Money Management

Money Management

During their years of active addiction, young men suffer from a variety of consequences, ranging from health problems to interpersonal conflict. However, one of the most damaging results of years of substance abuse is a loss of financial stability. Drug and alcohol addiction inflicts enormous damage on a person’s financial resources.

The main problem is that addiction simply costs money. Whether a person suffers from an addiction to alcohol, opioids, crystal meth, or marijuana, the costs are likely to be enormous. This is because for addicts, one dose is never enough. Binging behavior can lead people to continually purchase more of their substance of choice even when they no longer have the financial means to do so.

When people with addictions run out of money, they’ll continue to do whatever it takes to obtain their substance of choice.

For many, this can lead them to behavior that they recognize as unwise or unethical. For some, it is a simple matter of not spending money on essential bills like food and rent. Many resort to payday loans with sky-high interest rates. Others steal, often from their own family members and loved ones. Ultimately, these behaviors can lead to catastrophic consequences, ranging from mounting debt to criminal prosecution. Suffering from debt or legal issues can exacerbate the cycle, causing a person to commit ever more desperate financial mistakes in their effort to procure drugs and alcohol.

Addictions and Impulse Control Disorders

At Design for Recovery, it is our philosophy that achieving freedom from addiction involves more than just abstaining from drugs and alcohol. At our sober living, residents develop the skills necessary to achieve their goals. To that end, they work to cultivate behaviors and thought patterns that value future goals over momentary pleasures. This is the foundation of sober life.

When young men arrive at our sober living home, they are often plagued by seemingly insurmountable debts. They may have maxed out credit cards, student loans for college degrees that they never earned, and even payday loans endlessly deferred. Often residents face legal problems that require them to pay fees or retain a lawyer. Medical problems often require financial resources that they do not possess. These problems can be difficult enough for someone who is healthy, but for an individual experiencing the struggles of early sobriety, they can be downright overwhelming. In fact, financial strain due to debt and unemployment are major factors that contribute to relapse.

To that end, Design for Recovery offers money management services to all residents. That way, young men who are quitting drugs and alcohol can relax and focus entirely on the process of recovering from their substance use disorder, without needlessly stressing about financial issues. Staff members help residents set a budget, manage their expenses, develop debt payment plans, and help residents connect with resources to deal with their legal or financial distress.

We also make sure that by the time residents graduate from their sober living home, they are prepared to handle their own finances. Outside of the basic principles and framework for recovery, perhaps the most useful knowledge for an addict new to sobriety is money management. Money management refers to how you handle all aspects of your finances, from budgeting each paycheck to setting long-term investment goals.

Achieving Financial Freedom at Design for Recovery

At Design for Recovery, it is our philosophy that achieving freedom from addiction involves more than just abstaining from drugs and alcohol. At our sober living, residents develop the skills necessary to achieve their goals. To that end, they work to cultivate behaviors and thought patterns that value future goals over momentary pleasures. This is the foundation of sober life.

When young men arrive at our sober living home, they are often plagued by seemingly insurmountable debts. They may have maxed out credit cards, student loans for college degrees that they never earned, and even payday loans endlessly deferred. Often residents face legal problems that require them to pay fees or retain a lawyer. Medical problems often require financial resources that they do not possess. These problems can be difficult enough for someone who is healthy, but for an individual experiencing the struggles of early sobriety, they can be downright overwhelming. In fact, financial strain due to debt and unemployment are major factors that contribute to relapse.

To that end, Design for Recovery offers money management services to all residents. That way, young men who are quitting drugs and alcohol can relax and focus entirely on the process of recovering from their substance use disorder, without needlessly stressing about financial issues. Staff members help residents set a budget, manage their expenses, develop debt payment plans, and help residents connect with resources to deal with their legal or financial distress.

We also make sure that by the time residents graduate from their sober living home, they are prepared to handle their own finances. Outside of the basic principles and framework for recovery, perhaps the most useful knowledge for an addict new to sobriety is money management. Money management refers to how you handle all aspects of your finances, from budgeting each paycheck to setting long-term investment goals.

The Importance of Budgeting

The key word there is budget. It is a foreign term to many addicts who probably associate it more with a truck-rental company than an invaluable skill to prevent them from wasting every hard-earned dime on skinny jeans and Starbucks lattes. Budgeting is the process of creating a plan to spend your money. It is crucially important for establishing a successful and independent life when newly sober.

