When I was in treatment, they had us do an exercise. It was to determine the amount of money we had spent on our alcohol and drug addiction over the years. Between the alcohol, drugs and rock and roll, I estimated my debt was in the neighborhood of $500K. Think about that and let it sink in: $500,000! I was sick to my stomach. I replayed the numbers every which way. I factored in: active years in addiction: 14 total (18 y/o – 32 y/o), # of days I drank alcoholically (give or take) each week: 4, # of weeks in 14 years: 728. Total # of days: 2912. I spent roughly $100 each night I drank, my best estimate – $291,000.
Than I had to factor in these elements: trips that I took that were solely based on binge drinking and drug use: LA, Vegas, NYC, ect, clothes that I had to buy to make sure I ‘looked the part’ and to fit in with the crowd, drinks I had to have on hand at my house for the pre-party and the after-party, the bottles I ordered for ‘bottle service’ (and never asked my friends’ to chip in), the money I paid to make sure we all had the best table and the best server at the best bar. And finally, the amount of drugs (towards the end) that I was consuming put this # out of control. All of that combined, took me over the half a million dollars mark.
The thoughts of what I could have done with $500K drove me crazy. Instead, I had literally spent that money trying to numb myself from the real world. There was no way of getting that money back, there was nothing I could do but start over and try to build my life back up, one day at a time, one dollar at a time.
I could have bought a house, literally I could have paid cash for a house. I could have put that money away and been earning interest in a high yielding mutual fund. I could have bought a house in the mountains, I could have traveled more, I could have lived comfortably for the rest of my life, I could have donated more, I could have done a lot of things, but I chose to poison my body and numb my feelings. My obsession for alcohol and drugs ran so deep I didn’t care how much I was spending.
Seriously? $500K spent on my alcohol and drug addiction! There is a famous sober saying, “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” This is one of those sober practices that is still difficult for me because there are so many drunk nights that I wish I hadn’t spent so much or drunk events that I wish I hadn’t participated in. So for me, this particular saying is meaningful in that I am just one drink away from another $500K slip up into hell.
For those out there still drinking and drugging, I imagine if you take a serious look at exactly what you are spending on feeding your alcohol and drug addiction it is a much higher number than you think.
I spent that $500K, but it was a valuable life lesson to learn. I am very happy and content in my recovery and I wouldn’t change that for the world. Today, I earn way more than money. I earn a high sense of self worth, and that is worth way more than $500K to me!
This article comes to Substance For You courtesy of a great new cause. SoberCityUSA.com who is formed on the philosophy that, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground – stay busy, go to meetings and remember these quotes.” This is why they created Sober Cards, a deck of cards with hope no matter what hand you’re dealt. Their deck of playing cards have quotes that serve as simple inspirational reminders! With Sober Cards™ recovery is possible!
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