How to regulate your finances after rehab

Clinical data suggests that by the time that individuals access addiction rehab, they may be struggling with their finances. Addiction is a chronic condition.  It impacts all areas of lives – from psychological and physical effects, all the way to the interpersonal and the socioeconomic.  In fact, the multifaceted nature of dependency can compound addiction’s financial impact. 

If addiction affects your physical and mental health, you may find that you are required to take time from work or may be unable to work. If addiction introduces conflict in your relationships, you may find that your housing situation suddenly changes. Many of the symptoms of addiction can have financial resonances, meaning that regaining financial stability after a stay in a rehab centre can be a pivotal next step.

The importance of financial discipline in addiction treatment 

Between 2022 and 2023, 137,749 adults accessed some form of addiction help through a treatment service or rehabilitation centre. Out of these adults, 

  • 9% had a risk of becoming homeless in the next 8 weeks
  • 16% of those seeking treatment for opiates had a risk of becoming homeless in the next 8 weeks 
  • 20% had no home of their own

Out of this 20%,

  • 6% were living with friends and family on a short-term basis 
  • 4% were living in temporary supported accommodation
  • 3% were ‘sofa surfing’
  • 2% were living on the streets 

Financial and housing insecurity is a common experience among individuals dealing with addiction. However, if a fifth of all new entrants into addiction rehab are facing homelessness, then there is a high risk of continuing financial difficulty following time spent in rehab. This makes promoting financial literacy a key component of addiction counselling and suggests that discussions about money are a crucial part of any rehabilitation programme, whether at an NHS rehab or a luxury rehab.

A lot of the time, financial pressure can lead to unhelpful behaviours in order to manage stress – such as engaging with substances or impulsive shopping. These behaviours can limit our financial cushion, but also signal a relapse of maladaptive behaviours.

Getting clarity: Conduct a financial assessment 

One of the best ways to begin your journey to financial stability is to conduct a thorough financial assessment. This is a way to get a clear understanding of your current financial situation. To do this, you will need to assess the following:

  • Income (what money you have coming in)
  • Expenses (what money you have going out)
  • Debts (any money that you owe)
  • Savings (any money that you have saved)

You may find that your rehab team or primary care practitioner put you in contact with a financial advisor in order to support you to make this assessment. Otherwise, you may be able to conduct it yourself with a friend or family member you trust.

Once you have conducted this assessment and have a clear indicator of your financial situation, you can then implement a set of strategies to regain control of your financial well-being. These strategies include:

  • Creating a budget
  • Managing your debt
  • Thinking about emergency savings 
  • Accessing financial assistance 

These steps can make sure that you stay as clearly informed on your finances as possible. Doing this can be a stressful process, but it can provide you with a sense of clarity on how to stay on an even track in terms of money. This can reduce the fear of the unknown, and can also allow you to take active steps to avoid any further financial difficulties down the line that could cause high levels of stress and negatively affect your recovery.

Creating a budget 

Once you are aware how much money is coming in and out of your account in any given month, you can then calculate how much money is needed for certain things. You can use this to create a budget.

A budget may include:

  • total cost of bills and expenses 
  • how much money is left over after these are paid 
  • how much money you would like to add to your savings each month
  • how much money is left following bills and savings 

The money that is left over after bills and savings can be your ‘disposable income,’ the money you use for non-necessities in your life. 

Manage your debt 

A very important part of a financial assessment is making a note of any money you owe. This can be formal loans or overdrafts, or informal money owed to family or friends. You can then establish an appropriate payback schedule which you can incorporate into your budget. 

Emergency savings 

One way to reduce the risk of financial difficulties leading to intense periods of distress is to try and maintain emergency savings (or a ‘rainy day fund). This means that if something goes wrong and things do not go to plan, you have access to an amount of money that can act as a cushion for some period of time.

Accessing financial assistance 

If you are struggling with your finances, you can speak with a professional to get confidential advice. This may involve speaking with your local citizen’s advice or even accessing information on financial literacy from a rehab provider. To find out more about the link between addiction and finances – and to learn more about how much rehab costs in the UK – you can contact UKAT today for straightforward and sensitive advice.