Once a person completes their rehab treatment they must make the transition to living their everyday life as a sober person. This involves using strategies and skills they learned in their recovery program to deal effectively with triggers that could potentially lead to a relapse.
The most commonly known triggers are people and places that remind the addict of their former lifestyle and they are told to avoid these as much as possible. There are many different triggers for each individual but one that most people share is money. Financial issues can be considered a significant relapse trigger even though they are not discussed as often as others.
A lot of people who have been through serious addictions may have lost their job prior to rehab and are faced with the task of looking for new employment. They may also have to learn for the first time how to effectively handle their finances. With the right education and management, it is possible to handle your money without any risk of relapse.
Assessing Your Financial Situation
After returning home and finding a stable job you will need to learn how to manage money with as little stress and frustration as possible. The first step is to take an inventory of your current financial situation including assets, debts, and expenses. The process might feel painful at first if you are not where you want to be financially so make sure you are able to deal with any negative feelings that come up.
If you can get someone to help you as you take inventory you can talk to them about some of the emotions you are experiencing and they can also give you advice on how to approach your financial situation. The best strategy while taking inventory of your situation is to focus on how to improve your finances in the future rather than dwell on any mistakes you might have made with money in the past.
Create a Budget and Handle Savings
Another important step in learning how to handle your finances effectively is to think about your spending in terms of needs and wants. Self-care is important in recovery so you can’t ignore your needs even if you are dealing with a lot of debt or financial difficulties.
However, you should not use spending as a means to numb emotions or escape from your life. It is important to try to understand the difference between what you need for your own mental or physical wellness and what you desire as a form of escape. As you learn to separate these two things you also need to create a practical budget for yourself so that you can monitor your spending. Taking a class or reading a book on how to budget your money can help you to develop the skills to understand and take control of your finances.
As you begin to save up more money it might be a good idea to store it in a safe place where you are not tempted to spend it. For addicts, any extra funds can be motivated to spend their money on drugs. When you are finally making enough money to set some aside for the future you can put it into a savings account with no ATM card or give it to a parent to take care of for you. It is important for addicts to be very cautious about their money as they may begin to have more than they ever had while they were addicted. It may be tempting to go on spending sprees but being practical with money is an important skill that becomes a central part of the sober lifestyle.