How would you answer the question, “Am I doing all I can in my recovery today?” If you strongly respond in the affirmative, then skip down to the closing paragraph, you are probably due a reward. On the other hand, if you find yourself reframing the question”Am I doing what others perceive as my trying (whether or not it is the most I can do)?” Then read on, you are probably struggling to maintain sobriety. I pray these thoughts will help.
Intention, no matter how good, misleads an individual to think he is on the right path when he really is not. Personal finance is an area that is not openly discussed; yet most acting out behaviors take money. Without this resource a sexually compulsive man can not purchase the means to feed his addiction. But expanding recovery behaviors around finances can play a large role in the journey to health.
Just think of the full amount your acting out behaviors cost you. The purchase of pornography, phone sex and prostitutes constitutes a direct type of expense. But don’t overlook the indirect costs like guilt offerings, (remember the stone Kobe Bryant bought his wife) legal fees, and child support. If you add the time lost while acting out, as an earning opportunity, the overall cost is phenomenal. One member of a therapy group estimated his cost to be half a million dollars!
Now, using adjusted thinking to put the most into your recovery let me suggest two proactive paths for your journey. First, set up financial accountability with a peer in recovery. Here are some suggestions:
- Only use checks or a credit card and have your accountability partner review the bank or credit company statement each month
- Disclose to both your spouse (if married) and accountability partner all sources of your income
- Delete any hiding places for extra cash
- Do not carry much cash with you
Being open and honest with your financials could save your sobriety. Second, budget for recovery by establishing a line item in your planned expenditures. Things to consider can include:
- Counseling for individual, group and/or couples therapy
- Literature to gain understanding of sexual addiction and stay abreast of sobriety techniques
- Workshops for support and connection with the larger recovering community
- Giving to help others in their journey of recovery
You spent money on the illness. Why not use your resources, now, for your health?
Doing whatever it takes with your finances will kick your structure into high gear. The money you both earn and save will be a blessing as you will be able to reward your sobriety with appropriate gifts at significant milestones. The apostle Paul writes to Timothy, “God (has given) us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Are you doing the best you can today for Him today?
Bob Damrau, MS, LPC