How a Debt Moratorium Works

Our common welfare depends on DA unity

Thought for today:

Some of us had credit card accounts that were out of control.  We would be charged late fees and had many overage charges.  We were so inundated with creditor calls that we needed to ask for a one-month moratorium from debt payments.

A member shares:

“I couldn’t even talk about my situation with fellow members in the program without breaking down and crying, raging, or feeling like running out of the room.  That first month in DA, I had to detox from the negative effects of compulsive debt, overspending, and worry. I needed the month to heal. I had my hands full just not debting one day at a time.

“My sponsor slowly taught me that I would get stronger with the help of the fellowship. Eventually I would be ready to call my creditors, but for a month, I could let my creditors know that I was taking a one-month debt moratorium while I tracked my numbers and developed a plan.

“During that month, if a creditor called anyway, I would ask them to put everything in writing, and that I would call them after the moratorium was over.

“After the month, with my Spending Record in hand, I could schedule a Pressure Relief Meeting with two other members to discuss my situation, and arrive at a Spending Plan that included a Debt Reduction Plan.  I would also come away with an Action Plan for working out my arrangements with creditors.”

How the Debt Moratorium works:

A moratorium is a period when we will not do something.  In order to get clarity, we can take one for our debts, during which time we can refrain from engaging in worry and panicked over-promising to creditors.

We can contact our creditors in writing to explain our situation.  We can mention that we intend to repay our debt, and that we need time to track our spending.  A Moratorium letter helps us call a brief “time-out” while we work on ourselves.

We simply send a letter like this sample letter to each creditor.  This lets them know that we intend to work out a plan and get back to them.  We can also call our creditors with this information, and even schedule a one-month followup meeting where we will discuss the next steps.

Setting up a debt moratorium helps us to let go of worry, and start taking practical steps to get relief from the effects of compulsive debting and overspending.


“Am I willing to let go of worry and take practical steps in my recovery?”

Meditation for Today:

We can look for mutual healing in all our relationships. When we seek to remove haughtiness we become teachable.  Weighing our words, we can focus on what is necessary, leaving the rest aside. We can smile, and start our conversations with kindness and love.

Affirmations for Today:

“In all my difficult interactions with people I can use the acronym “T.H.I.N.K.”, asking myself whether the words I am about to use are Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent, Necessary, and Kind. The toughest part of this is “kindness”.  Everyone responds better to kindness than bitterness.  If I smile before I pick up the phone, it shows in my voice.”

Recommended Reading:

“How to Get Out Of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously”, by Jerrold Mundis, is a comprehensive guide to getting “Back to the Black”, using the concepts of Debtors Anonymous. Many have benefited from Jerrold’s thoughtful encouragement, especially in dealing with creditors, increasing income and reversing under earning.

How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously*: Based on the Proven Principles and Techniques of Debtors Anonymous

Other great books for planning our time:

First Things First

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Also, 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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