If you are anything like the millions of other Americans who pay taxes, April is not on the top of your list of favorite months. April can be an extremely hard time, having to determine what you owe in both Federal and state taxes can be extremely frustrating and time consuming. What’s more, you may be asked to come up with money that you do not have. The list of reasons why can range from unexpected health bills to sudden loss of employment. At the end of the day, the month of April could be summed up in one word—stressful.
Such stress can be especially poisonous to one’s program of recovery. Financial worries can cause people to want to ease their troubled mind. If one, in the past, has typically relieved stress with mind-altering substances, the “ides” of April is one of the riskier times of the year—particularly for those in early recovery. Years of not paying one’s taxes could fall under the umbrella of “wreckage of one’s past.”
It practically goes without saying that people caught in the grips of addiction, even those who manage to function enough to hold down a job, are not the most diligent when it comes to budgeting and accounting. When choosing between one’s next high or drunk and paying one’s income tax, addiction dictates where your priorities likely lie. It is not uncommon for people in recovery to owe years in back taxes.
Holding On To Your Recovery During Tax Season
When working a program of addiction recovery, clearing up the wreckage of your past to the best of your ability is of the utmost importance. It is part of the process of acknowledging where you went wrong and doing the best you can to make it right, as part of your new commitment to recovery. Financial restitution or amends is often a part of people’s recovery process. And you may not be rich or in place to pay it all off at once, which means that getting right with the “tax man” will take some time.
If you attend meetings of recovery, there is a high likelihood that several people in any given meeting are chipping away at debt. While they may not like it, they do it because they are willing to go to any lengths… and it is vital that calm is exercised. Understanding that paying off debt, like recovery, does not happen overnight. It is a process that demands patience, lest you get worked up about it. Fixating on such wreckage can send you into a tailspin that may be difficult to pull out of. If you are new to recovery, and just filed your taxes for the first time in years…then it is strongly advised that stay close to your support network (i.e. sponsor and recovery peers).
You are not alone, and a problem is only as big as you make it. At times like these it can be easy to desire solitude, isolating yourself from your program—a slippery slope to relapse. If you find yourself getting down on yourself, talk to your peers or share about it at a meeting. Somebody else in the room knows first-hand what you are going through, they can help you see that in time this too will pass. But they cannot help you, if you do not ask for support.
If you are currently in the grips of active addiction, April is likely to be just as frustrating for you. A reminder of the endless troubles that have arisen due an illness that has gone untreated. Perhaps you are ready to turn your life around? Please contact Hope by The Sea, we can help you break the cycle of addiction, equip you with tools and set the foundation that will help you build a new life in recovery. Treatment can be the first step to turning your life around and clearing up the wreckage of your past.