Dealing with the Financial Wreckage after Addiction
It costs a lot of money to fund a drug habit. And likely, you have lost your job and any means of income. Your credit cards are maxed out. You’ve taken out high-interest loans. Your car may have been repossessed due to months of non-payment. You might even be homeless because you spent all of your money on drugs and not paying your rent or mortgage.
This is pretty much par for the course if you’re a drug addict caught in the throes of a devastating addiction.
But you decided to fight for your life, and now you’re clean. But now you have the face the financial wreckage of your addiction. It’s almost like starting in the negative, right? You don’t have a job and it’s difficult to explain the large work history gap on your resume. Your credit is destroyed. You may have mounting legal bills and court costs that you need to deal with. It can be overwhelming, but here are some tips on getting started:
Assess the damage
It’s going to be difficult to face all of the financial problems you have racked up, but don’t panic! Knowing the full extent of what you have to deal with is the first step in finding solutions. Write down everything you owe, and who you owe it to. Call your creditors. Explain that you have been struggling with a long term illness but are working on getting your finances in order. You could even be totally honest and tell them you are in recovery from a substance abuse problem.
Get a job
This can be a tough one, especially if you have a criminal record. However, there are many companies willing to hire good people with a criminal past. Check out Jobs for Felons. Even without legal issues, you might find the process of finding a job difficult because you haven’t actually had one in so long. Check out local staffing agencies, they typically have many opportunities and can get you placed quickly. Some even offer resume building workshops and assistance on getting back into the workforce. If you were willing to do whatever it took to get high, you can do whatever it takes to get a job.
Learn to budget.
Write down all of your expenses. Every. Single. One. No matter how small. Decide what is a want versus a need. No, Netflix is not a need. And neither is a shopping trip to Sephora. Track all of your expenses. Pay your bills first. Tackle your highest interest debt first. Throw a small amount into a savings account. There are a ton of online resources and apps that can help you get started. Check out Mint, it’s a great budget and money management tool.
Stay focused on your recovery.
This is the most important part. You can get through anything as long as you stay clean and sober. And don’t lose hope – there are millions of people that have found freedom from both addiction and financial catastrophes.
Check out the hope shot story below by Kaelan Lanie
“Today I applied for a credit card. I sat across the desk from my banker and she asked me what I did for work. I explained that I provided help to people who are struggling with substance use disorder. She was a little taken back and then asked me how I had got into the field. I told her I was in recovery. I could tell she was surprised her by the way her face lit up.
A little over 16 months ago the only thing I cared about was how I could lie, con, and manipulate to get my next fix. My days and nights consisted of being locked in a room with the blinds closed and a pipe pressed tightly to my lips. Submerged in my own guilt and shame to even consider being a part of society.
But yet here we are, 16 months later; and I care about things like building my credit (how odd). It might not seem like that big of a deal to some people, and it wasn’t a big deal to me at first either. I felt like I was just doing what I was supposed to be doing. But the reaction I got from my banker made me realize how much of a miracle my life truly is.
I got approved for the card.”