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Family Finances & Money

How a Family Member with an Addiction can Harm Your Finances

cigarette-599485_640Discovering a loved one is struggling with an addiction must be one of the worst things you can experience in your life. Wanting to support a family member is only natural but many times your offers of help will go unheard – and maybe even violently refused. And all addictions have their financial implications.

But it is not just the addicted individual who will face financial and personal problems – it is the entire family that is affected. It can be very hard trying to help a family member with an addiction and sometimes you will have to do things that don’t make you feel good about yourself. But sorting out the money side of things for you and your loved one is imperative.

Cost of addiction

As well as the physical pain that affects an addicted individual, the financial impact can quickly have a disastrous effect on everyone involved. It doesn’t really matter what the addiction is – the strain on the family’s money situation can be catastrophic.

Alcohol and drug addictions can eat up savings as the addicted loved one attempts to buy more and more of what they need. People addicted to gambling will obviously have financial problems – and they may not even see the loss of more money as a sign to stop, but think that the only way to get out of the hole is to spend more money trying to ‘win it all back’.

Even problems that are seldom discussed, such as shopping addictions, will cause no end of monetary woe as large credit debts are racked up by people unable to stop buying more clothes, electrical goods or anything else that feeds their need to buy.

Problems arising from addiction

As an addiction grows, the need to feed it will cost even more. As an individual can think of nothing else apart from feeding his or her addiction, everything else pales into insignificance. They just need to get their hit, so money becomes a means to an end – how they get it fails to bother them.

A knock-on effect of addiction is that because the person involved cares only for their need, everything else falls by the wayside – including employment. When they eventually lose their job, that just makes it even harder to raise the funds needed to further their addiction.

At this point, family members will find that their financial problems will begin as well, as you are just seen as a source of money. Loyalties can be lost as quickly as the money, due to theft or ‘loaning’ the addicted loved one cash because of a misplaced desire to help.

Solving the problem

It is never going to be easy helping a family member kick their addiction, but for the sake of their lives and the financial security of everyone close to them, you have to do something.

Keeping money away from them is key. You may feel that as long as it is you who provide them with money then they won’t be trying to get it in any other unthinkable way. But this is just one of the ways that family members enable addiction. If the person involved is a loved one who shares a bank account, you should think seriously about opening separate accounts unknown to them, to make sure that all your money is not spent on their addiction.

You must realize that you cannot do everything on your own and that there are professionals out there who can help you before it is too late. When the addicted person is a son or daughter, it can be even harder to bear, but organizations use social media to reach out, so looking at sites such as Newport Academy’s twitter page could give you some relevant background and some welcome ideas of how to get on the road to recovery.

Support groups exist, not only for the addicted, but for all those affected, so if you find that your personal life and finances are getting out of control as well, you should seek out a local organization that can give you peace of mind and help you sort out your problems before they become irrecoverable.

It can be a long hard road to help a family member out of addiction but you know that it is something you will need to do if you find yourself in that situation – and looking after the financial side will be just one of your struggles.

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James

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