Learning From Bankruptcy

Thought for today:

What happens after bankruptcy is over?  The saying “If nothing changes, nothing changes” may apply.

A member shares:

“I was a kid when my family declared bankruptcy.  Credit card debt for business expenses had become untenable.  Payrolls couldn’t be met for their business.  IT was a mess of confusion and angry phone calls with creditors and business relationships gone sour.

“I still don’t even know if it was personal or business bankruptcy or both that they claimed.  I just know it was like a death in the family, and my family was never the same after that.

“Being grilled by lawyers is very humiliating, and I remember my parents’ self-pity and self-loathing during my school-aged years.  They turned to alcohol to relieve the anxiety and shame, and I watched their downward spiral.

“Years later, the misery of that time had become a kind of family folklore – a cautionary tale whose moral was always that the world is unforgiving, and you better not venture out into entrepreneurial business, lest the wildebeest of unbridled ambition get the best of you.  I never questioned the wisdom of that sentiment…

“I went through my journey with credit cards, and the memory of my parents’ bankruptcy was always in the shadows, keeping me safe, so I thought.  But I was oblivious about how far my indebtedness extended.

“I wound up in DA as a result.  There I learned that I could negotiate with creditors on my own, without lawyers.  I could work out my own letters of agreement.  If i did hire professionals, they worked for me, they didn’t control my destiny.

“Today I question my assumptions about my family history, and about money and entrepreneurship.  I think the problem with unsecured debt is that there is no asset on the line.  I think problems with venturing out in business or in life are when my ego takes over.

“If I am in business for myself, I need to know what the point of the venture is.  Why am I doing it?  Who am I working with?  I need always have personal integrity, wisdom to seek the counsel of others complementary experience, and a mission.”

Changing what brought us there:

The pain of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the legal fees, and the low self-esteem, are hard to shake off.  If we don’t change behaviors that got us there in the first place, we are in danger of repeating those behaviors.

Anyone can negotiate with creditors on their own if they want.  Doing so can help us face fear of authority figures, which is so common among compulsive debtors.  The lessons learned from developing our own repayment schedule and sticking to it are invaluable.

Ask:

How do I deal with uncomfortable feelings when they come up?  Am I willing to negotiate for my needs today?

Meditation for today:

Real power is available to those who question.  “Doubting Thomas” was cautious, but became a saint after he got answers to his proof.

If we are overcome with feelings of shame, we can question the truth of those feelings.  They are usually from misplaced blame, which does nobody any good.

Affirmation for today:

“I am resolving all unhealthy shame today.”

“I ask questions that need asking.”

“I bookend on difficult actions.”

“If something doesn’t work, I try something new.  I don’t keep expecting different results.”

How to Recover in Debtors Anonymous (Whether You’re in that Program or Not): A Primer

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