Substance abuse wreaks havoc on the lives of addicts. In addition to harming their physical health and destroying their relationships, addiction also impacts its victims in another detrimental way: financially. Here’s a closer look at the issue, along with how people who are on the road to recovery can begin to regain control of their finances.
A Road to Ruin
Addicts are consumed with thoughts of when and how they’ll get their next fix. They’ll do anything and everything to get it — regardless of the collateral damage. Recovering meth addict David Parnell told Creditcards.com of his own experiences, “During my addiction, I took out numerous ‘quick cash’ loans, high-interest loans and pawned the title to my vehicle. My credit was destroyed.”
With no credit and no income, Parnell could no longer care for his family. After stress and depression led him to attempt suicide, he was faced with even more financial challenges. “When I left the hospital we did not even have a vehicle because the title loan place had repossessed it. We would have been homeless if my mother had not let us live in her old farmhouse. The financial hardships hang with an addict,” he continued.
While all forms of addiction can lead to financial problems, meth, crack, painkillers, heroin, and alcohol are most associated with debt. Because they offer an intense high but dissipate quickly, they leave addicts desperate for more, any way they can get it. While the costs may say seem minor at the time, they add up incrementally. Factor in everything from payday loans to legal fines, and the debt can pile on.
Recovery, But Now What?
Attaining sobriety is a huge accomplishment for substance abusers. However, they don’t walk away footloose and fancy-free. In addition to having to continue to be vigilant against relapse while working on rebuilding their relationships, they’re also returning to low credit ratings, debt, and other financial burdens.
For some, bankruptcy is a solution which can alleviate some of the stress of financial hardship. But it’s not always appropriate or adequate. For those looking to truly move forward with their lives, repaying debt is consistent with the “making amends” element involved in recovery. In some cases, this means slowly but steadily chipping away at debt. While this may take longer, it can be a fulfilling part of the process.
This also means taking an honest look at where you stand financially. This can be discouraging, but it’s also necessary to assess what you need to do to become financially stable. Getting a reliable job, creating a budget, differentiating between needs and wants, starting to save for the future, and learning basic money management skills can help support smart money choices. This will also help you grow in confidence, which further safeguards your sobriety. At the same time, it’s also critical to remain alert to relapse signs.
Recovery Comes First
Explains David Sack, MD for PsychCentral, “Whatever your financial status and goals, your recovery must come first. As life gets busier and more stressful, check in with how you’re feeling day to day. There are various apps and programs that can help you monitor your moods and warn of an impending slip. In particularly stressful times, bulk up your support by attending additional meetings or calling a friend or sponsor.”
One last thing to keep in mind? Whatever the scenario, sobriety is the first step. Business and bankruptcy attorney Michael J. Duffy told Creditcards.com. “[After the recovery program is complete] we may then recommend moving forward with a bankruptcy or other debt relief as might be appropriate. The client is then able to begin to rebuild their life, their credit and look toward a brighter future.”
“Try to not worry about the finances — get well and healthy. As the time comes when you’re getting over the cravings you can deal with the debts. Later you can think of your business end and get yourself back in financial shape. Get clean first,” echoed Parnell.
To start your own journey to recovery — and a secure financial future — contact us today to learn about our leading St. Louis drug rehab programs.