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I found this article charming and profound.

Granted, it’s talking about life passion and work, but the concept of should and must struck a chord in me. How does it relate to compulsive debtors and spenders?

For me, it’s about feeling that I SHOULD buy the biggest gift or pay for everyone’s dinner out. I SHOULD do that because what will they think of me if I don’t?

Today, I know that I MUST stay sober with money (i.e., not debt) if I want to live a life of integrity … and that may mean separate checks and a small present, or maybe no present at all if I don’t have the funds to purchase it.

This idea of what is expected by the world vs. what I know is the right path to take is powerful in many ways, but certainly true regarding my addiction. How I looked to the world (and my family, friends, and PARTICULARLY my son) often drove my spending.

The external world’s view, others’ expectations, my wrong thinking before recovery, are all examples of SHOULDS. Today, I can get messages from that still, small voice inside of me and I’m starting to listen. I thought the messages would be blared as from trumpets. But no. I get little nudgings that could easily be missed. So with each day of sobriety AND recovery, the easier it is to hear the quiet messages of MUST.

Let me know how you see this article relating to your recovery from compulsive debting.

The Crossroads of Should and Must

I did something insane. It didn’t seem insane at the time. But as I sit here today, it sure feels crazy.

Toward the end of May, I decided to enact a three month spending moratorium on a single category: Discretionary. My Discretionary category covers art supplies, books, entertainment, etc.

I guess I didn’t realize that three months was 90 whole days when I made this pledge. Insane, right?

But not really. Probably incredibly sane. Here’s why.
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Someone recently asked me if it is considered debting in DA HOW if you are at the grocery store and spend more than you committed, but call your sponsor as soon as you get home to let her know.

To find an answer, I just read through What is DA HOW, The HOW Concept, and Reflections for the Newcomer. None of them directly address this issue. The closest I could come was this quote: “If the newcomer insists on debting before picking up the telephone, there is a breakdown in the level of communication between the sponsor and the newcomer.” From Reflections for the Newcomer
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“It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.” (Page 66 of the Big Book.)

Are justice and compassion mutually exclusive? I have been thinking about this for days. I believe they may be for those of us in 12 Step Programs if we are to have any peace.

Here’s what I mean. When I see something I consider unjust, I feel myself getting all riled up. Adrenaline begins to flow and self-righteous indignation is the result. I spout off (often loudly) about the injustice of it all. I can get myself utterly worked up. And that is not good for my recovery (or my health).

In trying to live a life of peace, when I am wronged I am told in the Big Book to show “tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend.” (page 67) I am assuming that this extends out to harms perpetrated on anyone. Otherwise, the Big Book would say that it is OK to be enraged at the court system if you disagree with a verdict or the government if they don’t behave as you would like. Instead, the Big Book says on page 66:

But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintence and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die. If we were to live, we had to be free of anger.

That means I cannot afford to get worked up over anything. That means that I have to find a way to meet injustice with compassion. Or I will eventually relapse into compulsive debting.

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“We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.” From the Big Book’s Foreword to the First Edition, page xiii.

Yesterday, I went to a Big Book meeting in my food fellowship, where people who are abstinent refer to themselves as recovered. I asked someone why they do that, and they referred me to the Big Book. The word recovered is mentioned 19 times in the Big Book referring to the disease of alcoholism.
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I just read an excellent article about the purpose of meditation for those in 12 Step Recovery and wanted to pass it on to you.

http://after9thoughts.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/when-meditation-doesnt-work/

Really thought-provoking. I find meditation crucial to my recovery and to my ability to find any sense of peace. When I miss a day, I am definitely not feeling as balanced. Plus, as I have written previously, every time I sit without running screaming out of the room when my body or mind is in pain, it teaches me to do the same thing when faced with obsession so that I can sit still and not act on it even if it is uncomfortable. Just as the racing thoughts or body pain in meditation pass if I continue sitting, so, too, does my death struggle with instant gratification pass if I just work my program and don’t give in.

In all 12 Step programs, we are told that we can change sponsors at will. This sounds light and uncomplicated, but in reality, it is rarely so easy. We develop deep relationships with our sponsors and sponsees, often blurring the line between friendship and the sponsor/sponsee relationship.

I have been on both ends of bad breakups and let me tell you, it hurts either way. Most painful were the breakups where I thought a friendship transcended program and was unpleasantly surprised to discover it didn’t. I have also been involved with simple, considerate breakups, and there is a world of difference between them.

Because of this, I would like to give you some thoughts and suggestions about how to maximize this relationship.
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