As any person in recovery knows, financial woes in the aftermath of active addiction are all too commonplace. These five tips can help you save money while progressing your recovery and fellowship with others.
1. Carpool to Meetings
Although making those first connections with people in meetings may seem difficult at first, spend any amount of time there and you will realize that people in recovery are a social bunch. People often get coffee together before a meeting or visit a dessert shop to satisfy a sugar craving. Not everyone has to drive to and from these gatherings on their own. In fact, most people rarely attend meetings outside their own intergroup district, which means everyone pretty much lives near each other. By carpooling, you not only save money on gas but can also start building crucial friendships inside and outside of the meeting room.
2. Share Recovery Literature and Media
While program-approved literature is more than reasonably priced and always freely available when requested, many people in recovery eventually want to expand their library outside of the basic texts. Whether we are discussing recovery literature, self-help books, meditation tutorials or program-related films, sharing these items is a great way to form bonds with others in the program while also digesting some quality recovery literature. For the really adventurous, certain circles of people are known to trade recordings of recovery program founders and key figures delivering their story at a meeting, sometimes as long as decades ago. While tracking down these audio recordings is a task at times, partnering up with someone to find and experience these timeless treasures is always a unique experience.
3. Avoid Other Addictions That Can Add Up
Certain other harmless addictions commonly practiced by people in recovery open great opportunities for people to cut down their expenses, and generally, improve their health at the same time. For example, in lieu of smoking cigarettes, a more cost-effective and health-conscious alternative can be found in smoking cessation programs, which incidentally several states offer for free to residents. Likewise, getting your caffeine fix is understandable at times, but daily trips to Starbucks aren’t really all that necessary: there’s free coffee at every meeting, and while there’s no fancy syrup or extra shots of espresso, the price is right and the drink still does its job.
4. Track Your Program Donations
Almost all meeting donations are considered charitable expenditures, and as such, are tax-deductible. The same is true for purchases for meetings made by one’s own money, which we know includes coffee and cookies more often than not, as well as some personal costs possibly incurred by attempting to start a meeting with a limited initial following. For the truly financially-savvy, if you mix personal funds and funds earmarked for a given meeting, any contributions paid out to the intergroup area, district and for the purchase of literature are all tax-deductible as well. Be sure to check with your group conscience before attempting this practice, as some groups frown upon co-mingling funds in this manner.
5. State and Federal Social Welfare Programs
Many people in recovery suffer from medical and psychological ailments that were either caused by or contributed to their need for recovery in the first place. Virtually every state, as well as the federal government, offers programs for low-income individuals to obtain medical and psychological care coverage for little to no expense. For the person in recovery just getting back on their feet financially, these programs are an excellent and often untapped lifeline for obtaining inexpensive health insurance coverage for yourself, as well as potentially your dependents.
Be willing to spend the money and, above all, the time on your recovery. Do not let spending worries ever run you out of your sobriety efforts. Recovery meetings are supposed to cost only a dollar, but we promise: no one is counting who puts what into the basket, and you shouldn’t have to either.