According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “average” American spends approximately $565 on alcohol a year . That doesn’t seem like an extraordinarily large amount of money, and maybe it isn’t, but there is a reason I put the word “average” in quotations. As someone who considers themselves to have the disease of addiction, I am not an average American when it comes to the amount of money I spend on alcohol a year. So, to get a sense of what an addicted person spends on alcohol, I composed a list of what I have spent/lost over my 16-year drinking career. These numbers are not exact, but they should give us a decent enough idea.
I estimated the amount I have spent on alcohol itself, the costs of the legal issues that have manifested related to alcohol, the money I lost during the times I was unemployed due to choices I made while consuming alcohol, and the amount of money I have spent on things I have ruined, broken, or lost while intoxicated. The estimated amount comes out to a disgusting sum of $69,225. The yearly average would be skewed if I averaged out the 16 total years because I estimated that I only spent about $1,700 from the time I was 12 to 20 years old, compared to the whopping $67,525 I lost from the time I got my first OWI at the age of 21 to my present age, which is 28 years old. In the past seven years, I have lost approximately $9,650 a year to alcohol and alcohol-related costs.
I do not know your specific situation, but the chances are that if you are suffering from the disease of addiction, you are also losing some money to your drug of choice every year. Depending on your circumstance, this amount could be less, and it could be more. Regardless, I think it is safe to say that both you and I have better things we could invest our money in. Today you can save copious amounts of money!
(Photo by Alexander Mils)