Addictions will usually cost you some, if not most or all, of the money you worked so hard to earn. And it’s true that some addictions are cheaper than others. Inhaling home products is very cheap, especially if you are a teen still living at home. But what happens if that addiction leads you to smoke marijuana and that leads you to do harder drugs? Those aren’t cheap! Why do you think many heroin and cocaine addicts have to live on the streets? Why do you think many addicts turn to prostitution or stealing? They have to pay for their habit. And none of these people could foresee their life turning out like this. They never thought this would happen to them, but it did!
Drinking isn’t as expensive as a full-blown drug habit, but it still isn’t cheap. Beer is pretty inexpensive, comparatively speaking. However, it’s also pretty much a love/hate relationship. You either like it, or you don’t. If you don’t like the taste, then other beverages will be more expensive. How often you drink will also be a factor in how much you spend. If you end up becoming an alcoholic, you will be drinking daily. You might as well be pouring your money down the drain. Smoking will also consume a good chunk of your hard-earned cash. This time your money is literally going up in smoke.
As you get older, you’ll have to pay for your standard of living; like where you want to live, what kind of car you want to drive and what kind of clothes you want to wear. And you will have necessities like food, utility bills and cell phone service you’ll have to pay for. Gadgets and technology are now ‘must haves’ like electronic devices, Wi-Fi, TV service, a gaming console and games will consume some of your hard-earned money as well, but all of that is nothing compared to the money you can lose gambling. If you get sucked into a gambling addiction, as a teen, you could lose all the money you make at your job and then some. As an adult, you could lose your car, your home, and your life savings. If you have a family, you could lose them as well as they may leave you.
You have probably seen the magic trick where the magician takes a $20 bill from someone in the audience and makes it disappear. Now you see it. Poof! Now you don’t. Losing your money gambling can happen almost that fast. Now you have it. Poof! Now you don’t.
Take a few minutes to think about what you’d like to spend your money on, first as a teenager, then as an adult. Think hard and make a list. Include pets, entertainment, all kinds of possessions, vacations, etc. Don’t hold back; write down everything you can think of.
If you become addicted to something, know that you’ll have to scratch some things off that list. How many? It depends on what you’re addicted to and how severe the addiction is. Some addicts lose everything, but let’s go half and half. Decide which items you would be more willing to do without as a teen and as an adult. Scratch off half the things on both your lists.
Would you be happy in real life scratching off half your list?
**This is an excerpt from the e-book set ‘Stomp Out Teen Struggles – Addictive Behavior’.