The Paradox of Winning By Surrendering

Thought for today:

A central idea of DA is that of the Higher Power.  In Step 2, we  sought strength beyond ourselves, accessible, that we can turn to in need.  The But how could we reckon our lives with  that power?

At DA meetings, you can hear a lot of financial horror stories – bankruptcy, collection nightmares, working multiple jobs to pay creditors. By the time people make it to the program for help it’s usually after the disease has worn down any resistance and left only desperation.

But once a person has stayed with the program a while, a new optimism  often returns. Where there was isolation and despair, they find peace through working on their solvency,  living within their means, tracking their income and expenses and so on.

It’s often been said in the rooms of DA that “feelings aren’t facts.”  The feelings of panic and dread at opening the mail or answering the phone are only real to the degree we participate in the game that this disease has set up for us.  We have set up this drama on our own while in the disease of debt, and we can follow simple suggestions to get back on track.

For instance, we can (legally) request that the calls stop and everything is put in writing.  We can also explain (in writing or on the phone to our creditors) that we need to take a one-month moratorium from debt repayments in order to better get a handle on our financial situation and work on a new approach to money with the help of the Twelve Step program.  

Here is a sample moratorium letter they might write to each of their creditors:

“Re: (insert account number here)

Dear (insert creditor’s name and department here) ,

I have received your recent invoice for my unsecured loan in the amount of _____, and am willing to pay this debt in full.  I will contact you in one month to let you know what I can afford to pay.

I want to let you know that I am working with a Twelve Step program for debtors that is helping me determine a new monthly spending plan.

I need to take a one-month moratorium on all my debt repayments, including this one, to determine what I can realistically promise to repay on a regular basis.

During this one-month period I will keep detailed records of all of my expenses and income, so that I can review these numbers with my Twelve Step group to determine what I can afford to pay.

I want to emphasize that I am taking this one-month moratorium with all of my creditors, not just with this account.

I will contact you by (insert date one month in the future here), after my meeting with my group, to discuss what I can afford to pay on a monthly basis until this debt is resolved.

Thank you in advance for your patience with this matter.   I look forward to speaking with you in one month.

Regards,

(your name here)”

When we meet people in DA with courage to write a letter like that in the face of the wreckage of debt and fear of outcomes, we may ask where did that courage come from?  There is no logical reason for optimism.  What do they think the bank will do, say “OK, no problem”!?

Over time it becomes evident that these people have found a new sustaining faith and kindness in the meetings, and turned to it repeatedly as a source of strength.  They develop a higher consciousness that puts their debt into perspective.  They can actually say “it’s only money” and mean it.

We then might ask ourselves “Am I willing to trust DA as they did, and seek a solution with the help of a Higher Power?”

If we can say yes, then we are ready to ask that Power for help. We are at Step 3: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

Meditation for Today:

Students of the “AA Big Book” suggest that turning “our will” over to God really means turning our thoughts over, and that turning “our lives” over means turning all our actions over to God as well. The Proverbs say “As a man thinks, so he is”.  Science tells us that all creation may in fact be in essence thought. So, turning our thoughts and actions over to a divine power puts us on a path where we rely on inspiration stead of debt and despair.

Affirmation for Today;

I am willing to think God’s thoughts, act as my “higher self” would have me.

Prayer for Today:

“God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!”(1)

(1), Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, A.A. World Services Inc, pp 63.

DA Tool Eight encourages us to read AA literature, and a great place to start is with the AA Big Book “Alcoholics Anonymous”.  It explains the Twelve Steps like no other book, is filled with dozens of hopeful stories of recovery.

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