Becoming financially responsible is an important part of addiction recovery. There’s a lot to learn about ourselves and life in general as we manage our assets, so it’s no surprise that over ⅔ of Christ’s parables were about money. Self-mastery, giving to others, sound decision making, and looking to the future are all wrapped up in money management, and can all help you overcome addiction.
Making a Budget
The first step in becoming financially responsible is learning to separate your wants from your needs. This is an important concept in recovery overall, as your body will be working very hard to convince you that you need something that is bad for you. With some practice, you’ll be able to objectively look at a situation and decipher what your actual needs are.
To help you decide between your wants and needs, organize your budget. Place needs (like rent and utilities) at the top and move wants (like entertainment and eating out) to the bottom. When you prioritize this way, you can still have the things you want, as long as you meet your needs first. You may want to budget for a week at a time in the early days of recovery, when looking to the future can be overwhelming.
Looking to the Future
When you’re sorting out a budget, it’s important to look to the future and set some financial goals. Include savings in your budget so you can be prepared in an emergency. Budget for occasional necessities like new shoes and clothes so you don’t feel a big pinch when they need to be replaced. If there are other goals you’d like to accomplish, such as travelling or education, budget for those as well so you can move forward in your life and in your recovery.
Living One Day at a Time
Looking to the future seems to be in conflict with the recovery principle of living one day at a time, but it doesn’t have to. You have to include long-term goals as part of your financial plan if you want to be successful, but you don’t have to worry about the long-term outcome all the time.
Break your long-term financial goals into manageable, bite-sized goals that can be addressed on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. Saving some money out of each paycheck is much less overwhelming than trying to achieve a goal all at once. In this way, smart money management can relieve stress and prevent problems from building up.