Debt-Free at Last!

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.
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The Tool of Awareness

I must admit that I don’t usually focus on the tool of awareness. Compulsive debting and spending are all around us and I think I am somewhat desensitized.

But I just read a book that opened up my mind to some new ideas for increasing my awareness. The book is called “Bought Out and Spent! Recovery from Compulsive Shopping and Spending.” In it, author Terrence Shulman gives a lot of food for thought about awareness by including some great statistics and a list of movies to open our eyes.

I love documentaries, but never really thought about whether there were movies directly targeting our addiction. Here are the two from his list that seemed most interesting to me:
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“Maybe I’ll Start Saving When I’m 70”

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.
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Excellent 12 Step Meditation Article

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.

Gateway to Recovery

“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.
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Debit Cards VS. Cash

Following is a guest post:

M. and I do not use credit cards at all, but we do use debit cards. We have found doing cash only wreaked too much havoc in our marriage (as did tracking paper receipts and writing things down by hand.)
Ways and Means 2013 quarter 1, p. 14

I am grateful to read about another couple who are doing as we do. The author is recovering in DA, while his wife is not. This is our situation, also. It was really challenging the first year or two of DA work for both of us. My wife felt controlled, while I felt disrespected. Eventually, we figured out how to live lovingly together and allow me to work a money program.
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“Ways & Means”

This post is from a contributing DA H.O.W. member:

Ways & Means, an electronic meeting in print for the fellowship of Debtors Anonymous, is published quarterly by the D.A. General Service Board. It is a forum for sharing the experience, strength, and hope of D.A. members, groups, and other service bodies.
DA Ways and Means (W&M) 2013, Quarter 1, Page 2

I just wanted to take this opportunity to discuss how much I appreciate the Ways & Means newsletter. All 12-step literature is helpful, but I really appreciate opportunities to read about debtors as offered by both the free Ways & Means newsletter and recovery stories on the DA website.

Debting is a little tricky for me to translate from the Alcoholics Anonymous texts, particularly when it comes to my own diseased thinking. Being able to read stories of the experience, strength, and hope of others freely on the website or downloaded onto my device makes a real difference for me.
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Progress Not Perfection

As I approach four years of recovery in DA H.O.W., I am stunned at how much vagueness I still experience … and grateful that I have a program that helps me continue to grow.
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So, How Much Time Does DA H.O.W. Take?

For the first year and a half in DA using the H.O.W. approach to the tools, I hated it most of the time. I felt so put-upon and couldn’t figure out how on earth there was time to do it all. I wanted to quit at least a dozen times. I got myself into a tizzy at least twice a week over how much time this program took, wasting time that had nothing to do with working my program on being upset about working my program.

Each time I lost a sponsor, as we all do, that was it. I was leaving. I was getting out. But I knew that if I did, I would surely go under as this was a way that worked for me.
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Shipping Costs are a Thorn in My Side

I have to admit to having a resentment about shipping costs when I order online. Despite the fact that my sponsor has worked hard to help me understand that this is simply the cost of doing business when you have a health issue, it still bugs me royally.
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