While you might be dreading sitting down and going over your finances during your recovery, this is a critical step in re-organising your life and actualising your goals. Considering a few tips can help give structure to this process and ease some of the stress around it.
Recovery after addiction takes place in all aspects of your life, as physically, emotionally, and mentally you are rebuilding and discovering parts of yourself that got pushed aside by your dependency. This is also a time when you are learning how to re-engage with the world. With your focus turned away from your addiction and towards your new life and all it has to offer, you’ll likely be starting to think about how to get your finances in order.
Revisiting your financial habits in recovery can be tricky. Finances are a source of stress for most people, and yours may be in a particular state of disarray following an addiction. However, you’ll be surprised at how tackling this area of your life can actually alleviate some deep-seated anxiety, and spur excitement about the future. Here are some tips to get a solid start in managing your finances during your recovery.
Tip 1: Know What You Want
Think of this as a visioning exercise. Sit down in a quiet place and imagine what you would like your future to look like. What would you like to do? Are there things that you value owning? Debts that you need to pay off? New places you’d like to see, subjects you’d like to learn, activities you’d like to partake in? These ideas are what lay the foundation by which to start your financial planning.
Motivating yourself by considering the possibilities of what you can achieve helps frame the next steps of planning in a positive, productive way.
Tip 2: Set Goals and Prioritise
After you have got some big picture ideas about what you’d like for your future, it is time to start setting some concrete goals. It is best to start categorising them into either short-term or long-term goals, with short-term goals defined both by immediate need and ease of achievability. These criteria will help keep you motivated and protect your recovery while you are working towards the life you want. For example, you might envision yourself as the proud owner of a house with a lovely garden, but in the immediate future, you really just need your own living space so you are not constantly exposed to your roommate’s wild parties.
Tip 3: Start with the Basics
In terms of practising good financial management, there are some fundamentals that should be considered. Basic principles of financial management include:
Making more than you spend
This sounds so simple, but in reality many people subsidise their lifestyle with a credit card. This leads to chronic overspending and accumulation of debt. Becoming financially stable means figuring out how to live within your means, so this is the time to analyse where excess costs can be cut, and make savings plans for bigger-ticket items.
Paying off high-risk debt
High-risk debt is generally defined by that which has the highest interest rate, like a credit card, or which has immediate consequences, like a missed car or mortgage payment. Rank your debts by highest to lowest risk and start making plans to pay them off in that order. Paying off debts not only erases what you owe, but can also have positive impacts on your credit score, which will boost your confidence and is also helpful when you are planning for larger purchases down the line.
Protecting what you have with standard insurance policies
Unexpected emergencies can quickly derail financial gains, which is why it is good to have some basic insurance policies to help cushion a potential blow. Depending on where you live some policies may be mandatory, so it is good to do some research to know what your options are. You may want to look at different insurance plans for your car, home, and health to see what is affordable and can best protect you in case of an emergency.
Creating an emergency fund
Finally, putting aside even a small amount of money each month for emergencies or general savings is typically considered a best practice of financial management. Even though building savings takes time, it is critical in strengthening your financial stability and reducing stress when unexpected costs occur.
Tip 4: Make a Budget
Creating a budget for yourself is the most concrete step you can take towards planning how you will manage your finances. Make sure that your budget includes regular expenses like rent or car payments, payment of debts, a savings fund, and has some space for discretionary spending – those extras like new shoes or a cup of coffee from the local shop. Track your expenses using a spreadsheet or a budgeting app to make sure that you are spending in accordance with your plan.
The process of budgeting is an excellent time to confront your fears about money and start to reinvent how you manage it. If you are dreading sitting down with a spreadsheet, remind yourself that you may actually feel more in control of your money once you have carefully allocated what you have. Be honest with yourself about what you can manage, and remember that as you pay off debts, there will be more room in your budget.
Tip 5: Don’t Do it Alone
Once you have figured out a budget for yourself, share this with a trusted friend, family member or partner. Let them know what you are working on, and ask for their help and advice. Bringing other people in on your financial planning helps boost accountability, and can be useful in talking through issues that may be giving you anxiety or that you can’t quite figure out how to manage.
It is also important to recognise finances and bills as stressors that can potentially trigger a relapse. If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk it out, and if needed, consider professional support. Addiction specialists are highly experienced in assisting people in all stages of addiction and recovery, and can provide reassurance, support, and wisdom to help you navigate this critical aspect of your recovery.
Revitalising Your Recovery at The Dawn
The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab Thailand is a unique rehabilitation and wellness facility created to foster an environment of personal growth and healing for people who want to change their lives by addressing addiction or mental health conditions. We treat people at all stages of healing, from those first learning about their issue, to those who feel they need to refresh and recharge their recovery.
Rehab in Thailand
Licenced by the Thai Ministry of Health, The Dawn offers tailor-made programmes that cater to each individual’s needs by using a comprehensive, holistic treatment method and modern techniques with proven results. Our stunning location just outside the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand offers an oasis of calm where you can soak in the riverside scenery and focus on your health. Far away from the stressors of home, we will work with your specific needs to develop a plan that will ensure a strong, sustainable recovery.
Call us today to learn more about how we can support your specific needs and help you achieve your goals.