What Does Powerlessness Have To Do With Getting Out of Debt?

Thought for today:

Newcomers often arrive at DA looking for a way to escape the effects of unchecked debt, chronic under earning and/or years of overspending.  Many of us have felt isolated in our grief and desperation.

Once the downward spiral of compulsive debt takes hold, we are defenseless against it. Left unchecked, our issues with money will only get worse, never better.  But what do yo do?

A simple admission gets a person started on the path to being “in the black” again.  As  Step 1 suggests, “We admitted we were powerless over debt – that our lives had become unmanageable”.  We were operating under the mistaken impression that we could manipulate debt, but it was manipulating us.

Some of us resisted Step 1.  We didn’t want to admit  that we were different from other people who could use credit with impunity.

DA group members who have been coming to meetings for a while will usually encourage the newcomer, hand them a beginners literature packet, and share their story of what brought them to DA and how it has helped.  They realize that the need to admit powerlessness over debt is something that will become self-evident to everyone who takes this program seriously and stays with it.

After admitting powerlessness, one person decide to freeze their credit cards in a block of ice so that if they were ever tempted to use them, the thaw would give them enough time to reconsider using them.  That’s how string the compulsion can be.  Another gave their cards to a parent they trusted with strict instructions to not return it to them under any circumstances.  Yet another used a pair of scissors.

All of them began on the road to solvency, and none of them ever needed to use a credit card again – ever!  Credit cards are not a requirement of adulthood.  They are not a status symbol.  They are addictive to compulsive debtors, often resulting in exorbitant amounts of interest that no sane person would entertain.

Do I realize I am powerless over unsecured debt, that it is the most dangerous thing I could engage in for myself and my family?

Meditation for Today:

If we read the AA Big Book – “Alcoholics Anonymous” – we find in the stories of recovery a  collective consciousness is at work, healing alcoholics. They work together for the common good.  The results of this fellowship are greater than the sum of their membership.  That same force of wisdom is in the midst of the DA group, and it works if we let it, by first admitting that on our own we are unable to stay away from unsecured debt.

Affirmation for Today:

“I am a part of a collective unconscious that is all-healing. I am ready to trust this power.”

Prayer for Today:

I do not understand how unsecured debt could have been running my life,  but I do see evidence of recovery from this disease in meetings. People seem to get better. I hope I stop trying to control my compulsive debting, and surrender my credit cards to the shredder.”

Suggested Action:

Tired of getting credit card offers in the mail that you have to shred to remove sensitive personally identifiable information?  If you read the fine print (from the more ethical creditors) it will usually include an opt-out statement.  That means that with a simple automated phone call anyone can opt-out of all pre-screened credit card solicitations for the next five years!  No more opening them, checking the rate, wasting time and paper.

You can opt out of credit card solicitations for five years by following these instructions.

You can opt out of credit card solicitations for five years by following these instructions.

Further Reading:

How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously*: Based on the Proven Principles and Techniques of Debtors Anonymous… Jerrold Mundis’ knowledge of overcoming compulsive debting is firsthand, and reading this book will help any compulsive debtor overcome the downward spiral of unsecured credit, and reverse patterns of under earning and overspending, no matter how entrenched those patterns are.

Also: 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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