Thought for today:
Some of us have gone through painful bankruptcy. Cross-examined by attorneys in judge’s chambers can be leave us feeling humiliated. People who are professional at arguing against debtors do their job, and years of dread can bubble up into a “fight-or-flight” responses and we want to run. Some of us begin to cry, get angry, or cower, feeling cornered and ashamed.
DA Step 1:
- We admitted we were powerless over debt—that our lives had become unmanageable.
A member shares:
“My business had its ups and downs. I routinely took on unsecured debt to get me through the slow times. Over the years I was able to get debt consolidation loans, but there came a time when I couldn’t talk my way out of the bank’s data. It started showing that I was on a steep decline,which I was – and truly was ‘not creditworthy’.
“I had crossed a line into compulsive debting, and as a result, the outside world started closing in on me. I panicked.
“The people closest to me suffered. I worked around the clock, often leaving the kids to fend for themselves. Strangely, they seemed to do better without me at home. At the end of my rope, business overextended, seasonal income drying up, debts left unpaid, I came home exhausted every night, unable to think straight. I felt abandoned by everyone, and I turned to sedatives and alcohol just to sleep.
“One night I was desperate for escape. Alcohol wasn’t working any more. The next day I walked into the rooms of Debtors Anonymous.
“People in DA talked about their debts openly, which shocked me. They also shared about how (miraculously) their creditors were not the center of their lives!
“I’d like to say that I got the program right away, but I fought it for another six months. Gradually I became honest with myself, getting clear on what was healthy for me and what wasn’t . I worked all the suggested Tools and Steps, and began experiencing the Promises DA talks about.
“Today I am aware that I am probably different from normal people when it comes to debt: I have an ‘allergy’ to unsecured debt. I can’t remember why the shame of seeking help in a Twelve Step program was more painful than dodging creditors, robbing Peter to pay Paul, working crazy hours to feed the beast of our debt, arguing with creditors, landlords, family, and lawyers. Why was I in denial for so long?
“It’s certainly better since I stopped doing things my way, and started doing them DA’s way. My home life is better than it has been in years. I just hope I never forget where I came from.”
From surrender to epiphany:
Unsecured debt is the core issue for debtors. When we deny that we are in over our heads, our feelings take over and inevitably come out sideways, hurting the ones we love, leaving us feeling guilty.
But when we admit powerlessness over debt, we become aware that we are imperfect, which opens us up to ask for and accept help. This leads to further action, and we eventually have a “personal epiphany”.
The word “epiphany” in this sense is an “enlightening realization that allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective”.*
“Do I accept that I am powerless over debt?”
Meditation for Today:
When we need to make a difficult decision, we are at a crossroads. We need see clearly and follow the path of recovery. When we share the feelings about our disease and our progress with others, we deepen our own recovery, multiplying peace and prosperity in the world.
Affirmations for Today:
“Today I will talk with at least one other compulsive debtor who knows what I am going through. Together, we will discover the next action I can take to feed my soul.”
*Wikipedia has a good explanation of the sense of epiphany here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/epiphany_(feeling)
See our Fourth Step Template which helps us to take a fearless moral inventory.
Some members, with the help of their Pressure Relief Group, take a moratorium from debt payments in order to get their spending under control. See this Debt Moratorium sample letter to creditors for one example.
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