“But efforts to control the symptoms failed utterly. And a few more years went by before they made the discovery that only the rigorous practice of not spending money they didn’t have (that is, not incurring unsecured debt) led to real recovery from a wide variety of symptoms. They termed the practice of not debting the ‘gateway’ to recovery from the disease and its symptoms, and by 1971, they had settled on the name Debtors Anonymous to reflect that laser-like focus.”
DA Ways and Means 2013, Quarter 1, Page 3
I”ve heard a number of people rant about those of us who call ourselves compulsive spenders and how that waters down the DA message and fellowship. I think I can understand the fear,and I imagine it comes from this very thing. The struggles of John H. and the early DA folks to put their fingers on exactly what it was that was creating the financial chaos.
I love it when people phrase the need to not debt as not spending money we don’t have. I really didn’t ever think about it that way until DA. We don’t have thousands of dollars to really fix up our house, so we’re not doing it like that. We do, however, have the $489 required to get a bath fan and outlet installed, so we had that taken care of yesterday. My sponsor had me create a list of home repairs that we needed to do. Slowly, we’ve been ticking them off. We’ll even be able to carpet the basement next using cash, something that I am thrilled to do.
We set priorities – we replaced the couch before installing the bath fan, since the couch was literally falling apart. We paused on the process when we had a hornet infestation in our home, because we had enough to pay for it, but wanted to keep moving forward soberly, so the bath fan ended up going in a few months later than we had planned or hoped, but it got done, and got done with cash.
I need to also control my compulsive spending by working the DA-HOW program, or I lose myself into the mental obsession with money and spending. I can see, however, that the first step is really a commitment to stop using other people’s money to sustain the lifestyle I am choosing. What a service John H. (the founder of DA) and those early members did bringing this to us!