Money, in any close relationship, will at some point become an important topic that must be discussed and mutually agreed upon. That is, how much money is going to be allocated for living expenses, future large purchases such as a house, car, or trip, and savings.

It never occurred to me that my guy had no idea how to manage money, nor had any idea the value of money. This, I learned can be a prison mentality. This learned behavior is a result of living in prison without having to pay rent, utilities, car payments, and other living expenses. Consequently, all money goes towards self-pleasure items; unhealthy foods purchased from the canteen, or packages purchased through an approved prison vendor. I haven’t heard of any money management being taught to prisoners or any prisoners putting money away to start a new life when he/she is released.

When I say the value of money I’m referring to the time it takes to honestly earn a dollar, understanding the cost of goods and services for that hard earned money and how quickly that hard earned money can be spent. The value of money diminish even more when that person with this prison mentality adds illegal drug use to the equation. I found this out the hard way from my guy.

When my guy came home he enrolled in a trade school, got certified in several fields and begin working and making good money. He was handling and managing his finances, including saving money. However, once he made the decision to self-medicate due to post-incarceration syndrome issues, neither of us were aware existed at the time. His ability to manage money swiftly spiraled to being irresponsible with money and untrustworthy in having access to money.

During his active addiction, he wasted tens of thousands of dollars on drugs. You can imagine this caused a big problem within our relationship leading to me reluctantly having to take over full control of handling all our finances. As he is moving further into his recovery he is beginning to acknowledge that, as a young man he had no money management skills. He had the mindset that whatever he wanted he spent his money to get. His financial responsibilities on other matters was of no consequence. That was until he felt pressed and committed crimes to get money to take care of whatever that matter was. Which, of course, lead him to prison.

Because of his willingness to work through his drug addiction, learned prison mentality, and addressing issues related to his post-incarceration syndrome we are able to work on hard issues that challenge our relationship.