The website mymoneycoach.ca sums it up this way:

“Budgeting Is simply balancing your expenses with your income. If they don’t balance and you spend more than you make, you will have a problem. Many people don’t realize that they spend more than they earn and slowly sink deeper into debt every year.”

It may sound like a simple concept, but it is often neglected by recovering addicts whose financial stability is eroded by their impulsivity and need for instant gratification—that is, wanting something and wanting it now at the expense of future benefits. When the money is gone, many addicts turn to borrowing from friends or relatives, overdrafting bank accounts, credit card advances, or other more dire methods like pawning personal or stolen valuables. This, along with possible legal fees (for example, one DUI conviction in California can cost as much as $15,649) or medical bills, leads to a mountain of debt.

Avoiding financial ruin and breaking years, sometimes decades, of poor spending habits is no easy task. Removing drugs and alcohol from the equation only begins the process of rebuilding a broken life, one often riddled with debt and financial instability. At Design for Recovery, clients learn the importance of budgeting and how to implement it in their lives—that spending more than they earn slowly sinks them deeper into debt and adds greater stress to an already tumultuous transition to a new life in recovery.

“I’ve seen too many guys relapse over finances,” Design for Recovery Program Director Derek Eckley said. “It is one of the biggest stressors that always leads guys away from recovery.” Eckley, who has been involved in recovery for seven years, works closely with clients at Design for Recovery who wish to establish debt repayment plans, savings, or a schedule of immediate and future expenses.

Building a Life of Prosperity at a Sober Living

However, budgeting is often just the beginning of achieving financial stability. During active addiction, young men often live paycheck-to-paycheck. Many repeatedly get fired or experience chronic unemployment. Addiction often stops people from achieving their educational goals, which has an impact on their earnings down the line. Design for Recovery is committed to making sure that residents not only know how to budget with the resources they presently have, but are building prosperous lives that will allow them to gain access to opportunities and greater resources.

Design for Recovery offers employment support to all residents. In fact, getting a job during sober living residency and learning how to handle the associated stresses while staying sober is an important part of our home. 

Design for Recovery’s connections to local Los Angeles businesses and the recovery community at large are potent resources that enable us to help young men find job placements during early sobriety. For many, this initial job is a humble start to a career. For others, it is a valuable tool for learning skills, building up a resume, and coming to a better understanding of future goals.

Design for Recovery works with residents to make sure that their on-the-job earnings don’t go to waste. While it may be tempting to celebrate financial independence with a nice meal at a fancy restaurant, especially for people who lived off of pocket change for years, we make sure that residents also understand basic principles of investing. Saving money allows residents to have peace of mind and it also allows them to grow their financial assets. Graduating from a sober living home with a savings account to fall back on and a job is the best way to ensure future stability. For some, it is the basis of a new career, since those with savings are able to invest their financial resources in starting new businesses for themselves.

Long-term Goals, Long-term Sobriety

As residents become more comfortable in sobriety, their financial and career goals often take more specific shapes. Many realize that to achieve their dreams, they need to return to school — or attend it for the first time. Because Design for Recovery helps residents develop autonomy, accountability, and focus, residents are often surprised that when they return to school, they are at the top of their class. Getting a degree costs money, however, and taking out student loans, especially for people already under financial duress, can be a scary thought. However, Design for Recovery makes sure to support residents every step of the way. We make sure that residents pursuing higher education have a plan for paying for college, often involving a combination of low or no-interest student loans, grants, and scholarships. Most do need to spend some amount of money to get an education. Doing so, however, is a prime example of delaying gratification for future gains, since having a degree in ones chosen field is likely to ensure a higher income down the line.

By the time residents graduate from Design for Recovery, not only are they well on their way to being debt free, they also have the tools necessary to prosper financially down the line. Even before leaving their sober living home, residents have already begun working on degrees, pursuing careers, and increasing their earning potential. They also come to understand principles of budgeting and investing. We believe that sobriety is about more than just quitting drugs and alcohol — it’s about building a quality life. At Design for Recovery, residents liberate themselves from financial pressure as much as they do from substances. Financial freedom, stability, and prosperity doesn’t only reduce the chances of relapse, it allows residents to achieve dreams that only a few months prior they would have considered unattainable.

To learn more about Design for Recovery and other ways it helps addicts rebuild their lives in early recovery, visit designforrecovery.com.

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