A guideline that can be used to help you become an independent member of society.
Where am I financially and what am I willing to do to get out of debt or build a legitimate income?
Where is my willingness in making sure my debt and bills are being taken care of first? This is a good time to write down what you owe and any payment plans that are involved. Make sure you keep these as your priorities.
Write out what your ideal financial future would look like. What is most important for you to pay back? Adding up all costs, what does your monthly payout look like? What are some things you would like to obtain in the future?
If you are willing to do the right thing and take not only responsibility for your finical affairs, but action, you will be amazed and how much you are able to accomplish and put in order. Fear is the number one offender when it comes to financial dealings, selfishness is number two. You may not be able to fix everything overnight, but paving a new path will help get things in order.
Wants vs. Needs
If you can prioritize your needs (rent, bills, and any finical amends that you owe) vs. your wants (movies, expensive clothes, and other material possessions) then you will begin to see your financial affairs start to fall in place. Holding out on payment because you are scared or selfish could cause you to either get into debt or go further into debt. You can experience financial freedom, but you have to be willing to put in some hard work.
Write out exactly what your monthly costs will be. Make sure you include the basics like rent, credit cards, car, car insurance, and any other miscellaneous bills. Then add in extra expenses that you may not think about: cigarettes, gas, food, etc…Here is where you can see exactly what your needs and wants are, as well as how much you actually need to have in income vs. what money goes out. This will also help with planning a savings if able to, but first things first; building a solid foundation financially should be your primary concern.
Sometimes there just isn’t enough money. Here are some suggestions for additional income that could help you get back on your feet, while putting your recovery first: Instead of obtaining a “second job”, look at the possibility of “side work”, (i.e. – lawn care, day care, house cleaning, car wash, etc…) This is a means of providing some supplement to your income, without loading yourself down with too many required work hours that could take away from your recovery activities. Try going without items that you may not need, like cigarettes, which could save you thousands within a year alone. If you would like to quit smoking in recovery, please check out our 3-part blog series: Quitting Smoking In Recovery.
Getting your finances in order takes time, patience, and sacrifice - so don’t give up. Your financial progress and stability rests in your hands. If you are in a financial strain and/or just want extra money, you can always get some form of added income, but remember that your recovery should come first.
You don’t need to overextend yourself trying to get too much, too fast! Each thing you obtain, no matter how long it may take, you will have the satisfaction of having earned it. When in doubt, ask those around you who have obtained financial freedom how they did it, sometimes the answers we seek come from the experience of another recovering alcoholic or addict.
Information & Resources
Independent Living Checklist: Basic checklist for independent living.
Money 101: A step-by-step guide on prioritizing your finances through budgeting, management, and freedom from debt.