If you are struggling financially after you give up alcohol or drugs, it can become a source of suffering. Trying to create a life when you have no money is tough and you could eventually decide that the struggle is just not worth it; lack of money could become a justification to relapse. The reality is that financial problems can always be dealt with and it is just a matter of finding the path that will work for you.
Finding Employment in Recovery
If you have been unemployed due to your addiction problems or you are in employment that is unsuitable, you will probably need to find a job in order to improve your finances. This is often easier said than done if you have an unimpressive record of employment but the reality is that if you just keep on hustling for work, you will eventually find something suitable – it is a numbers game. You may have to start in a job that is less than what you think you deserve, but it can be much easier to find better employment when you already have a job.
Dealing with Debt in Recovery
It is common for those in early recovery to have a great deal of debt. You may have borrowed a lot of money in order to feed your habit and now you could be facing creditors who want this money back. If there is a lot of debt then it can feel insurmountable, but there will be a way to slowly clear it. One option is the snowball method, which involves:
- only paying the minimum monthly repayment for all of your bills
- choosing the bill that is for the least amount and using any spare money you have to begin clearing this
- once the bill for the least amount is cleared, you can then focus all of your spare cash on clearing another one; the fact that you don’t have to make repayments on the bill you have just cleared means you have more money to clear this other debt
- you work your way up your debts by always clearing the lowest one first.
If you do not think the snowball method would work for you then it might be worth speaking to citizen advice or asking about a consolidation loan to clear you debts.
How to Manage Your Money in Recovery
A common reason why many have money problems in recovery is that they do not know how to effectively manage their money. You can avoid this by developing healthy spending habits:
- one of the most effective things you can do to manage your money is to track your spending; just doing this can make you feel more accountable – there are now many apps for doing this that you can use on your smartphone or tablet device
- give yourself a budget for entertainment/hobbies/luxuries and stick to this rigidly
- check your spending to see if there are any unnecessary outgoings (for example, a gym membership you never use)
- if you have debt, consider doing without a couple of luxuries so that you can begin paying this money back
- save about 10 per cent of your income every month
- only use your credit card if you can pay the money back by the end of the month
- avoid spending more money that you make in a month
- look for cheaper options for things – keep an eye out for special deals
- start to become passionate about saving money – understand that having this nest egg can give you more satisfaction (as well as improved sleep) than buying stuff you don’t really need
- there is plenty of free information about money management online, so it is well worth checking this out.