After two decades of addiction, my husband, Dean, had finally accepted treatment. He was on the right path and ready to begin a fresh start. As he returned home, clean and full of hope, the joy I felt for his long-awaited recovery was joined by the sobering reality of debt. Years of addiction had taken it’s toll on our finances, and it was difficult to deny the anger and resentment that surfaced along with the overdue bills and collection letters.

I was more than aware of our monetary problems, but, up to now, the addiction was the higher priority. I suppose that trying to deal with both issues at the same time was too overwhelming for me, so I buried my head in the sand when it came to our finances.

But now, as we entered this new chapter, we were forced to face the consequences of financial irresponsibility. With our credit cards maxed out, the equity in our home borrowed against (addiction treatment is not cheap), and our savings wiped out, a new challenge stood before us.

I understood how harmful stress can be on recovery. Money problems are enough to drive any marriage apart, when you add in the problems of addiction, it can be a devastating mix. I came to realize how important it was for me to accept responsibility for my own role in our debt.

Although I was the one in charge of managing our finances, I had allowed my husband’s threats, tantrums, and depression to break me down. I gave in, over and over again, handing him money that I knew we couldn’t afford. The addiction had zapped us both of our strength. Dean lacked the strength to say no to his drugs, and I lacked the strength to say no to Dean.

Knowing that continued resentment could only tear us apart and possibly lead to relapse, we made a pact to work together to get through this next hurdle. If our marriage could survive addiction, it could certainly survive the challenge of debt .

The first step was digging in and figuring out exactly where we stood. We sat down and listed the balances in our checking and savings accounts (which were alarmingly low), the amounts owed on credit cards (alarmingly high), and any outstanding loans. We made a list of our monthly expenses (looking for opportunities to cut down on certain expenses). Last, but not least, we reviewed our credit reports from each of the three Credit Bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

While this process was difficult, it was also vital. Knowledge is power, and knowing where we stood made it possible to design a roadmap that would guide us out of our debt. Now, several years later, by following a plan and budget, we are nearly debt free.

Is it time to look at your own financial reality? Sometimes the hardest part can be facing the truth, but it’s the first and most important step. Once you know where you stand, you can make a plan. While addiction can cause long-lasting financial strain, through acceptance, forgiveness, and planning, you can overcome these effects and eventually achieve financial recovery.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Espich is the author of the multi award-winning book, "Soaring Above Co-Addiction: Helping your loved one get clean, while creating the life of your dreams". To preview the first chapter of her book and download a Free Guided Meditation visit her website at