One of the reasons addiction is so devastating is that it has a profound effect on the financial condition of those afflicted. Sure, the tangible costs of the users’ drug of choice will add up over time, but what of the indirect costs as well? Addiction isn’t cheap and as we’ll show in the following article, it’s not just the substances that are expensive.
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Addiction is Not Just the Bottle or Drug
With addiction, there is almost always a ripple effect of repercussions into the lives of those struggling. This could look like a crashed car or a DUI or perhaps medical bills from a fall while intoxicated. Whether or not this has happened yet to an addict is simply a matter of time; it will. It’s not usually the substances themselves that create the catastrophic impacts that come to be associated with addiction; it’s the endless negative ripples that the drugs/alcohol abuse creates.
Step Zero: Abstinence!
The simplest and yet most difficult first step in the recovery process is getting the drugs and/or alcohol out of the picture. Because our addictions have such an impact on our critical thinking, addicts often don’t realize how much they’re spending of their hard-earned money to stay high. Tolerance to the substances also increases over time, requiring more and more to achieve similar effects. Even if a drug user only spends $20 on their substances per day, that’s $600/month or $7300 a year! Think about what you could do with that extra money you invested or saved it? But without confronting a dependency head-on, addiction becomes an endless cycle and a bottomless money pit.
Sober Thinking is Healthy Thinking
Have you ever noticed that when you’re drinking, you tend to eat a lot more? Turns out it’s not just the food that intoxicated people are prone to indulge in. People who are drunk or high tend to be less frugal with their funds in general than they would be sober.
This is because judgment is often the first thing affected by substances and the user feels free to spend what money they have because it’s their problem down the line… not now. That’s how “one or two beers” can quickly turn into a hundred dollar bar tab. Also, the intoxicated mind is more likely to indulge in things the sober mind wouldn’t such as cigarettes, greasy food, or a tattoo! Once that momentum of non-critical thinking begins, it’s hard to stop it in the addict’s mind.
Indirect Costs of Addiction
But addiction costs a lot more than just the bar tabs or drug debts, it has a huge impact on the addict’s potential as well. And although it would be difficult to accurately calculate these costs, it’s still worth mentioning the potential figures. What could you have accomplished if you had put as much energy into self-improvement as you did into addiction? What house would you own? What job could you have had? These thoughts aren’t meant to “bring down” the newly sober person but rather put into perspective the real costs that addiction ends up having.
Whistle While You Work
Other indirect impacts on the addict’s lives can have direct impacts on their finances. Along with addiction comes a new set of problems that the addict didn’t even know they had, Addiction edges up pain and causes depression even after addictive abuse has ended and sobriety has begun. Dependency can make you sad and less able to deal with the normal stresses that come with life. Dealing with dependency as quickly as possible decreases the chance of harmful effects on the lives of the abusers.