This is a part of our Experience, Strength, and Hope series. Read more D.A. experiences. The shares below are those of the fellows that submitted them and don’t necessarily represent the 12 steps or Debtors Anonymous.
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How did you know you had a problem?
I didn’t know I had a problem with money, but it didn’t take long for me to identify. I not only realized I was a compulsive debtor, I also realized that I came from a family of overspenders and compulsive debtors. I don’t know how I didn’t realize my family were debtors; they had declared bankruptcy twice
How did you find D.A.?
I’m a journalist and was working on a story about cluttering, and in my research about 12-Step programs, I also found information about Debtors Anonymous. Since I had recovery in another 12-Step program, I decided to attend a D.A. phone meeting and was blown away. My recovery began the first day I began tracking my numbers
What have you learned in D.A.?
I can’t count the number of things I’ve learned from D.A. Because of all I learned, I paid off my credit card balances and back taxes. Before I did that, I negotiated with the credit card companies and lowered the interest rate I’d been charged. D.A. gave me the courage to do that. In the 11 years I’ve been in D.A., I also bought and quickly paid off two late model cars. I also bought two homes at low interest rates (one at 3.375% and the other at 3.75%). I still own both, but one is now an income property. (I never thought that was possible.) I was shocked that at the end of the first month of keeping my numbers, I had money in my checking account. That hasn’t stopped since the first month. I began saving, purchasing IRAs and investing, also things I thought I was incapable of. I also learned the importance of service during my recovery. I helped start a D.A. meeting in my town and was a speaker at meetings that asked me to speak. There are many spiritual things I learned, especially taking Step 9. Making financial amends lifted so much pressure. I also attend B.D.A. meetings, which I’d suggest to people who are entrepreneurs. Helps you look at your business in a brand new way. Finally, because of everything I’ve learned in D.A., I have clarity around my money today. It’s a wonderful feeling. I have to admit that I was somewhat uncomfortable that I was thriving and abundant during the recession, but my hope is that more and more people will discover D.A.
What suggestions do you have for newcomers in their first 90 days?
Do a 90 meetings in 90 days. It’s really easy to do that with so many phone meetings available every day of the week. Track your numbers day in and day out. You will gain so much clarity. You’ll see where you’re overspending or underspending or both. Learn as much as you can about spending plans, another wonderful program tool. Give service when you can. Get a sponsor, even a temporary one and be persistent in trying to find one. Be a sponsor. Make outreach calls to other people in D.A. Share at meetings. Have Pressure Relief Meetings.