Once we have completed residential substance abuse treatment and are settled in to our sober living situation, it comes time to begin the work of rebuilding our lives as sober, productive members of society. One area of our lives which will likely require significant attention is our financial health. In active addiction, we sacrifice our economic stability for the sake of our continued substance abuse, and now we must repair the damage done and restore our financial independence. Here are a few steps you can take to get on a path towards financial health and security.
First, it is important for any working adult to have a relationship with a bank, as these institutions are necessary in order to function fully in society. Once you have secured employment, you should use your first paycheck to open a checking and savings account at your local bank. If you have a history of closed accounts which had negative balances, many banks offer “second chance” checking accounts so that you can restore good standing with the banking industry. Make an appointment to speak to your local banker to see what account options are available to you.
Many of us run up substantial debts in our active addiction, maxing out credit cards and defaulting on loan obligations as all our funds are funneled into our addiction. Now that you have achieved sobriety, these debts should be addressed as an important part of your amends process. At the very least, you should reach out to your creditors and see if they are willing to negotiate a reasonable payment plan so that you can make good on your debts. Regardless if an agreement between you and your creditors is reached, at least you can say you put forth effort to make the situation right for all those involved.
Living in recovery requires us to change all of our behaviors from those learned in active addiction to new, healthy ones which promote our sobriety. Part of this should be a change in our financial habits, as we work to restore economic stability and health in our lives. There are steps you can take in early recovery to promote this shift, but ultimately financial health comes from self-discipline and conservative spending habits. Sobriety gives us the gift of restored mental clarity and strength of will, but it is up to us to practice this willpower in order to maintain financial stability.