[Note: This post is derived from my podcast, “I Can’t Stop Spending!” where I talk about why I need to pause production on the podcast. In this post, I also talk about issues around recovery work and Tradition 11, anonymity, underearning, and more. Click here if you would like to listen.]
I began my current recovery from compulsive spending on April 25th 2009. In 2012, I started blogging about my journey to help other compulsive spenders and debtors. The tool of spending plan has been a cherished spiritual weapon in keeping the demons at bay and I loved writing about how to use that tool.
It felt like my life’s mission was to spread the message of hope and practical action around recovery from compulsive spending to those in and out of 12-step rooms. I believe in a spiritual solution, which means that I can’t give you the answer packaged up with a tidy, little bow. But I can be a conduit to offer my experience, strength, and hope while you walk along the path with me.
So, while I can’t teach you how to stop compulsive spending, I can offer practical advice about how to get over the terror that keeps you from even beginning the process of developing a spending plan. I can share my own experience, strength, and hope around staying sober despite the pain we all experience emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually because of this debilitating addiction. And I can show you how to create and use a spending plan, which is vital to recovery.
I just happened on an amazing article from the third quarter 2013 issue of the Debtors Anonymous “Ways and Means” newsletter, entitled, “An Anniversary Question: What is Long Term Solvency?” It really gives a wonderful description of this state of being. Do you know there are now people with 30 or more years of solvency in DA! Imagine that!
The author of the article really made me want to read the updated and revised edition of “Currency of Hope” (rather than just keep it on my bookshelf). It contains stories from those long sober (20 or more years).
I am grateful to report that I finally paid off the last of my debt a couple of weeks ago! This is truly a miracle. In the late 1990’s, I first came into DA with $22,000 in debt. I paid that off and found all kinds of reasons to justify leaving the program by 2001.
Fast forward to 2009. I crawled back into DA a broken person after accumulating approximately $34,000 of new unsecured debt and trying to figure out how on earth I would send my son off to college. DA HOW healed me, and one day at a time, I lived within my means and committed what I would spend before spending it. I had PRGs around my debt, paying for my son’s college, and any other financial issues that came up.
A few months ago, I came across Debbie Roes’ extensive site for shopaholics called Recovering Shopaholic. While her site is not 12-step focused, she has wonderful, practical tips and suggestions for shopaholics. And recently, I wrote an article for her blog called Debtors Anonymous is Not Just for Debtors.
The workshop went very well and I’m so excited that the recording worked! Now, aside from my sounding like Daffy Duck, I’m hopeful that this recording can help anyone, even a complete beginner. I really tried to keep it simple and resolve the issues that seem to be problematic for DA members.
Total time is 1:21 (one hour and 21 minutes). The great part is that you can stop and rewind as needed.
Here is the information about the brand new booklet that took 15 years to come to fruition:
With deepest gratitude, Debtors Anonymous is pleased to announce the availability of our own conference-approved Step book: The Twelve Steps of the Debtors Anonymous
Available in a booklet format, this work is the result of 15 years of loving collaboration between members of our Fellowship and a Higher Power that guides us.
Each booklet sells for $7.00 a piece; 10 booklets for $60.00; or 20 booklets for $100.00. Literature Order forms can be found at the Debtors Anonymous website or by clicking here for a printable PDF form.
Please share at your meetings.
Click here for a sample page (PDF).
In April, I celebrated six years of back to back abstinence from compulsive debting. But it has become clear to me recently that I am still a seriously compulsive spender. And I now truly understand why the primary purpose of Debtors Anonymous (DA) is not incurring unsecured debt.
If we just never had to spend money again, we wouldn’t have a problem, right? But unfortunately, we must learn to forge a new relationship with money that doesn’t include incurring unsecured debt. As I’ve written before, we must walk the razor’s edge.
Now that the Daily Reader is finished, I’ve been thinking about some other book ideas. Right now, I’m working on two of them that should be done in a few weeks. I’ll be posting more details as they near completion.
As a part of that process, I thought about creating a 12 Step Prayer Book. Over the years, I’ve basically just typed or cobbled together what I could find.
I’ve had a misconception of what recovery from compulsive debting and spending means. Somehow I thought that sobriety with money guaranteed me financial wealth, security, and monetary reward (along with the fame that I craved). As if that Higher Power I was urged to believe in was really “HP Santa,” whose sole job was to reward me as I saw fit for being a “good girl” and doing the right thing.
How wrong I was.
If you don’t know about “The Retention department,” you are missing out on savings for services many of us use. The Retention department is the last stop when you are going to leave your current cable, Internet, or phone provider. You can actually request to speak to someone in this department, and I have saved a lot of money over the years by negotiating with them.
So, here’s what happened the other day. The promotions on our current services were about to expire. Our services were going to go from about $160/month (a ridiculous amount to pay) to CHOKE, GASP — $250 (an obscene amount to pay)!