Getting sober may require assessment and repairing of everything from your interpersonal relationships to your physical health to your professional reputation. That said, you also may need to assess and repair your bank account- or lack thereof.
During one’s addiction, it’s not uncommon to squander, panhandle, manipulate, lie, steal, and “hustle” to obtain money. It’s also not unusual for those hard-earned funds to disappear- just as quickly as the substances disappeared.
It’s no surprise that residual financial issues can impact one’s recovery, but if one chooses to ignore them, serious consequences can occur. Let’s get to how you can start the road towards financial well-being.
#1: Face The Financial Music
It’s easy to live blissfully in denial. It’s easy to keep using your credit cards and refuse to open the mail and pretend like you’ve got this. By now, you’ve learned that recovery isn’t about choosing the way, and this is a perfect opportunity to put your knowledge into practice.It’s time to face reality and accept your situation. That means assessing what happened and committing to what you’re going to do next.
Stop wasting your energy on wallowing in what happened. The path of should-haves is only filled with misery- not with viable solutions.
#2: Take An Honest and Thorough Inventory
If you work a 12-Step program, then you understand the nuances behind this painstaking step. Even if you don’t, an inventory will help you establish exactly what problems you face, what resources you have, and what solutions you need to utilize.
Start by answering the following questions:
- How much income do I take home each pay period?
- What is my current net worth?
- What other debts do I have?
- What is my credit score?
- How much do I spend each month?
When you start this process, you may not know any of these answers. That’s why it’s so essential that you do this work! Being a healthy and responsible adult means taking care of your financial well-being. Increasing your control in this area will increase your happiness in many other areas of your life as well.
Tip #3: Create One Realistic Goal
After accepting your financial reality and completing your inventory, it’s time to making your money work for you!
Start by defining one obtainable goal that appeals to you. Maybe it’s getting $1000 in your savings account. Perhaps it’s increasing your credit score by 50 points. Or maybe it’s committing to writing down everything you buy to create a budget.
Goals keep us organized and focused. Choose a deadline and draft out the actionable steps you will take to achieve the goal. Write it down and post it in a visible location. Hold yourself accountable!
Tip #4: Follow A System
Managing bills, checking account balances, and paying off debts can be a time-consuming process. However, there are strategies to expedite your work.
Commit to creating a streamlined process. Technology makes it incredibly easy to set automated bill payments. Smartphone apps like Mint or Personal Capital allow you to seamlessly connect your bank and credit card accounts to view budgeting and savings trends.
Devote a set time and date every week to review your financial affairs. You’ll cut down on excess worrying- and everything will get paid on time!
Tip #5: Plan For The Future
People in recovery from addiction often struggle with their finances because they struggle with the abstract concept of considering their future self. Think about it. Were you thinking beyond today when you were actively using? Were you really considering where your money would go in a month- much less a few years or decades?
That said, you don’t need to live in such a survival stance anymore. You’re not just living for the day-to-day. You’re living for both your current and future self.
Remember that planning for the future and creating a safety net can actually help you enjoy the present moment even more! You won’t have to worry about a small emergency jeopardizing your entire well-being.
Start small. Set aside as much as you can into savings. You don’t need to have a specific goal yet- that’s for your future self to worry about!