If you were ignoring your finances while you were struggling with an addiction then perhaps you’re hoping to turn that around now that you’re in recovery. Just like you’re working on returning to health and wellness in recovery, you need to focus on your finances and bring it back to health too. The following are suggestions for addressing any financial chaos that may have developed during addiction.
Get back in touch with your financial life
If you were ignoring bills, collectors, and money while you were using, then turn that around and get back in touch with it. What are the bills that you need to pay every month? What income do you receive on a regular basis? What are your personal expenses– groceries, clothing, rent/mortgage, property or car insurance, gas and car maintenance, etc? First, simply become acquainted with what’s coming into your bank account and what’s leaving.
- To really get a handle on your bills, put them in some kind of order you understand. For instance, you might make a planner or spreadsheet of the income and expenses in your life. At the top portion of your spreadsheet, list all the income you receive on a monthly basis. This might include salary and wages, interest and dividends, social security benefits, or rental income. Next, do the same for your expenses. These might include rent or mortgage, property insurance, housing maintenance, utility bills, groceries, cable, car payment, food, clothing, etc. Having a very clear idea of your expenses will let you know how much you need to make each month, and how much you need to pay back any unpaid bills.
Create an income source
- For most people, this may mean getting a job to support themselves. But if you’re finances are messy then you’ll need income. You may need to pay debtors back, or you may need to repay family members that helped you pay for your addiction treatment. Whatever the case, you will need to have some kind of income to make some repairs to the financial damage done during addiction.
Work with a financial counselor
- You may need to get the support of a counselor who can guide you on what to focus on first. For instance, a counselor may suggest that you pay your higher interest credit cards first. A counselor will likely have other suggestions and can help you develop a plan for healing your financial life.
Negotiate with debtors
- Your financial counselor can help with this or you may want to do this yourself. Most lenders want to work with you. They would prefer to get something for the money you owe them versus having you claim bankruptcy and get nothing. Most lenders will come up with a plan, lower payment, and/or even a lower interest rate in order to help you pay back what’s owed to them.
These are suggestions for restoring your financial life and getting yourself back on track. It’s not going to happen overnight. Just like your recovery, it will take time to heal and grow.