From Addiction to FI

106 | From Addiction To FI | Ms. Fiology

Deanna, blogger at, shares her journey from drug and alcohol addiction to recovery, paying off six-figures of personal debt, and getting started on her path toward financial independence. She also wrote an article for ChooseFI detailing her journey.

  • Deanna started looking for security in drugs and alcohol in her teens, becoming a high-functioning addict for more than a decade.
  • After getting sober, Deanna spent time discovering how and why she fell into these patterns.
  • How did Deanna’s early interactions with her parents impact her choices as teen?
  • If pursuing FI means sacrificing time with your children today, think hard about it.
  • What caused Deanna to walk away from drugs, alcohol and an abusive relationship?
  • Although she was able to live a double life and fool many people, a handful of people in Deanna’s life saw her actions and confronted her.
  • When Deanna got sober in 2010 she had six-figures of personal debt, though she took about four years to work on her recovery before fully addressing her finances.
  • Deanna started chipping away on her debt following principles of Dave Ramsey’s “debt snowball” concept, and budget help from a person at her church.
  • Deanna’s house went into foreclosure after she was unable to pay for some significant repairs, which damaged her credit, but after paying all her debt a few years later her credit is back to excellent.
  • How did Deanna drive down life costs when she started paying off debt on a $40k salary?
  • Deanna moved back into her parents’ house for two years to pay off her debt.
  • The method behind Dave Ramsey’s “debt snowball” is to list all your debts from smallest to largest regardless of interest rate, then begin to pay them smallest to largest.
  • Paying off debts always starts with writing it all down and making a plan.
  • Debt free since Jan. 2018, what is Deanna doing with her paycheck now?
  • Deanna is starting late on her FI journey, but she is on track to reach FI in 14 years.

Listen to Brad and Jonathan's thoughts about this episode here.

Links mentioned in the show:

ESI Money

Saving Joyfully

Essentialism – Greg McKeown

Your Financial Resilience Toolkit

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19 thoughts on “106 | From Addiction To FI | Ms. Fiology”

  1. What a powerful story. I teared up several times during the episode. Aside from the FI part of the story, I think Deanna’s story about her relationship with her dad is speaking to me at this point in my life.

  2. Thank you for this episode! #imnotcryingyourecrying I was greatly encouraged by Deanna’s story and her message of HOPE that it’s never too late! It’s never too late to start making better decisions, to pursue a life of FI, to heal your relationships, and to find your purpose. I started my FI journey two years ago at age 47. I am still paying off debt and at times have felt like giving up. Deanna’s story and her blogs inspire me to persevere and to stay positive. Love her humility, her strength and her desire to serve others. I discovered ChooseFI via her website four months ago.

    • Hey Jessica!! You are awesome. We are kindred spirits! I love walking this journey with others and I simply cannot wait to meet you :). Great comment, keep going!

  3. I am glad to hear a story on Choose FI that highlights a single person making these difficult and important choices — and how she’s succeeding! I feel deeply inspired

  4. Hi Bri! Yes, being single on the path to FI has some obvious disadvantages BUT as another wise woman told me, it’s kinda cool that it’s all on me to achieve it. However, I’m certainly open to my marital status changing in the process. For now, Imma keep going 😉

    Cheers & thank you for the comment!

  5. Wow. What a testimony! I can’t wait to follow you on your FI journey and even after you hit FI! You have rejuvenated me with your story. I can relate in so many ways.
    Merry Christmas and God Bless Deanna.

    • Thank you, Daniel! I figure if I had to live it, I might as well share it and give others hope :).

      Thanks for the comment. Merry Christmas and God bless to you and yours.

  6. Thank you Brad and Jonathan. And THANK YOU Deanna. This is by far the most inspiring podcast I’ve heard all year. An instant classic that will surely help a ton of people. I especially admired Deanna’s willingness to move back home at such an advanced age. It takes a lot of guts to do something like that. And it’s a perfect example of how egotrage can be used to improve one’s finances. You’re a true inspiration, Deanna. Best of luck on your journey to FI.

    • Mr. Groovy, I had to google egotrage and your article was the first thing that came up, haha! Nice! I guess that’s what I did 😉

      Thank you so much for your kind words. These comments are tearing me up. Everyone is overwhelmingly supportive.


  7. My face is still covered in tears, one of the most touching and inspirational stories I have ever heard.
    Really shows that with determination, resilience, hard work and faith we can really dig ourselves out of any situation. Of course, Deanna’s degree of determination and mental strength is apparently more than just exceptional, but so was the situation she ended up in.
    As someone who just started their FI journey at almost 38 and a lifetime of bad choices and addiction, this story was so incredibly powerful I don’t even have the words for it.

  8. Hey, I am so glad it impacted you. That’s why I tell it – to inspire others to know it’s never too late. I don’t care what kind of bad past choices you’ve made, we can start anew, right?! That’s the beauty of this life:).
    We all have access to:
    1. A re-set button
    2. Reflection & reconciliation
    3. Repair
    4. Amends
    5. Re-frame
    6. Renew

    May you find peace in your journey. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  9. After listening to your story, Deanna, and after wiping some tears away, I forwarded a link to the podcast to my Niece and Nephew-in-law who I recently talked to about beginning to budget (using YNAB) and save and invest (using Vanguard). After several motivational and informational email exchanges I believe they are both on-board to begin their adventure towards FI! I can’t wait to hear their reaction to your story. Thanks so much for telling it!

  10. Wow, this story is powerful. It is nice to hear from people who don’t have a perfectly tidy track record of flawless financial decisions and orderly circumstances. Struggles are relatable. I don’t know how you tell your story without having to emotionally relive it. I am struggling with that.
    Nice to hear a single FI voice, they don’t realize how much weight we shoulder. Now I need to go work on an old relationship. The influence this “financial” podcast has is incredible.

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