Financial Health While In Sober Living, But How?
Maintaining healthy finances is challenging. Whether one is in recovery from addiction or not, we have almost all had times where our financial health was not our top priority. As we come close to completing our fourth year as a recovery resource for men in San Diego it is more clear to us now than ever that we must continue to push our men into healthy frames of thinking with regards to their financial priority’s. Above all else, we have learned that maintaining a healthy relationship with our finances builds self-esteem. Often time’s addicts and alcoholics, while in our disease, have lost our awareness around what it takes to live responsibly. We believe that while in a recovery home, that our men need to address all of the challenging areas of healthy and balanced living. This means that in order for a sober living home to be truly effective in preparing it’s residents to be independent and contributing members of society, that accountability around finances must be a part of the recovery program.
The most difficult aspect of this lies in the relationship between the newly sober addicts need for financial help in order to enter a quality recovery program and walking the balance of transitioning into more financial independence. It is uncommon that sober living residents are initially able to support themselves financially after leaving primary drug and alcohol treatment. As a result of this a very common problem occurs. This is how it happens…the family of the newly sober addict helps their son get into sober living, most likely with the intention that as their son becomes employed that he will begin contributing towards sharing the cost with them. As we all know, discussing and dealing with finances among several parties is hard. It can be especially difficult for parents to hold their sons accountable to do this when there is so much fear around each step forward, for fear of taking a step back. What we have seen consistently is that as our sober men become employed, begin feeling better, continue to build and grow their relationships in and out of their family, that parents become fearful to push their sons to contribute financially. Often times, in the interests of “staying the course” families are afraid to disrupt the forward progress with anything their son may find hard or not like doing. Paying bills isn’t always fun, especially when you don’t have a lot of money. For many families it becomes easier to continue to foot the recovery house expense than it is to navigate the waters of creating an enforceable contract with their son to share the expenses. We have come to believe that the extent to which this becomes a problem cannot be understated. This begs the questions, how can we expect addicts to begin acting in a responsible manner when we are robbing them of the opportunity to participate in the fundamental activities that life demands in order to live successfully?
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We believe that the sooner our men are able to begin to take on these responsibilities, the better the chance they have to rebuild a life worth living. The sense of self worth that people new in recovery begin to feel as a result of living responsibly is immense. Well-structured sober living homes will have a process to help the families and their sons navigate promoting financial health and growth. They will be communicating with the families regularly to discuss how they can be involved in helping their son in a healthy way and be working with the sober living resident to hold them accountable to their financial commitments. They will help their clients to find jobs, create and maintain a budget and hold them accountable to pay a portion of their cost of living in a sober living environment. Recovery houses that intend to fully prepare their residents for future independent living must help facilitate the process of financial growth in addition to many other life skills.
The program at Shoreline Sober Living San Diego has evolved vastly during the last 4 years based on the needs of the men we have worked with. Shoreline Sober Living is an accountability based recovery community designed to help men and their families navigate life after primary drug and alcohol treatment.
Robert Wilson, Founder @ Shoreline Sober Living San Diego