Financial Recovery

Categories: Counseling

Financial Recovery

Strong Recovery

Financial Recovery

The series continues with a discussion of financial recovery.  This is an area of Strong Recovery that is often overlooked.  People experience a sense of loss and regret from financial expectations and a strong financial recovery helps manage risks and is something they can feel good about. But there is a trap and it puts recovery at risk.

Expectations Trap

Addiction has a way of using up all your resources including the financial ones.  It steals your savings, your credit, your golden goose, and reduces future earnings.  Eventually you are left with an impossible uphill climb, shame, regret, and a focus on where you should, ought, or must be.  This is a losing game. Its easy to get caught in a trap of your own expectations.  You can chase some idea of where you ought to be if you had never done that thing you did, but in the end, you will be where you will be.  Expectations like this impact recovery and put undue stress on the process. Accept that some ships have sailed and you are going to take the next boat.

Budget Trap

Many people will suggest a budget to help manage the various issues and concerns.  Budgets take discipline, self control, sufficient resources, goal setting and a host of other behaviors that make recovery work. Dave Ramsey has many tried and true practices but we find them difficult to implement in recovery.  The main reason for this is how much of your focus needs to be devoted to his type of plan.  He uses line item budgets that require constant monitoring.  He encourages radical lifestyle changes that work well for middle class people but broke people need a different plan.  Most people in recovery are broke in more than one way and working hard to put things back together.  This creates opportunity for feeling overwhelmed and leads to another risk of relapse.  Because the “fix” involves high expectations and a long list of things to do we prefer a set it and forget it strategy.

Set it and Forget it

A financial recovery is a way of handling your money that empowers you and helps you become more and more healthy as time goes by.  We believe that a financial recovery demonstrates and represents your values monetarily.  It puts your money where your mouth is.  A strong financial recovery means you have the ability to responsibly handle financial resources, manage personal desires and impulses, plan and accomplish long term goals.  These are the very recovery skills you are working so hard to develop.
As a budget goes at Leadershop we suggest 10/10/80 plan.  We believe in testing God with 10%, saving 10% for short term and intermediate needs, and living on 80%.  The plan involves treating every single dollar with this formula.  Once you set it, you can forget it.
Earnings     $1000
Sacrifice     $100
Savings      $100
Leftovers    $800


Obviously the more you make the easier it is to meet basic needs. It’s time to learn the difference between a need and a want.  Learn to be content with what you have.  See your relationship to God as one where he provides for you in your wilderness journey.  As you trust in His provision you will experience gratitude and your perspective will change.  Your trust is demonstrated in many ways, but sacrifice rises above the rest.


Have you ever played the lottery?  You gave up a few bucks to scratch a card and hoped that your number came up.  Whether the jockpot was $1M or $100M you took the gamble.  When we play the lottery we put some hope into it.  We take the risk.  We have fun imagining “what if”.  Making a sacrifice is a risk that involves more than a few bucks on occasion.  It will feel like bleeding your own blood.  Especially when you are broke.  If you can’t make it on 100% then you will not miss 10% to put God to the test. Pray that he will be the living God he claims to be and return 10% to him.  You will be demonstrating that you depend on God to give you life and sustain you with your daily needs.


Everyone has unexpected costs that come up, everyone has intermittent expenses that appear from “nowhere”, and everyone has a rainy day.  We also have impulsive desires, poor planning issues, inconveniences of life that impact our budgets.  Since we all have these kinds of financial events we should prepare for them.  Saving 10% will be a good place to start.


Most people are all about giving God leftovers.  When they aren’t too tired, too busy, or too broke they give God a token of their energy, time, or finances.  They demonstrate the belief that their life, their money, etc. belongs to them.  To correct this cultural worldview and adopt a biblical worldview we can turn it upside down.  The 10/10/80 plan gives you the leftovers.  God gets the first fruits and you manage with what is left.  It’s okay because you will not be alone in this plan.  God is with you.  It’s not like working yourself to death and at the very end to toss a hail mary with your last nickle.  This is about honoring God.  You will have to make adjustments to your lifestyle.  Reduce your lifestyle to a level that 80% of earnings can support.  Work toward this for your first year of recovery.  It will teach you many valuable things about yourself.  You will find that much of your budget is blown on convenience items like pizza delivery or fast food.  You may be tempted to indulge in fancy or extravagant foods or other entertainments.  Learn to resist and control these impulses and you will develop a self control that supports not only financial recovery but a strong recovery in every sense of the term.  If your leftovers don’t cover food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and communications you are in the fight of your life financially and you need God. With God all things are possible.

Easy Does It

You can make some of this so easy.  Have your paycheck automatically deposited to savings and checking with the appropriate amounts.  Then simply figure out how to live on what you have left.
During this time of financial recovery you will be tempted to accelerate the program.  You will wish you were farther along.  You will long for your stuff back.  You will lament the loss of your boat, car, fancy things, or freedom that was taken by addiction.  This realization should show you just how much of your identity is wrapped up in your stuff, status, or image.  Do not rush to close the gap.  Let the agony of loss work on you.  Become content with what you have just for today.  Learn the difference between want and need.  Allow your heart to adjust and experience gratitude for what you have.  Learn who you are.
Becoming skilled at financial recovery sets many values and disciplines in place.  It corrects the distortion that comes with addiction.  A strong financial recovery teaches you that God is the one who sustains your life.  This realization is a long long way from dependence on drugs, alcohol, sex, or other addictive behavior.  If you or someone you love is working on recovery, don’t be afraid to discuss the importance of a strong financial recovery.  It can help you win the fight of your life.  For more coaching or counseling on addiction and recovery visit or follow us on Facebook.
Author: Todd Davis, PhD, MFT, LADC

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