Never Hitting Bottom

The Only Requirement for Membership

“And many of us focus on paying off our debts, as if that’s more important to our recoveries than not incurring new unsecured debt today, one day at a time.” From “Which Fellowship Do You Prefer— D.A. or D.A. Lite?” in the DA Ways and Means newsletter Q2 2012

In this article, the writer talks about how members focus on everything but debting — procrastination, shopping, etc. That was me. I always said I wasn’t a debtor as much as a spender, but the fact is a compulsive spender is just a debtor who hasn’t run out of money.

The outward manifestation of my disease was the debt that grew to double digits. But the pain came from a deadly combination of craving and obsession mixed with an unhealthy dose of instant gratification. If I thought it, I wanted it. If I wanted it, I had to have it immediately. The pain of waiting even an hour felt unbearable. I had to constantly feed a monster that never got full.

The high for me came from the buying, not the debting. Once I scratched the itch, the craving would quiet down just long enough for me to catch my breath and open the box. Maybe even put it together or wear it once. But before too long, the monster needed to be fed again.

The debting seemed like a byproduct to me, but the fact is that for most of us the debting is where we got in trouble. The high from spending compulsively is a drug for sure, but the mountain of debt is what ultimately brought me down.

Feed Me

The “not enough” and greed hole in me that never gets filled is a demon inside of me. Society provides a way to fill that hole using the devil of debt. If there were no credit cards, no home equity loans, no buying on time, how would those of us act out with our compulsive debting? Would we be forced to live within our means? Borrow from friends? Steal?

And what would I do if I had an unlimited source of money? Could there ever be enough? It seems that if I had a million dollars, I would find a need for a million and one.

Gratitude for Debt

I have actually known people who spent money compulsively to the point that it made them ill, who had so much money they could spend day and night without ever debting. But the pain of their behavior brought them into program – nights shopping online, days exhausting themselves at stores, not being present for friends and family.

They stayed for awhile … until they faced the walls of a spending plan, of the limits we in DA use to balance living and spending … and then they left. Even though the pain of their compulsive behavior was acute, when the going got tough it was too easy to fool themselves into believing they didn’t really have a problem because they hadn’t run out of money.

To my Higher Power: Let me be grateful that I didn’t have enough money to stay out of debt so that I could hit bottom. Thank you for my debt so I can now live a life of recovery.

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