Slow Money


The road to recovery is a long and bumpy one.  There are many resources to provide emotional, mental, and even spiritual help for those trying to pursue sobriety.  One aspect of recovery that sometimes is overlooked is adjusting to “slow money.” You are probably familiar with the term “fast money.”  For some who struggle with addiction, they found that selling drugs, gambling, and hustling in various less than legal ways can be quite lucrative.  The cash flow can be fast and abundant with little effort; but, high risk. Thus, when returning to an addiction free life, working a 9-5 minimum wage job is going to feel like “slow money.”


Adjusting to a New Speed of Money


One of the first steps you can take in trying to adjust to this new financial lifestyle is reworking your budget.  It can be devastating and feel almost paralyzing to realize that your checking account is zero with bills and rent to pay.


It may be time to make a list of luxuries vs necessities.  Your definition of necessity now needs to become, “I cannot survive without this…literally.”  Drinks other than water, Netflix, motor vehicles, smartphone, and many other items that many of us feel like, “I cannot live without this” might need to become something that you do live without.  


The adjustment might be sudden and abrupt in some situations.  Beware that this could be a major trigger for relapse, so try to plan for it and discuss it with your therapist or substance abuse counselor.  


What Financial Resources Are Available?


There are many federal, state, and private programs that can assist financially.  Programs such as SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) and TANF (temporary assistance for needy families) are government programs that help provide money for food and even cash for those who qualify.  


WIC (women, infants, and children) provides food for pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, and children under the age of 5.  


Seek out local charities, churches, and nonprofits that often provide assistance in the form of food, vouchers, clothing, even rent assistance.  Some agencies also provide financial coaching.


Increase the Speed of Your Cash


You may need to start from the bottom and work your way up, but there are ways to beef up your paycheck.  


Go back to school, seek higher education, and higher paying jobs.  Going back to school can be very intimidating, but there are federal grants, loans, and scholarships to help pay for you to go back to school.  


Learn a trade.  Seeking out a 4-year-degree is too long for some.  Trade or vocational school can assist you in learning a skill for a specific occupation.  Trade schools vary in length depending on the program and can be as short as 8-months and as long as 2-years.


Find a job with opportunity for advancement.  When interviewing for jobs, ask about opportunities for advancement and pay attention to jobs that value professional development.  Some jobs pay their employees to get extra trainings, earn certificates, and grow within the company.