My Addictions Have Left Me Broke and Hopeless. – Jane

“Dear Steve,

I don’t know where to start. I am an alcoholic and a drug addict. I got sober when I was 25 years of age. I had no education or skills. I went on welfare. I went to college after that and obtained a professional degree and license. I also met my husband and had two sons. I had a daughter by my first marriage. My husband and I made a good living with both of us working. He died suddenly and I was left with a six year old and a nine year old. Two great kids.

I worked hard, put them through the best schools and picked up a drink after getting involved in a disasterous relationship. I paid for rehab many times out of pocket to get sober again. I have had a year a couple of times, three and a half years once and lately have been unable to stop. I can’t afford rehab anymore. I have about 2000.00 maybe to my name. That’s it. I am 57 years old. I am working, although I dislike my current job and the work is not flowing the way it used to.

I have no idea who you are and why I am even writing this because I have essentially given up hope. My two sons, who are adults are living with me now. My one son is getting his Master’s degree and working full time. My youngest, at 22 is trying to get on his feet in life. They are two good guys and probably the only reason I have not killed myself.

I hate myself for the mistakes I have made, the arrogance I had about money. I feel too overwhelmed and too bike to do anything. Counseling costs money. I have lost faith that I can get sober again in AA.

Are there people who are absolutely broke and hopeless who manage to turn their lives around? Where do they start?


Dear Jane,

It’s probably time to stop beating yourself up over past mistakes. Let’s look forward with optimism and a good attitude. Both are free and can carry you a long way.

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I understand you are feeling financially broken and as if you can’t get ahead. But this situation is a classic example of how money problems are the byproduct of other issues. They are the symptom, not the underlying disease.

If you’ve given up then there is probably nothing myself or anyone else can say to you to help you alter the trajectory your life is on.

But, if you want to try yet again for a better future what I would suggest is to make a job of getting sober. Go to every AA meeting you can find, as often as you can go. Go daily if you can. Get as much medical help as you can.

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You need a group of people that can support you in this journey to act as your guardrails and keep you on the road.

It sounds like you’ve been through rehab so many times that you understand the tough path you have to walk down.

Dealing with the underlying addiction problems and finding a way to corral those under control is absolutely going to be your path to a better financial future, a better job, and a happier life.

I can’t recommend enough “How to Live 365 Days a Year” as an exceptional read to help people in similar situations. Even though the book was written in 1954 it is as powerful and relevant today as it was then.

If possible, my suggestion is you probably need a swift motivational kick in the ass, a great local AA or NA support group, and internal optimism and hope. That’s going to be the formula that helps you to get off this highway at the next exit.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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