Update on progress for the Daily Reader for Compulsive Debtors and Spenders: 180 days written!
We use the DA tool of awareness to “maintain awareness of the danger of compulsive debt by taking note of bank, loan company, and credit card advertising and their effects on us. We also remain aware of our personal finances in order to avoid vagueness, which can lead to compulsive debting or spending.”
But I think there can be more to it. Many of us compare ourselves negatively to an image of the rich and famous that’s marketed to us, a demoralizing activity that causes us more harm than good, and is based on a story instead of reality. But what if we knew the truth? When our awareness is strengthened, our recovery is enhanced. Yes, we do want to stop comparing ourselves with others. But when we realize that success doesn’t mean we are free of financial challenges, such knowledge can help us let go of that defect.
I found this article charming and profound.
Granted, it’s talking about life passion and work, but the concept of should and must struck a chord in me. How does it relate to compulsive debtors and spenders?
For me, it’s about feeling that I SHOULD buy the biggest gift or pay for everyone’s dinner out. I SHOULD do that because what will they think of me if I don’t?
Today, I know that I MUST stay sober with money (i.e., not debt) if I want to live a life of integrity … and that may mean separate checks and a small present, or maybe no present at all if I don’t have the funds to purchase it.
This idea of what is expected by the world vs. what I know is the right path to take is powerful in many ways, but certainly true regarding my addiction. How I looked to the world (and my family, friends, and PARTICULARLY my son) often drove my spending.
The external world’s view, others’ expectations, my wrong thinking before recovery, are all examples of SHOULDS. Today, I can get messages from that still, small voice inside of me and I’m starting to listen. I thought the messages would be blared as from trumpets. But no. I get little nudgings that could easily be missed. So with each day of sobriety AND recovery, the easier it is to hear the quiet messages of MUST.
Let me know how you see this article relating to your recovery from compulsive debting.
The Crossroads of Should and Must
Someone recently asked me if it is considered debting in DA HOW if you are at the grocery store and spend more than you committed, but call your sponsor as soon as you get home to let her know.
To find an answer, I just read through What is DA HOW, The HOW Concept, and Reflections for the Newcomer. None of them directly address this issue. The closest I could come was this quote: “If the newcomer insists on debting before picking up the telephone, there is a breakdown in the level of communication between the sponsor and the newcomer.” From Reflections for the Newcomer
“We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.” From the Big Book’s Foreword to the First Edition, page xiii.
Yesterday, I went to a Big Book meeting in my food fellowship, where people who are abstinent refer to themselves as recovered. I asked someone why they do that, and they referred me to the Big Book. The word recovered is mentioned 19 times in the Big Book referring to the disease of alcoholism.
I just read an excellent article about the purpose of meditation for those in 12 Step Recovery and wanted to pass it on to you.
Really thought-provoking. I find meditation crucial to my recovery and to my ability to find any sense of peace. When I miss a day, I am definitely not feeling as balanced. Plus, as I have written previously, every time I sit without running screaming out of the room when my body or mind is in pain, it teaches me to do the same thing when faced with obsession so that I can sit still and not act on it even if it is uncomfortable. Just as the racing thoughts or body pain in meditation pass if I continue sitting, so, too, does my death struggle with instant gratification pass if I just work my program and don’t give in.
In all 12 Step programs, we are told that we can change sponsors at will. This sounds light and uncomplicated, but in reality, it is rarely so easy. We develop deep relationships with our sponsors and sponsees, often blurring the line between friendship and the sponsor/sponsee relationship.
I have been on both ends of bad breakups and let me tell you, it hurts either way. Most painful were the breakups where I thought a friendship transcended program and was unpleasantly surprised to discover it didn’t. I have also been involved with simple, considerate breakups, and there is a world of difference between them.
Because of this, I would like to give you some thoughts and suggestions about how to maximize this relationship.
Recently, I had to let go of a sponsor in another fellowship. I didn’t do this lightly, and really searched my soul for why I did so. Over the course of weeks, I prayed, wrote, talked to others, and read. In the end, it all turned out perfectly.
The fact is that I was afraid of the sponsor. Yes, scared. It felt like walking on eggshells. I dreaded asking her questions. She was very nice as a person, but as a sponsor, it was a challenging match. We were working through the steps together and had just begun Step 4, but I knew I wouldn’t feel safe giving her my 5th Step.