How to Help Newcomers Find Solvency in D.A..

D.A. old timers see a lot of new people come to one meeting and never come back. Some of these newcomers appear to be window shopping for financial advice.  They feel unspeakable agony over their debts, and desperately seek a quick fix for the pain.

Most old timers in the program will listen and reflect on this, and recall their own beginnings in the program.  They remember becoming aware of the psychological and emotional nature of the debt problem after a while.

They remember how hard it was to start really using the program, to make that first unsteady move away from debting, overspending and under earning.  They remember starting out doing the work of the program, each day admitting powerlessness over compulsive debting, using daily reflections to come to believe some power greater than themselves, keeping a tiny booklet of their expenses and income as a concrete act of their willingness to surrender, bookending with other members when making difficult phone calls with creditors, and of course, making meetings.

In other words, these old timers in DA remember how they worked the program.  They realize what the newcomer needs most:  a handshake, a smile, a cup of coffee, and a good long chat to help their perspective on life.  After slowing down enough to hear the message of D.A, the foundation can begin to be laid for recovery.

There are many pitfalls enticing the newcomer away from solvency. Without old timers who show the way of constant vigilance, newcomers will fall prey to the effects of deceptive advertising, easy and expensive credit consolidation. The money is only a symptom of the deeper nature of the disease.

I may be the only D.A. member the newcomer has ever met.  Am I passing on the program of recovery of D.A. to the newcomer?  If I don’t do it, who will?

Meditation for Today:

We remember the reason timers are used in D.A. Meetings. When we hear a new member go through their litany of financial concerns, and the beeper goes off, we can smile inside. We know that having that boundary is positive discipline in a life that is feeling out PC control.

Affirmation for Today:

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” In D.A. I am both student and teacher. As I teach others how I use the steps and tools of the fellowship, I take an inventory of my program. I realize that I am the person that needs to hear my words most. For this reason, the newcomer to D.A. Is the most important person in the room.

Prayer for Today:

I used to spend much of my time in denial of the disease of compulsive debting.  Help me to have patience with newcomers. Help me plant the seeds of solvency that will last a lifetime.

Recommended Reading:

DA Tool Eight encourages us to read AA literature.  A great place to start is with the AA Big Book “Alcoholics Anonymous”, which explains the addictive mindset like no other book, and is filled with hopeful stories.  It is a must-read for anyone in Twelve Step recovery.

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