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Lesson 1 - What is Financial Sobriety?

Mar 21, 2023

I am so excited to announce

the launch of Financial Sobriety School!  

My mission is, is to help people stop overspending stop impulse spending stop addictively spending money on stuff that they don't need, and starting to build daily habits, starting to build systems, and being able to come to a place where you're making clear sober decisions with your money. This is Financial Sobriety.

One of the key foundations is sober spending. And what does that look like? What I think sober spending is, is making clear, aligned, conscious decisions. My story is that I was completely addicted to spending money. And I was obsessed with being able to buy things. I thought credit cards were my money, I thought that the limit on my credit card was permission to buy whatever I wanted and I had no consciousness about it. I just went for it. And I know that there's a lot of us out there who struggle with the addiction of spending money, the obsession, the impulses, the compulsion to spend money we maybe don't have. Most of the time, there's a lot of debt that starts to pile up. There's a lot of shame, SO much shame and that is why I've started Financial Sobriety School. It is a place for people to come and learn how to stop addictively spending their money, get clear about the way they are with money, getting in touch with our feelings, instead of trying to push everything down and spending our money and buying things we don't need. I know that that's what I was doing.

I was in a very, very high stressful job as a financial advisor at a bank here in Canada and I was spending money and escaping in stores and online. I was so stressed, I would go on my lunch hours and spend hundreds of dollars on dresses, outfits for work, shoes, because if I looked good, I mattered. Now I know that's not true. Now that I have done my work with my money.

I was thankfully able to leave my job of being a financial advisor three and a half years ago, the job felt like it was literally sucking my soul.  I've been doing money coaching now for over five years and, I see so many people needing help.

What is financial sobriety? What does that mean? As I said before it’s the addiction to spending money, it is compulsion, it is that wanting to stop spending that way, it is coming from a state of being completely overwhelmed to a state of being clear, being conscious, mindful, and understanding what is going on with your money, how you're spending your money, planning to spend your money and acceptance on what has brought you here and going forward with abundance and creating hope for yourself with your money.

I know that it might sound completely impossible and you have no idea where to start.  You probably can't even think that that can happen, and believe me, I've been there. I know exactly what that that feeling is and that's why I have created financial sobriety school and the overall movement of financial sobriety releasing that stigma of shame, and starting to create hope healing your relationship with money and leaving that addictive spending behind you.

I honestly never thought in my life that being able to stop overspending was something I could have done. I understand your feelings. This is a no judgment zone at the Financial Sobriety School because sometimes we do things just to survive and in the world that we're living in with consumerism and capitalism, it is actually completely normal that you're feeling this way.

When I started to do the research for Financial Sobriety School, I was so grateful to see that now there is a medical term that they are treating the disorder of compulsion spending, and what they're calling it is Oniomania. What Oniomania is described in the medical world, is a disorder that's often linked to deprivation in childhood, an inability to tolerate negative feelings, and the need to fill a void. It is excitement seeking, it is excessive dependency, its approval seeking perfectionism, and general impulsiveness and compulsiveness and the need to gain control. This is exactly what it feels like to be in the depth of a spending addiction and what it looked like for me.

When I was heavy in my spending addiction, I needed to feel accepted, I needed to feel like I was worth something. There are sometimes people who give too much and buy a lot of presents for people, because that's how they show their love. You could be showing yourself love or your kids love with things that you're buying.  Isn't there more to life than that? That's a question I ask with being able to look at your money from a sober lens and knowing that there is something much bigger than just spending the money. What is that void you're trying to fill? What are you trying to numb out on? What feelings are you trying to hide from when you get really, really quiet. You may not be able to do that, because that compulsion is there, that obsession is there. This is why I do the work that I do in Financial Sobriety to help break these patterns. Let’s pause, let's try to be conscious, let's try to be mindful with our money.

In this day and age, it is normal to not look at your money unless you have a lot of money. Those of us who are in a lot of debt, are really scared to look at our money, and then start to spiral and then create a whole system and conditioning of feeling shame because of our obsession with spending money and buying things. No wonder we want to be ostriches with our heads in the sand!

With the obsession of spending money comes that dopamine hit when you actually spend and now the whole thing with the internet and online shopping and all of that it's so easy to just hit BUY NOW BUY NOW. That dopamine hit happens to you all the time when we just open the apps or are on the websites. In this world, we're seeking so much dopamine because our poor nervous systems don't know what the heck to do with ourselves. We start numbing out with spending. That's what we start to use as a coping mechanism. This is the work we need to do, having the coping skill be spending, getting our dopamine hit from somewhere else.

 There are things we can control with money and there's things we can't control with money. For example, if something fell on your roof or tree came through your roof and hopefully your insurance is great, but you have to pay a deductible, this is completely out of your control. What can be in your control is starting to take control, take the power back, changing your story with money and being able to make decisions with a clear mind and not all of the fogginess and get really clear on what you want with money.

Money needs clarity. Money needs clarity because it needs you needs to know what you expect from it. When your money gets deposited from your paycheck or however you earn your income, you actually need to have a plan for that on what you want to happen with that money. Because if you don't within a few days, within a few hours, that money will be gone. We need to get clear on your expenses, your income, all of that, but also connecting with our hearts connecting to our bodies, connecting with our feelings, to be able to make clear, aligned conscious decisions with our money.

I have created seven foundations of financial sobriety:

The 7 foundations of Financial Sobriety

  1. Understanding the financial feels
  2. Financial Sobriety Systems
  3. Financial Inventory
  4. Sober Spending
  5. Financial Literacy
  6. Surviving to Thriving 
  7. Financial Sobriety Big Picture

I will go into detail as the series continues of going into each foundation individually. I am so excited to share these teachings with you!

Financial Sobriety School is officially in session!