An Underearner’s Turnaround

Thought for today:

After the housing bubble burst, many homes were worth less than the money owed on them to the bank.  In that market, many people sold at a loss, or simply walked away from their properties.

DA helped us change the patterns of behavior that had led to unnecessary risk taking around money.  Once we accepted the need to change, and become willing to try the simple tool kit of DA, a new life of “living within our means” became available.  And our “means” always seemed to grow!

Without the crutch of refinancing, DA members looked at their earning-ability in the job market, refreshed their skills, and found ways to increase their earning power.  In Pressure Meetings they learned where to cut expenses without hurting their lifestyles.

A member shares:

“I think of myself as a ‘low-bottom’ debtor.  I used to spend most of my waking time thinking about borrowing money.

“At one point, refinancing my house was an annual event allowing me to cut my credit cards.  Then the bank added plastic to sweeten the deal… and that was the beginning of what I hope was my final downfall.

“Everyone else was refinancing, and housing values kept going up, so why not?  If the banks were willing to give me the money, why shouldn’t I take it?  This is how I thought.

“But when the banks stopped approving our refinance applications, saying we had too high a debt-to-income ratio, our ‘house of cards’ finally fell down.  When we finally sold the house, we were left with $170,000 in unsecured debt.

“Today, seven years in DA later, I’ve paid about half of my debts, and put almost as much money toward my company’s matching retirement account.  I did this by returning to school during my unemployment, and becoming willing to work at any job to stay in the market, and making incremental moves back to a revitalized career.

“Today I have a great job, and I rent a beautiful apartment.  I am in no rush to finish paying my debts, because I know that my quality of life is more important than any debt I owe.  I have all my needs met, and many of my wants, and my interest rates on the debt that remains is less than a third of what it was before I learned how to negotiate debt.

“Today I let my Higher Power worry about the rest of my debts, and my financial solvency progresses well without my muddling too much in it.  I basically just show up to life and pay what I can, and I finish paying my debts in my HP’s time and way.  Using the simple program of recovery, I find abundance and prosperity.”

Doing the work:

It’s not easy to seek a spiritual awakening in DA, but that’s what it takes for true freedom from the compulsion to debt.  It takes work to keep going to meetings, and to practice the principles of the program.  Even when you’re anxious about your newfound recovery, life is infinitely easier than it was before.  After all, we no longer live the lie, denying that debt is a problem.


Am I getting honest with myself?  How can I live life in spite of my debts?

Meditation for today:

Life is full of strange events we only understand in hindsight.  “Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards.”  Therefore, we should take it as it comes.

Affirmations for today:

“I will take one small action toward my recovery today, knowing that I don’t have to have all the details or do it perfectly.  I just need to show up for life.”

“Sanity is returning to my spending habits.”

For in-depth insights into finding your inner values, read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change“, by Steven Covey.

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