“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.”
From Keeping the Fellowship Record Page 3 Ways and Means Quarter 1, 2013
Debtors Anonymous was divinely inspired, just like AA. In reading about the history of DA, it is clear that figuring out the bottom line of our dissease was a hard road for John H. and the others.
With eating or drinking or drugs, the first bite, drink, or hit is the key, but with our issues, it’s not so clear-cut. It took years for DA’s founders to determine that debting was the bottom line for membership in DA.
I know people in DA who do not debt, but have other money issues. It is challenging to know how to support them. But I guess that is no different than the anorexic in Overeaters Anonymous. And, I have to remember that this program is not Procrastinator’s Anonymous, Compulsive Spender’s Anonymous, Clutterer’s Anonymous, etc. There are programs specific to these issues.
Not Debting One Day at a Time
While I have found this program has provided me with healing in all those areas, the fact is that the foundation of my program is not debting one day at a time. Through the H.O.W. method of using of the tools, I am prevented from compulsive spending, which would lead me back to debting.
I have to remember, when I get confused about my disease, that a compulsive spender who doesn’t debt just hasn’t run out of money yet. While my bottom line is not debting one day at a time, it is the H.O.W. disciplines that complete the puzzle for me, giving me a way out of compulsive spending. Yes, I can say that I won’t debt, but my personal compulsion and obsession manifests in spending, not debting.
The Chicken or the Egg
Debting, for me, is the end result of out of control spending or trying to fill a spiritual hole with stuff, a childlike inability to delay gratification, an addict’s need for more, more, more. So yes, I don’t debt one day at a time, but I need the rigor of the H.O.W. method to keep me from taking the actions that lead me there.
I very, very rarely feel an urge to get a credit card or debt, but the compulsion to buy and spend is where my rubber meets the road. That is my donut, cookie, scotch and water.
What Kind of Recovery Do I Want?
Last week, I celebrated four years of working the DA H.O.W. program, not incurring any new unsecured debt one day at a time for 1,461 days in a row. That is surely a miracle.
Yes, I can choose not to debt but barely hang on by my fingernails, still acting out with money, spending in vagueness, buying based on whim and craving, living on the edge.
Or, I can choose not to debt feeling more peaceful, using money in a sane and sober manner, living by a structure that makes it easier for me to recover.
For today, I want a full recovery, not to be a dry drunk.