It’s Specific, Not Different

As stated in the Debtor’s Anonymous Preamble: “The only requirement for membership in Debtors Anonymous is a desire to stop incurring unsecured debt.

The DA program gives us suggestions for ways to do so, including:

  1. Don’t incur any new unsecured debt.
  2. Develop and live by a spending plan.
  3. Record your spending.
  4. Have PRGs when you are first developing a spending plan and whenever you feel pressured financially.
  5. Work the 12 Steps to the best of your ability.
  6. Work out payment arrangements with creditors, ensuring we meet our needs first.
  7. Go to meetings and share your experience, strength, and hope with other members.

If we follow these suggestions, we will keep from debting, ensure that we work the steps, and give service.

However, some of us need additional instructions and support. Yes, there are DA pamphlets providing more explanation, but even then, some of us need even more specificity, accountability, and structure to stay solvent. That is where the H.O.W. format comes in, providing the following specific ways to keep from debting (#1 and #3), ensure that we work the steps (#2), and give service (#4, #5, and #6):

  1. We don’t spend any money without committing it first.
  2. We do daily reading and writing, using a series of questions to start.
  3. We call a sponsor daily to commit our numbers and writing (can be a temp or any DA HOW sponsor if you don’t yet have a permanent one).
  4. We sponsor as we can.
  5. We make one additional call to another DA member daily for outreach.
  6. We attend at least one DA meeting a week (preferably DA HOW if this is how you work your program to show support).

There is nothing about what we who follow the H.O.W. format do that is different from the basics of what any DA member does, except that we follow a structured method to accomplish what the DA program suggests we do in a broader way.

A Note about Family Members

If you are in charge of the spending plan for the family, you can still only do your best to ensure the other members live by the plan. If, for instance, you tell a family member that they can spend no more than $30 at a restaurant, but they spent $45, it is not a slip of your abstinence. You will still need to live with the consequences of finding the additional money to keep your spending plan accurate, but you are not the one who overspent.

I have worked with many in program who deal with spouses and children. It is challenging, but workable. The key is to keep your side of the street as clean as you can, and accept that others may not have your commitment. Gradually, many of these situations improve with time. But even then, the occasional problem will happen. Take a deep breath and remember what your family members went through when you were into your disease. Have compassion for them in their imperfection, just as you are learning to have compassion for your own.

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