Part 4: The DA Promises

Here is the final post on the DA Promises.

9. Acceptance and Gratitude will replace regret, self pity and longing.

I love the skill of acceptance. It helps me get through hard times and releases me from the past’s stranglehold. Acceptance doesn’t mean that I just sit in a bad situation or feelings. Acceptance means that I am not fighting my current reality. I come to see what I can change and take the next right action to do so. The Serenity Prayer is a wonderful reminder that I use often.

Gratitude is vital. They say a grateful heart doesn’t binge or debt. A grateful heart doesn’t sink into resentment and wallow in regret, self-pity, and longing. I write gratitudes every single day. No matter how difficult my current life situation is, there is ALWAYS something for which I am grateful.

This program has taught me how to use longing as a tool. I learn that my obsession to buy something is just a feeling. Waiting is the antidote to longing for me. Usually, the grip longing has releases with time. And then, longing becomes preference. Or, disappears entirely.

I wanted to become a harp therapist so badly. I sat with that longing for six months while I figured out how to justify the spending of thousands on it, which would take a considerable chunk out of my savings. I obsessed day and night. The pain was unbearable at times.

A week before the PRG where I planned for so long to do my best to convince my skeptical PRG team that this investment was worth it, the obsession lifted. I saw clearly that my health issues precluded this as a profession. Further, when I looked honestly at it, no one made money from this. It was a hobby and service. And I realized that my art was filling this creative void in me, but I hadn’t recognized that before.

Now, I think it would be fun to learn harp therapy, but I don’t have the funds to spend on it soberly and I prefer to spend money on my art supplies than to save for this. My priorities and choices are clear now.

I am so grateful when I am willing to wait before big purchases to let the dust settle.

10. We will no longer fear the truth; we will move from hiding in denial to living in reality.

This is a huge part of DA recovery that comes true quickly if we do the work. In DA, our recovery is dependent on moving from hiding in denial to living in reality, not a byproduct of it. For instance, in AA, I have to put the booze down so that I can move. But in DA, if we don’t open our mail, we are hiding in denial. If we don’t face our creditors, we are hiding in denial. If we don’t have and live by a spending plan, we are hiding in denial.

Many of us have had to face terrible truths in our financial lives. And those who are truly working the program face these truths with equanimity. Everyone gets frightened, but in recovery, we have tools to lessen and remove the fear.

I used money and debt as a way to keep from facing the truth about my life and finances. I used them thinking that instant gratification of acquiring stuff would shove down all the pain in my life. But it didn’t work.

They say (I have no idea who these mythical “they” are, but I like them!) that when the pain you are trying to avoid by using becomes greater than the pain of using, you will stop. So, too, when the pain avoidance and murkiness creates becomes worse than just facing the truth, you will be willing to walk into the light.

Recently, I have come to see that not everyone works their spending plan as I do:

  • Not everyone accrues in their categories.
  • Not everyone creates a monthly plan that accounts for every dollar coming in.
  • Not everyone lives by their categories without talking to someone before robbing from one for another.
  • Not everyone turns to a PRG when they are struggling to make ends meet.

And I have seen the pain this vagueness can cause.

I can say with tremendous gratitude that I know with 100% clarity where every dollar sits today. I may need to talk to my sponsor about moving money if I am low in say, my groceries toward the end of the month. But I make every financial decision with clarity. When I don’t have clarity, I am blessed with a sponsor and PRG team who ensure I take the steps to get clear before making a decision. For me, having a PRG every few months is another way I stay in reality and have the help I need to work through my financial difficulties.

I know others who have this same clarity, but don’t need the level of accountability that I need to make it work. These people may have larger categories and less detail within them. But everyone that I know who is successful in this program is clear on where all their money is allocated.

This promise comes true when we are willing to use the discipline of the spending plan to its fullest potential and to face our creditors. That doesn’t mean we give our creditors everything they want. But it means we don’t avoid them either.

11. Honesty will guide our actions towards a rich life filled with meaning and purpose.

What a relief to be finally honest about money. What a relief to be honest in my life. I don’t know how honesty relates to service, but for me, “a rich life filled with meaning and purpose” is one of service now.

When I am honest, I am not deluding myself into spending money unwisely. When I am honest, I can hear that “still, small voice” inside of me that tells me to wait when my disease urges me on.

When I am honest, I can see where I am self-serving and inconsiderate. Doing a daily 10th Step Inventory is a fantastic way to keep me honest.

Honesty is intrinsic to recovery.

12. We will recognize a Power Greater than ourselves as the source of our abundance; we realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for
ourselves.

This final DA Promise brings us back to Steps 2 and 3. If we are sincerely working our DA program, our lives are no longer unmanageable due to debt or being out of control with money. We may still have difficult challenges, such as under-earning or foreclosure or a lot of debt we cannot yet pay off, but we are now living in the current day, not burying ourselves with guilt, remorse, and terror of the future.

Slowly, we see that our problems resolve over time when we are in recovery. Each time we get through an obstacle using the tools and our network in this program, we have more courage and belief that the next problem will resolve as well. When we look back, if we are painstaking about our work in DA, we will truly be amazed at what our Higher Power has done for us.

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