Is Recovery Worth The Investment?

What would you pay to gain 4 hours a day?

Through my work, I have come to see that many people don’t put a proper value on recovery from drug or alcohol use. I encourage people to think about recovery as an investment in themselves.

Often people value sobriety through the money they would save by not using. Someone who drinks too much might spend $25 per day on alcohol, while a heroin addict might spend $200. That’s potentially thousands of dollars per year.

When someone first considers getting sober, they often want to do it in the quickest, cheapest, and easiest way possible. But to value recovery we really have to value how much using drugs or alcohol costs us emotionally, physically, and economically. We also have to look at the opportunity costs of drug and alcohol use.

People call me about loved ones and say, “All I want is for him/her to stop drinking.” I always ask, “Is that really all you want?” The answer is always no. That’s not all the person wants; usually they go on to say something like, “Well, I also want him/her to get new friends, find a job, and move out of the house.” So, no, the person doesn’t just want their loved one just to quit drinking; they want this person to live a whole new life.

When someone that is suffering reaches out for help, they often remain unwilling to make a financial investment in recovery. I look at what their use is actually costing them by asking the following questions.

  • Are there problems in your relationship?
  • Have you been divorced, or has divorce been threatened?
  • Do you have full custody of your children? Is that in jeopardy?
  • Does your employer know about your drinking or drug use?
  • Are you maintaining important friendships?
  • Are you maintaining important family relationships?
  • Are you working? Are you working to your full potential?
  • Do you have any health concerns?
  • How many hours do you spend under the influence every day?
  • Do you wake up sick?
  • Do you spend as much time as you would like with your spouse, children, and pets?
  • Do you sleep in until ten, eleven, or twelve?

By the time someone reaches out for help, they’re usually in the advanced throes of addiction. Life in deep addiction almost always looks pretty isolated: friends and family have pulled away, employers are aware (or the job is in jeopardy), bad financial decisions may have been made.

Addiction takes times away. It’s not uncommon for someone to start drinking in the middle of the day or in early evening, perhaps even every day. They may lose more time every day on a hangover. It’s easy for someone to spend 4-6 hours a day on their addiction and then be under the weather for 4 hours the next morning. Sobriety can return that time for you. What would you do with an extra four hours every day? Would you take up a sport? A side job? Or just be a better parent?

The best gift that sobriety can give you is more time.

Someone in advanced addiction may not only be spending a lot of time and money on drugs or alcohol – they may be close to, or past, losing everything. If they’re working, they’re often underemployed.

Sobriety will change everything. Your physical health may return, your relationships with friends and family may be repaired, and you may return to work in full force. All of these changes can be accomplished in a matter of months.

When putting a dollar value on recovery, consider how much money you would pay to change everything in your life. How much would you pay to keep your children? How much would you pay to keep your job? How much would you pay on your child’s behalf to totally change their life? How much would you pay to have four more hours in a day?

A short-term investment in recovery like going to treatment, attending therapy, and hiring a coach may feel like a lot, but the trade-off can last a lifetime. The financial benefits may include a better job, and the other benefits may include a whole lot of things that don’t have a dollar value – like healthier living, a better connection with your family, fewer problems in life, and even an extended lifespan.

Sobriety is an investment. What is it worth to you?

Adam Banks is a certified recovery coach and interventionist at Suntra Modern Recovery.  He received an MBA from the University of Chicago and built a company which United Health Care acquired. He learned his rigor and attention to detail from his career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.

Suntra Modern Recovery provides medical treatment for alcohol and opiate addictions via video visit with medical doctors. Suntra’s alcohol and drug intervention services are available in New York, Long Island, and the Hamptons. Treatment for opiate and heroin addiction, including Suboxone treatment, can start today.

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