Finances and Addiction: Managing Finances in Addiction Recovery
Addiction and financial problems often go hand in hand, as recurrent drug or alcohol use can lead to unemployment, missed payments, divorce, debt, and other issues.
This article will explore how addiction affects finances and provide some helpful financial tips and resources for people in recovery.
How Drug and Alcohol Addiction Affects Finances
Addiction is a condition that affects all aspects of one’s life and can—among other consequences—result in:1
- A failure to fulfill major obligations at school, home, or work.
- Recurrent interpersonal or social problems.
- Giving up or reducing important occupational activities.
- The development or exacerbation of physical or psychological health problems.
The above can lead to serious financial issues such as missed payments, debt, legal fees, hospital bills, and more.
How to Fix Your Finances Following Addiction
Just as there are ways to recover from addiction, there are ways to recover from financial problems. Below are some options on how to go about managing finances in addiction recovery. However, it is important to note that this is NOT financial advice, but helpful information and resources.
Prioritizing Your Sobriety Over Finances
It is common to feel overwhelmed during early addiction recovery, especially for people struggling financially. Treatment can be expensive, which is one reason why only a fraction of people with a substance use disorder (SUD) get the help they need.2 However, not getting treated is significantly more costly, not only in terms of finances, but also health, career, and relationships.3 It is important to prioritize your sobriety and mental well-being.
Studies have shown that stress can be a trigger for alcohol relapse.4 The American Heart Association has many helpful tips on how to manage stress including:5
- Engaging in positive (and not negative) self-talk.
- Taking slow deep breaths.
- Breaking a big problem into smaller and more manageable parts.
- Going for a walk, bike ride, run, or other type of exercise.
- Practicing yoga or meditating.
Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. Desert Hope Treatment Center has a community of support and encouragement that will be there for you through your journey. Through aftercare programs and the alumni app, it is easy to stay connected to the healing community long after formal treatment ends.
Checking Your Credit after Rehab
A credit score is a number, typically ranging between 300 and 850, that rates someone’s credit risk. The higher the number, the easier it is to rent an apartment, get a loan, lower insurance rates, and pay less interest.6
A credit score is calculated based on information from an individual’s credit report including but not limited to:6
- Length of credit history.
- Bill payment history.
- Current debt.
- Applications for credit accounts.
- Types of credit accounts (credit cards, car loans, mortgages).
- Other financial information.
Credit reports also show if someone has been arrested, filed for bankruptcy, or has been sued.6
Check your credit score periodically to make sure it is accurate and that no one has opened fraudulent accounts in your name. You can request a free credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com.
Finding a Financial Counselor & Creating a Budget
Sorting out finances can feel like an overwhelming task, but there are many resources available to help you create a budget and get back on track. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) can connect you with a certified financial counselor best suited for your needs and location from their trusted network of agencies.7
The Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA) also offers resources to connect people with financial counseling agencies. They assist “hundreds of thousands of consumers each year with financial counseling services of all kinds, as well as debt management plans for the repayment of unsecured debts.” They also offer a free tool to analyze your financial situation and give you a recommendation on how to tackle your debt.8
Something you can do on your own is to create a weekly or monthly budget for yourself. Calculate your income, the approximate dollar amounts you pay for essentials, and how much debt you have. Then make a budget for all your expenses that enables you to chip away at your debt. This can help you visualize how to live within your means and, if you stick to your plan, see your situation gradually improve.
The Financial Cost of Addiction
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that substance misuse costs the nation around $600 million a year. The benefits to the individual and society are clear—accessible and effective addiction treatment results in:3
- Less crime and subsequent legal costs.
- Fewer interpersonal conflicts.
- Greater workplace productivity.
- Fewer accidents.
Substance abuse recovery is an investment in the future and everyone who needs help should have access to addiction treatment. There are several ways to pay for rehab that make costs more manageable, like using health insurance to cover rehab or payment plans.
Verify your insurance coverage at Desert Hope by using the confidential or see if you qualify for financing options at Desert Hope’s drug and alcohol rehab in Las Vegas, NV by completing the questionnaire below.