Almost all of us have bad habits in our lives, but bad habits are exactly what can spiral into harmful addictions, even if your bad habit isn’t illicit drugs or alcohol. In fact, behavioural addictions like gambling, shopping, sex, or even Internet use can have serious consequences on par with the more traditional addictions. And if left unchecked, an addiction of any kind can ruin your finances and destroy the life you once had.
Addiction Is A Short-Term Solution
One of the most important things to understand about addiction is that people use them for instant gratification. Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, or gambling, addictions feel good in the moment, so we have a tendency not to consider the medium- or long-term consequences they bring about. It’s all about the short-term pleasure.
This is a problem because the cost of addiction always increases over time. The more you become addicted, the harder it is to get that instant gratification. Like, for example, building up a tolerance that requires more of a substance to feel the desired effects. If gambling or shopping is your problem, “enough” can routinely leave your vocabulary. And over time, a larger portion of your income becomes dedicated to feeding your addiction, drastically changing your personal finances. You can start prioritizing your addiction above paying your rent or mortgage and other living expenses. And if you didn’t have a lot of superfluous income in the first place, your addiction can be a fast-track to financial trouble. Add family members and kids into the mix, and these financial burdens can take an enormously life-changing toll on those beyond the addict.
In addition to the financial costs of fuelling your addiction, there are a number of secondary consequences of addictions that can harm you both personally and monetarily. Addiction can lead to social problems, most notably a costly divorce that can pile onto your financial troubles. Your addiction can also cause you to isolate yourself from friends and burn bridges with people who might have been willing to help you seek addiction treatment, though many can still be open to help if that’s the purpose for your contact.
Addiction can also have ramifications in your professional life. People with serious addictions tend to lose focus on their job. If this goes on for too long, it’s possible to get fired or lose wages, making it that much harder to make ends meet when you’re still paying to keep up with your addiction. If nothing else, declining work performance can prevent you from earning promotions or bonuses.
Aside from the actual cost of feeding your addiction, there are a number of long-term costs that addicts don’t always recognize. For instance, if you do end up losing your job, an extended period of unemployment can make it that much harder to get a new one. If you get arrested as a result of your addiction, you’ll be left to pay expensive fines and legal bills. Having criminal charges on your record will also make it difficult to get a good job. Even if you manage to eventually kick your habit, large debts, poor credit, and extended unemployment that were all caused by your addiction can make it more difficult to get back on your feet.