Without the admission that your life has become unmanageable around money, you will never embrace the program of Debtors Anonymous and recover.
Step 1 states: “We admitted we were powerless over debt–that our lives had become unmanageable.”
DA says the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop debting, and this step refers to debt. However, I have known people who have recovered in this program who had no debt at all! Just as in Overeaters Anonymous, there are bingers and anorexics, DA is a big tent and this program can apply to anyone whose life is unmanageable around money.
I have known people in program who had lots of money and their issue was that they couldn’t stop spending and their life was unmanageable because they weren’t present for their family and felt out of control. It is said that a compulsive spender is just a debtor who hasn’t yet run out of money. So, it may be that such a person will simply have a “high” bottom.
I have also known people who recovered in this program whose problem was terror of not having enough and fear of spending any money, so they lived in severe and unnecessary deprivation. It is not necessary to even have $1 in debt to qualify for this program.
So, please don’t let the word debt deter you if that is not the problem as you see it. The key is whether your life is unmanageable due to money. Semantics are not important.
If you have mounting debt, take a look at the 15 DA Questions.
If you suspect you are out of control with money, whether you have any debt or not, the Signs of Compulsive Debting can give you clarity. Note that none of the signs has to do with using a credit card or actually debting. They are all about how your relationship with money makes you feel.
You don’t have to wait until you are buried under a mountain of debt to get help from the program of Debtors Anonymous. It can be as simple as this:
- Do you feel miserable, out-of-control, and afraid, whether due to debt, spending, or hoarding?
- Are your relationships suffering because of your compulsive behavior with money (such as shopping online for hours instead of spending time with your family or fighting with your spouse over money)
If either of these is true, and you are ready to admit that (1) you need help, (2) that you are powerless on your own to change, (3) that your life is truly unmanageable around money, then DA CAN help you.