29 Jun Amends- Financial Freedom
A huge part of recovery is clearing up the wreckage of our past, making amends. It’s not always an easy feat, sometimes conquering our day-to-day thoughts making our mere existence look like there is no hope in sight. However, it can be done.
Once the fog has cleared and we are over the hump of early sobriety, we must start looking towards moving forward in the right direction by clearing up past debts. Financially, we were not the most responsible people to say the least. Chris C., a graduate of New Life House, recently became clear of all financial debt accumulated over years of using. This was not an overnight process; it took him the better part of a year chipping away one day at a time. This was an accomplishment that he never thought would happen.
Over the period of his using, Chris had accumulated $15,000 worth of debt from 6 separate credit cards and hospital bills, as well as $3000 for an unpaid DUI surcharge. He recalls the overwhelming feeling of guilt and shame from getting the seemingly never-ending phone calls and letters from collection agencies. He would turn off his phone, and not open the mail in an attempt to pretend like the problem would go away. Chris thought he would always have bad credit and knew he couldn’t pay while he was using so he rationalized in his mind that his debt, was the least of his problems.
Once Chris got sober, he realized this issue was a reality that was necessary to conquer in order to live a normal life. Thus, he applied the same principals he learned in sobriety to tackling his financial difficulties. He did it systematically, one step at a time. First, he pulled his credit report so he could see all of his individual debts and whom he owed them to. Next, he called the companies and let them know that he was in recovery and intended to pay them back once he got his funds in order. At this point, most of the companies waved his accruing interest rates. Once he started working, he called them all back to settle with them. Chris then started paying them back, one debt after another, for a year.
Just last month, he sent his final payment in and is now completely debt free! Now that all of his debts are paid, his next step was to repair his credit. He contacted a credit specialist that is also a sober member of alcoholics anonymous and is focusing on removing the negative marks on his credit. He took out a new credit card to slowly build his credit back up.
The freedom that Chris got from paying back past debts seems simple, yet it is a vital aspect in sobriety. The confidence and self-esteem that comes from righting wrongs is a driving force in propelling recovering addicts into long-term sobriety.