As I wrote a few weeks ago, my blog will now be located on the “I Can’t Stop Spending!” website, where I also have a podcast.
For awhile, I’ll post a link here as well when there is a new post. You can also sign up to get each new blog post by email (the sign-up form is located on the sidebar of the “I Can’t Stop Spending!” site).
Ongoing, I’ll also be posting an inspirational reading from my book, “Getting Out from Going Under Daily Reader for Compulsive Debtors and Spenders.” In this post, it is December 14th: “Avoiding Pain.”
A lot has happened since my last post a few months ago, and I’m excited to share it with you (and ask for your opinion).
But first, I want to share a story about why honesty definitely pays off for me. (But if you really want to skip ahead and read about what’s been happening immediately, click here. 😊)
As part of my recovery, I do my best to be rigorously honest, which includes “cash register honesty.” If you don’t know what that is, it means staying honest about the little things as well as the big ones. So, for instance, I won’t rob a bank, but I also give back change to the cashier if she gave me too much.
Now, I’m not perfect. I still struggle (sometimes unsuccessfully) with saying no if someone has access to a movie that’s still in the theaters. I’ve even been known to buy a ticket on Fandango so I can watch a pirated copy if it’s not playing near me. So this is great progress, because there was a time when I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.
My husband thinks I go to ridiculous lengths to ensure I stay “cash register honest.” His eyerolling doesn’t deter me, however. I’ve even driven back to a store across town when they accidentally gave me too much change and I only realized it after coming home!
But what happened a few weeks ago convinced me that this is the right path for me to follow. (I just LOVE this story! 😊 It’s a long story, but so worth it in the end!)
This article was just so amazing that I had to let you know about it. You know I don’t normally believe in New Year’s resolutions, but so many of these 16 goals for the coming year absolutely spoke to my beliefs around actions we can take to live in recovery from compulsive spending:
I’ve never read anything quite like it. 🙂
Click here to listen on our podcast site, “I Cant Stop Spending!”
As I write this, it’s a little over a week before Christmas and Hanukkah. And it came to me that it’s the perfect day to begin a recovery program or to re-commit to recovery around compulsive spending. What better time to let your addiction know that you mean business then to affirm your commitment in the midst of the frenzied spending around the holidays.
In fact, if you suffer from any addiction, now is the time to get the help you need to become and stay sober or abstinent or clean or solvent or authentic or whatever describes your addiction. This is the season of excess, whether it’s food, money, sex, alcohol, people-pleasing, anxiety, sadness, anger, or whatever else you are powerless over.
I’ll tell you why this came up for me today. I attend a Debtors Anonymous (DA) meeting where we read and share on DA pamphlets. This week, while working through the Recovery from Compulsive Spending pamphlet, we read and discussed “suggestions that have helped many D.A. members recover from the pain of compulsive spending.” (from the pamphlet)
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).
Update on progress for the Daily Reader for Compulsive Debtors and Spenders: 240 days written!
Christopher Pierznik showed tremendous courage and selfless service when he wrote this article that appeared in the online magazine Medium today:
What Happens When Virtually No One Buys Your Book?
The fantasy persists that if we write our book, it will become a blockbuster bestseller. Christopher did have a Kindle hit with his book “The Hip-Hop 10,” published in 2013.
But the truth of publishing today is that, for the vast majority of authors, if they want to earn money, books must be just one part of a platform, which many authors do not want to hear. The fact is that most authors never earn more than $5,000 for the lifetime of their book. So if profit is your motive and you aren’t willing to create other products and services around your book, you may want to reconsider.
But, as Christopher’s article pointed out, many who write do so out of passion, not profit, and because they feel driven to communicate something to the world. While it may be disheartening when your sales do not match your passion, it’s important to remember that message to remind you of your original purpose.
Update on progress for the Daily Reader for Compulsive Debtors and Spenders: 236 days written!
There are two fantastic resources for members of Debtors Anonymous that you may not know about.
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
Time is another aspect of “Now.”
When I was young, time seemed unbearably stretched out, endless. “Are we there yet?” was my constant question. It seemed that I always wanted the future to be my present.
As I got older, time sped up. Now, at age 58, nearly 59, time is a bullet train. Yesterday, I was 19 and in college, with my whole life ahead of me. I blinked and suddenly, I was 35 and my son was born. Blinked again, and he was in high school. Blinked a third time, and it’s today. He is a man of 23 and I am disabled. I’m afraid to blink again.