Recovering From Addiction Of A Different Kind: The Addiction To Being Broke


I’ve never had an addiction to drugs or alcohol… but there are other addictions that are just as debilitating and destructive… like the addiction to being broke.

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.” – Jung

Two weeks ago, I took off on a road trip that led to a place I’d rather not visit.

You see, I have a twenty-five year old daughter who is in prison.

Writing and speaking those words seem like a foreign language to me, even now after seven years of watching her life deteriorate from heroin addiction.

Pretty sure I’m not the only parent going through this surreal experience. One of the most transformative changes to occur in me is becoming transparent about the whole thing. No longer do I care about the stigma associated with addicts and their families. I care about reaching out to other moms and dads to be a shoulder, an encourager, a friend – to listen when nothing makes sense in their chaotic world of their child’s addiction.

It’s apparent the problem of addiction is not bound by demographics – it happens in good, stable families as much as it happens in troubled families; it happens to affluent families as often as it occurs in poor ones; it happens in the big cities and in small towns; it happens to honor students, athletes, and class presidents. It happened to us.

She’s in long-term treatment now and as I talk with her, I realized that her recovery from addiction to heroin parallels my recovery from the addiction to being broke.

Think not? Stick with me on this one and you’ll see the similarities between our recovery from addiction.

For the past seven years, she has blamed everyone outside of herself for her addiction – family, friends, school, work… it was always the focus of her reasoning why she couldn’t do better with her life, her choices.

For all my adult life, I blamed everyone outside of myself for my addiction to being broke. My perception was that no one else in my family seemed to have to struggle to pay bills; everyone else was taking vacations and buying new cars; the government took too much out of my paycheck; my employer didn’t give me a good raise; credit card companies practically begged me to use their new card – my life of living paycheck to paycheck and blaming everything and everyone else for the struggle was no different than my daughter’s list of excuses for her heroin addiction.

For the past seven years, I have tried to fix her. I’ve spoken words of encouragement and hope and assurance; I’ve bailed her out of jail; I’ve given her money and a place to live; I’ve visited her in treatment centers, city jails and prisons. Everything I did, every word that I spoke and every letter I wrote was done with the hope that THIS time, she would “get it” this time she would break free from her addiction. She was bombarded with the messages from not only me, but all those who loved her.

In the same way, business opportunities for making money have tried for years to fix me. I have been bombarded with messages of hope and encouragement that financial freedom is possible – within reach. Each message from the endless methods and systems holds the hope that theirs will be the one I choose and will free me from the addiction to being broke.

For the past seven years, she has been through so many treatment programs, that I have lost count. She always rushed through the required work, sat through counseling and finished the programs to allow her release. She knew how to work the system well – always doing just enough to get by – and all indications from the outside were that she had successfully finished the course and would recover from the addiction. When one didn’t work, she found herself sentenced to yet another one to try.

It’s been no different for me… I have signed up and joined so many opportunities for making money from home that I’ve lost count. And, just like my daughter, I’ve rushed through the steps, listened to some of the training and started completing all the steps to lead to success. When one didn’t work, I found another one to try – the bright, shiny object that sparkled the most brilliantly would get my commitment and my money just as my daughter would be enticed by one more “hit” to satisfy her heroin addiction.

But, we both continued to fail. We both remained powerless over our addiction.

We continued to fail until we realized that the answer to recovery from addiction comes from within.

The answer to recovering from any addiction requires taking a hard look at who you are and who you want to become. It requires an understanding of the beliefs that have shaped your life. It demands a release of those beliefs that are pulling you back into a deep dark hole, that are holding you back from moving forward in your recovery from addiction.

She is working on reuniting with the girl she was before the heroin addiction took control. She is creating the woman she wants to be. For the first time in seven years, I see strength and confidence emerging from my daughter, whose self-esteem began plummeting years ago. I see hope and faith springing life into her words. I see her acceptance of responsibility and choices, forgiveness and reconciliation and a spirit of determination to succeed.

And me? My recovery from the addiction to being broke has led me to uncover false beliefs about money that are stored in my subconscious – beliefs that were formed from all that I saw, heard and experienced as a child. In addition, the fear of failure still lurks in my subconscious as well… and requires me to work to purge those self-limiting beliefs that hold me back. I am creating the woman I want to be – financially free to live life on my own terms. My determination to succeed keeps me putting one foot in front of the other, doing whatever it takes to recover from this dead-end addiction.

You see, it isn’t any particular rehab program or the “right” opportunity that is the answer to our recovery from addiction – it’s waking up to the realization that we had the answer all along – inside.

One of my favorite memories of my daughter “before addiction” is when she was just twelve years old and got the lead part as Dorothy in a ballet of the Wizard of Oz. I loved watching her grace the stage with her dancing. As we’ve talked about her recovery, I remind her of what Dorothy discovered at the end of her quest to get back home… that she always had the power within her.

I don’t know if this article troubles or inspires you.

I don’t know what you are dealing with in your life right now.

Addiction of any kind destroys life. We all have the ability to change, to recover from the addiction that is holding us back from being the best we can be.

If you’ve tried and failed so many times you’ve lost count, maybe it’s time to try one more time.

For the first time ever, we are seeing results from the recovery from the addiction to being broke. It’s happening for us and it can happen for you.


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