Money Drunk Money Sober : Has Money Ever Been a Relapse into another Addiction

For this current time period, I am working through Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan’s book Money Drunk, Money Sober before I work through the Prosperous Heart. The following blog entries are in response to prompts and experiences from the book. I see this as an extension of my Artist’s Way work. Some of my entries are jarring and highly personal – any program of sobriety and self-improvement demands admitting dysfunction both personally and in family, and it also calls to admit some painful truths. While not everything I work on appears here, a number of realities do. I have a genuine body of work thanks to my work on the Artist’s Way program, and I can’t ignore the changes the continual commitment has brought about. Because of that, I also can’t ignore what going further into the harder aspects of the program – like facing money issues – has the potential to improve.

If we go with the concept that the chemicals produced by the brain during depression are the same as those produced in any addiction cycle, then yes. Financially irresponsible behavior is a sign I am depressed, and feel abandoned. That’s when I spend the most recklessly, avoid looking at my accounts, and accumulate crap I really don’t need 0r overcompensate by spending on others. The two time it was the most obvious was right after I finished my bachelor’s degree/got married the first time, and right after I got divorced.  I didn’t do this after my father died, but there were additional complications that intervened: that year and the year following were very stressful. My family was completely unsupportive of me, deciding that their grief was “more important” than mine, (when I express emotion to them, it’s generally met with “Oh Look! It thinks it’s a person!) and treated my attempts to be supportive of them not as acts of love but as debts they were owed.

Mike was determined to push through the wedding even though it was spectacularly rough on me when I was already pretty raw. I had zero economic power at that time, and between the savings we blew through to stay with my father during his last days and the money we spent on the wedding, I didn’t have any room to go on a wild spending spree. Not that I wouldn’t have, given the opportunity.

Definitely unchecked depression finds its way into my spending – while I haven’t bounced a check in years, I’m well aware that my slight overspending right now is in part looking at how I think about money in an honest way. It’s terrifying. It’s harder than any other introspection I’ve ever done, and the mixed messages we give ourselves about money is even more fucked up than what we tell ourselves about bodies. It’s no wonder I’m in a weird state between my to-do list and a canary in my inner coal mine.