where to start to get where you’re going.
Call each one of your creditors individually. Often times, creditors are willing to set up a payment plan or forgo interest on the amount owed in order to recoup a portion of the lost money.
Once you get a clear picture of your situation, create a detailed budget. Use a free template off the internet and just fill in the blanks. Then make sure you stick to it. Here’s where you may want to seriously consider cutting up those credit cards. It may seem like an easy fix when you’re short on cash, but it’s a dangerous way to increase your debt load.
Financial health and recovery can be a long road, but repaying your debt and developing a fiscally responsible lifestyle is the best relapse prevention there is.