Recovery from compulsive debting begins when we stop incurring new, unsecured debt, one day at a time. (Unsecured debt is any debt that is not backed up by some form of collateral, such as a house or other asset.) We attain a daily reprieve from compulsive debting by practicing the Twelve Steps and by using the following tools.
We attend meetings at which we share our experience, strength and hope with one another. Unless we give to newcomers what we have received from DA, we cannot keep it ourselves.
2. Record Maintenance
We maintain records of our daily income and expenses, of our savings, and of the retirement of any portions of our outstanding debts.
We have found it essential to our recovery to have a sponsor and to be a sponsor. A sponsor is a recovering debtor who guides us through the Twelve Steps and shares his or her own experience, strength, and recovery.
4. Pressure Relief Groups and Pressure Relief Meetings
After we have gained some familiarity with the DA program, we organize Pressure Relief Groups consisting of ourselves and two other recovering debtors who have not incurred unsecured debt for at least 90 days and who usually have more experience in the program. The group meets in a series of Pressure Relief Meetings to review our financial situation. These meetings typically result in the formulation of a spending plan and an action plan.
5. Spending Plan
The spending plan puts our needs first and gives us clarity and balance in our spending. It includes categories for income, spending, debt payment and savings (to help us build cash reserves, however humble). The income plan helps us focus on increasing our income. The debt payment category guides us in making realistic payment arrangements without depriving ourselves. Savings can include prudent reserve, retirement and special purchases.
6. Action Plan
With the help of our Pressure Relief Group, we develop a list of specific actions for resolving our debts, improving our financial situation, and achieving our goals without incurring unsecured debt.
7. The Telephone and the Internet
We maintain frequent contact with other DA members by using the telephone, e-mail, and other forms of communication. We make a point of talking to other DA members before and after taking difficult steps in our recovery.
8. DA and AA Literature
We study the literature of Debtors Anonymous and of Alcoholics Anonymous to strengthen our understanding of compulsive disease and of recovery from compulsive debting.
We maintain awareness of the danger of compulsive debt by taking note of bank, loan company and credit card advertising and their effects on us. We also remain aware of our personal finances in order to avoid vagueness, which can lead to compulsive debting or spending.
10. Business Meetings
We attend business meetings that are held monthly. Many of us have long harbored feelings that "business" was not a part of our lives but for others more qualified. Yet participation in running our own program teaches us how our organization operates, and also helps us to become responsible for our own recovery.
We perform service at every level: personal, meeting, Intergroup, and World Service. Service is vital to our recovery. Only through service can we give to others what so generously has been given to us.
We practice anonymity, which allows us freedom of expression by assuring us that what we say at meetings or to other DA members at any time will not be repeated.
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon DA unity.
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
3. The only requirement for DA membership is a desire to stop incurring unsecured debt.
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or DA as a whole.
5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the debtor who still suffers.
6. A DA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the DA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
7. Every DA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Debtors Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
9. DA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
10. Debtors Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the DA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Copyright (c) A.A. World Services, Inc. Adapted and reprinted with permission.
Serving Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas
1. We keep separate professional and personal financial records and bank accounts.
2. We write annual one-year business plans with definable and accountable goals and targets.
3. We keep clean, orderly and accurate financial records, including Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Cash on Hand, Inventory, Assets, and Outstanding Debts, and put all tax and bill due dates on our calendar.
4. We pay ourselves a salary including benefits, medical insurance, vacations and sick days.
5. We remain mindful that dollars spent should generate revenue and compare prices before making purchases.
6. We maintain clarity about the overhead and profit margins of every product or service we sell.
7. We pay our bills and invoice our clients promptly.
8. We put all our business agreements in writing and write our own Letters of Agreement.
9. We notice the competition, but don't worry about it. We learn from our competitors and trust that it is an abundant universe with more than enough for everyone.
10. We detach from difficult personalities and poor paying clients and put principles before personalities.
11. We bookend before and after making commitments and difficult business decisions or actions.
12. We are willing to be in charge and responsible for our business. Professionals such as accountants, lawyers, and consultants who work for us are not our higher power.
As grateful as we are for these tools for business owners and the other tools of D.A., we have found that it is only through working the Twelve Steps of Debtors Anonymous that lasting solvency, recovery and serenity may be obtained for our businesses and ourselves.
If you have a client who can’t stop compulsively debting, spending, or under earning, please read through the 12 Signs and 15 Questions listed on the home page to see if your client has a problem. We recommend your client attend at least six meetings to see if this program is right for them. Please see the list of meetings on the home page.
The DA phone number listed will give you or your client an answering machine that also provides times and locations of meetings in the area. If you leave a message, someone in the program will return all calls within 24 hours.
You may also want to visit the national website of Debtors Anonymous for more information for helping professionals, visit www.debtorsanonymous.org.
The only requirement for DA membership is a desire to stop using any form of unsecured debt.
Here are the 12 Steps, 12 Tools, and 12 Traditions of the DA program along with information for helping professionals.
1. We admitted we were powerless over debt, that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive debtors, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Copyright (c) A.A. World Services, Inc. Adapted and reprinted with permission.