Disappointment is Not Fatal

In recovery from compulsive debting, we can’t always get our way with money. It is disappointing and I, for one, loathe that feeling. But disappointment won’t kill me.

I am a real brat about instant gratification. It is infantile the way I nearly throw a tantrum when my PRG or sponsor doesn’t give me my way. The fact is, it is my money and I can choose to do what I want with it, right? But my feeling is that if I trust these people, then I have to trust that my Higher Power is speaking through them to help me make tough decisions. If I made good decisions around money, I wouldn’t be in this program.

Interesting enough, at my last PRG, I worked hard to have no agenda and just flow with whatever they said. I made sure to meditate before we started to further solidify my resolve.

The PRG was fabulous. And I didn’t get my way at all. In fact, regarding the $681 that we were meeting to allocate as part of the PRG, they decided to continue to table the discussion until the next PRG. That means this money has been sitting burning a virtual hole in my pocket for over two months. Painful.

And the bottom line is that this money will probably need to go into some type of savings and I will not get to use any of it for fun stuff.

Disappointing … but not fatal.

I have an ever growing list of wants. It amazes me how they expand and grow to overfill any amount of money I may have. My wants are like a greedy monster, devouring everything in sight.

It doesn’t matter that my wants are for books and spiritual knick-knacks rather than jewelry and cars. Ironically, as a baby Buddhist, I know enough to know that grasping is the problem, but not enough to keep from experiencing it yet.

What DA and especially working the program using the H.O.W. format has taught me is that all feelings pass. In fact, everything passes. And what I think may be best might turn out to be a terrible idea. And what seems like the most awful decision that my PRG urges me to take often turns out to be not only the best choice, but eventually, I usually get there as well in recognizing it.

Not getting my way or having to wait is definitely unpleasant. But when I work my program, I learn how to have more patience. For me, meditation has been a tremendous aid to learning to live with disappointment without turning it into resentment.

It’s not a choice for me to be at peace with disappointment. My sobriety with money is at stake. If I let disappointment turn into resentment, I will surely find a reason to leave the program and end up debting.

I know this because I have seen it happen with too many in DA. I have been at that breaking point myself more than once in DA H.O.W. But I feel so grateful that I was willing to be pulled back from the precipice. By not running from my pain and staying in program, I saw that it was just my disappointment forming into resentment that was coaxing me to go.

Life is unfair. That isn’t just true for people in recovery. But if I work on acceptance of that fact, I can be more open to guidance that is in my best interest and growth without throwing a tantrum when it isn’t in line with my wants.

Abstinence doesn’t mean that life will be la-de-dah, you will be free of problems, and you will always get your way. Abstinence simply means you have a level playing field. For me, life has a lot of challenges, financial and otherwise.

If I use money as a drug and compulsively spend, it will lead to debting. If I live in deprivation, it will lead me to depression and resentment, which will lead to compulsively binge spending, which will also lead to debting. And I will be left with two problems.

I will have the self-loathing and debt that will have accrued by my doing so. And I will still have the original problem that caused me to use.

So which pain do I want? The pain of disappointment that will eventually subside? Or the pain of living in my addiction, sending me spinning down a bottomless pit in a never-ending search to avoid disappointment that ends at the Gates of Hell?

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One thought on “Disappointment is Not Fatal

  1. Awesome! The title really grabbed me. DA HOW saved my life and I’m trying to get back in to it with another compulsive debtor/spender. We’re getting there, gratefully. Thank you for your service and your honesty.

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