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Calculating the Cost of Your Addiction in Dollars

cost of addiction in dollars

Just how expensive is it to maintain your addiction? 

We’re all aware of the cost addictions can have on a person’s health and the relationships they hold dear. And we’ve all heard stories about someone who’s “hit rock bottom”, ending up hospitalized, alone, and alienated from family and friends. 

While it’s clear these health and relationship costs can be immense and devastating, they’re also difficult to quantify. 

One thing that IS calculable, however, is the financial cost of an addiction.  

And the math might surprise you.

Remember The Latte Factor

If you’ve never heard of the latte factor, it’s a phrase coined by author David Bach. 

The idea behind it is twofold. First, those small, day-to-day purchases (like a $5 latte) when eliminated, can actually provide you with a significant—and often surprising—sum of money. And secondly, most of us vastly underestimate how much we spend on even small purchases and habits over the course of weeks, months, or years. 

For instance, if you invested the $5 you spend a day on a latte at a 10% return, you’d end up with $30,000 in just ten years. 

Of course, if you’re dealing with an addiction, you’re likely spending a little more than that. 

Even at a conservative $15 a day (which amounts to just a few beers at home, or just one or two at a bar), you’d end up with $93,000 during that same time period and a whopping $346,000 over 20 years! 

It’s an interesting (and eye-opening) way to look at your spending, and you can calculate your potential savings with an online calculator here.

It’s Not Just What You Spend—It’s What You Never Earn

It would be easy to assume that the cost of an addiction is simply the money you spend to feed it. For many people, however, those “hard costs” often pale in comparison to the toll it can take on your earning potential.

The science tells us that addictions generally make you less productive, less reliable, and in many cases, more difficult to work with. 

Addictions are also incredibly hard on your body, and as a result, they often lead to more sick days, fewer promotions, and significant lost wages. And when the addiction starts to take over, it can cost you your job.

That kind of reputational stain can lead to prolonged unemployment and potentially even the loss of your ability to practice in your field. In extreme cases, you might even wind up incarcerated.  

Either way, it can cost you years of lost productivity and a lifetime of stunted earnings.

The Hidden Fees

Once an addiction gains full steam, it can create chaos. And that chaos also comes with a price tag. 

Continued health issues may lead to higher insurance premiums and expensive recovery. Driving under the influence could raise your premiums by as much as 300% and cost you a bundle in legal fees and fines, and of course, jail time. 

Of course, when you’re missing work, paying fines, and escalating your spending, that often leads to missed bill payments, unpaid debts, late fees, and more. Over time, these add up in a big way.

Keeping the Door Open

In the end, the dollar cost of an addiction has much to do with the doors that are closed when the addiction takes over. 

The combination of lost savings, lost opportunities, lost employment, lost reputation, and yes, lost time, can really stunt your ability to create the life you’re looking for. 

We Can Help You

Ledgehill’s two facilities in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, provide gender-specific treatment for men and women who need to heal in a peaceful, supportive environment free from fear or distraction. If you’d like to learn more about the addiction and mental health treatment programs provided by Ledgehill, enrol yourself in one of our programs, or refer someone else, please call us at 800-676-3393.

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