Financial Stress in Early Recovery
Updated: Oct 8
Being broke and in debt causes a tremendous amount of stress on your mind, body and spirit. It weighs you down, kills your energy, destroys incentive, and can lead to fear and depression. I’m sure this isn’t news to you, but it’s important to recognize how much debt and financial anxiety can impact your daily life and health. Studies have shown that long term financial stress can result in migraines, sleep problems, emotional stability, and even heart disease.
For me, the worst part about financial stress was the constant lack of sleep it created. I would toss and turn all night, every night, wondering how the hell I was going to pay for this, and pay for that. All the stress and lack of sleep felt horrible, and was a serious threat to my sobriety. Many recovering alcoholics and addicts relapse from financial stress. That was always one of my biggest fears, that the financial stress would lead me back to the bottle. I knew that I had to figure out how to get out from under the financial rock that was crushing me and threatening my recovery.
Recovering addicts are particularly susceptible to stress, in all its forms. For whatever reason, most of us have a difficult time dealing with high levels of pressure. It’s no coincidence that we all seem to share similar stories of losing our minds while driving. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard from recovering alcoholics about their latest emotional blow up while driving in their car. Someone cuts them off, or traffic is too slow, or too fast, or someone won’t let them enter a lane…The list is endless. Whatever the excuse, cars are often like pressure cookers for addicts; we’re trapped inside a metallic box, the heat is rising, our emotions are boiling and eventually…we explode!
Financial pressure is the same thing for most people in recovery. Eventually the pressure gets to us, we don’t know how to handle it, and then we just lose our minds completely. Too often, it leads us back to our addiction.
Don’t let this happen to you. No matter how bleak things might seem right now, no matter how bad your financial situation might appear, there are plenty of things you can do to improve and change the conditions that are causing you so much stress.
The absolute last thing in the world you want to do is throw away your hard earned sobriety over money issues. Money comes and money goes. It’s just how it works. There’s no reason in the world to get so freaked out or depressed over money that you sacrifice the most important accomplishment of your life; getting sober.
Like your sobriety, repairing your financial situation happens one day at a time. Be patient and be willing to attack the problem head-on, and eventually you’ll find the relief you’ve been searching for and deserve.