It’s a word that can have many meanings. Often we associate the term sobriety with the use, or misuse, of alcohol.
Alcohol is not the villain, nor is money, or sex, or prescription drugs…these are merely vehicles of addiction. But anything can become an addiction: anything that is abused, misused, or creates dishonesty in someone’s life.
The two always go together, addiction and dishonesty.
Where you have one, you have the other.
Once upon a time, I misused money. Oh, I told myself I didn’t hurt others. I didn’t steal, I didn’t run up debt, and I didn’t get into financial trouble. But I was dishonest about the way I juggled credit cards to buy more than I could afford, and the dishonesty about my credit card use damaged my marriage. It damaged trust.
I was right. I wasn’t hurting others. I was hurting myself.
Eventually I didn’t want to live that way anymore, always keeping an eye on when payments were due so I didn’t pay interest, thinking about when bills would arrive in the mail (in the days before paperless billing), worrying that my husband would open something I didn’t want him to see because it would cause conflict between us. I didn’t want to be accountable to him or anyone else on the subject of money. I played a game of being honest, all the while really living on the edge of what I could manage without being discovered.
Eventually I woke up to the damage I was causing. The fun of buying was not as great as the fear of discovery. Because I wan’t honest in this area of my life, I wasn’t able to fully partner with my husband and support our financial goals.
About fifteen years ago, I got clean and sober with my money. Now I’m an open book, and it feels good to know I have nothing to hide, no purchases to secret away, no guilty shopping sprees to gloss over, no payments to juggle.
I know my experience was mild compared to the issues so many confront. I know some addictions are easier to address than others, and many require professional help.
There is help out there. But the first step, always, is the hardest. Just recognizing the need for help, finding the strength to acknowledge to yourself that you have a problem, is critical.
Is there something here you need to confront?
- other substances
- internet / social media use
- phone use
I’ll be posting book suggestions, websites, and other helps. Leave a comment if you care to. One of the best helps is sharing stories of challenge and success. How did you escape your addiction? What tools did you find essential, useful, worth passing on?
Let’s help each other.
We’ll be free.