Many in recovery find they need to set limits on their spending habits. Often, they will include financial accountability as part of their commitment to healing in general. Although addictions have dramatic effects on some individual’s finances, for many, their influence is more subtle and may lie ‘under the radar.’
Financial issues often surface when the person with the addiction begins to gain some control over their recovery by maintaining more extended periods of sobriety. As they start to feel victorious over their unhealthy habits, they may increase spending on gadgets, hobbies, or other compulsive purchases. In recovery, a relationship with God must become the primary focus. If someone is pursuing materialism, their financial idols will come into conflict with their spiritual walk.
Just as people handle finances reveals their true values, it also shows how they manage their lives. Whether it is money, television, hobbies, alcohol, etc., there may be a secondary addiction underneath the more visible primary unhealthy habit. A person who struggles with addiction has not developed the same ability to tolerate frustration, other negative emotions, or delay gratification to the same degree as someone sober.
Unfortunately, simply removing the method of coping—the addictive behaviors—does not give a person the necessary skills to manage in a fallen world. Not only does this make sobriety increasingly tricky, but it also leaves them feeling even more powerless and ultimately sets them up for relapse.
Recovery is not just about abstaining from acting out; it is complete healing of the heart. Ezekiel 36:26 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
The person with addiction needs to learn sobriety, and they also need to learn to cope with old triggers in healthy ways. Knowing this makes facing recovery more manageable as it helps to refocus on the actual issues. It empowers by causing us to seek new ways of relating. Make changes through small, attainable steps and goals.
Ultimately, people must address their triggers and emotions. When they can refocus on the actual problem, they regain power and may no longer feel the need to spend or engage in other unhealthy secondary coping behaviors. Using a journal, like The Life Recovery Journal, to help—or recover from—a relapse can be essential in healing.