Where to Begin for Beginners

If you are brand new to DA (or new to the DA HOW concept), it may all seem overwhelming. But this is your first chance to practice living one day at a time and keeping it simple.

As a beginner, here is what I did:

1. Cut up all your credit cards and cancel all your accounts. Yes, this may seem terrifying, but the only way to stop debting is to stop using unsecured debt. Leaving even one (“just for an emergency”) is like keeping a bottle of liquor in your house for guests when you first get sober.

2. Write down every penny you spend and the category in which you spent it. For instance, $2.07 coffee out. Be diligent and vigilant in keeping track of everything you spend.

3. Get to as many DA or DA HOW meetings as you can. Here is a link to live meetings and here is a link to phone meetings.

4. Take down phone numbers and email addresses of people you hear on those meetings who have what you want. AND CALL THEM! Call at least one person a day and up to five before giving up if no one answers (leave messages with your phone number too).

Now, this is important. If someone doesn’t call you back, be persistent. That does not mean you should stalk them. But give it a few days and then try again. Be respectful, please. Remember, we all have our own issues and it may be that this person gets more phone calls than he or she can handle. Try someone else. Don’t be set on only getting a certain person.

5. Find a sponsor. In DA HOW, this can be challenging. I know people find it frustrating that you need a sponsor for your daily calls, but please remember that for each sponsor, each sponsee takes 15 minutes of time, usually in the morning. Think about your own schedule and you may understand why there are limits to how many people a sponsor can take on.

To find a sponsor, be patient. Establish relationships with sponsors so they get to know you. Don’t just call to ask for sponsorship, but make your daily outreach call to sponsors just to get to know them and for them to get to know you. You may find that someone you thought would be perfect for you, may not really have what you want. And someone you thought wouldn’t be a good match, would be.

Take on a temp sponsor, if necessary. But if all that fails, for the moment, just make calls to different sponsors each day to give your numbers and assignment. I have done that. We all have. It will make you stronger in your commitment to see that you are determined to stay abstinent.

Remember, no one DA HOW member is your Higher Power.

6. If you want to work a DA HOW program, start answering the 90 questions. Here is the link for them.

7. After a few weeks, get a pressure relief group (PRG) together to help you set up your spending plan. By then, you should feel more comfortable calling people. If you don’t know what a PRG is, you can order a DA pamphlet explaining or ask other members. I will be doing a post about PRGs in the future.

If you aren’t sure if you need Debtor’s Anonymous, click here to read the 15 questions to see if you have a problem with debt and click here for the signs of compulsive debting.

Remember, you may not think yourself a compulsive debtor if you don’t have unsecured debt, but if you are a compulsive spender, eventually, you will spend more than you have, which will surely lead to debting. A compulsive spender is just a debtor who hasn’t run out of money.


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