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Woah, There’s a Debtors Anonymous!

by J. Money on Monday, April 19, 2010

Debtors Anonymous
I was checkin’ out this new site the other day, (Financially Smitten) and came across a link that really surprised AND excited me –> DebtorsAnonymous.org, HOW COOL is that? Call me naive, but I had nooooo idea something like this existed. Here’s a brief bio from their website:

“Debtors Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from compulsive debting.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop incurring unsecured debt…”

I love it! And it totally makes sense that this is around too. I mean, we’ve got it for drugs and alcohol (and sex, sex, sex!), why not something equally as disastrous to our finances? Or even entire lifestyle for that matter…I’m assuming that if you’re in deep need of attending Debtors Anonymous, your life is pretty much already taken over completely by it. Especially if it’s a really bad compulsion of yours (does that constitute as a disease?).

There’s actually a 15-question quiz too in order to see if you’re a compulsive debtor or not. If you answer “yes” to at least 8 of these, chances are you should seek help:

  1. Are your debts making your home life unhappy?
  2. Does the pressure of your debts distract you from your daily work?
  3. Are your debts affecting your reputation?
  4. Do your debts cause you to think less of yourself?
  5. Have you ever given false information in order to obtain credit?
  6. Have you ever made unrealistic promises to your creditors?
  7. Does the pressure of your debts make you careless of the welfare of your family?
  8. Do you ever fear that your employer, family or friends will learn the extent of your total indebtedness?
  9. When faced with a difficult financial situation, does the prospect of borrowing give you an inordinate feeling of relief?
  10. Does the pressure of your debts cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
  11. Has the pressure of your debts ever caused you to consider getting drunk?
  12. Have you ever borrowed money without giving adequate consideration to the rate of interest you are required to pay?
  13. Do you usually expect a negative response when you are subject to a credit investigation?
  14. Have you ever developed a strict regimen for paying off your debts, only to break it under pressure?
  15. Do you justify your debts by telling yourself that you are superior to the “other” people, and when you get your “break” you’ll be out of debt overnight?

Just reading these gets me sad :( Don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer to start the week off here, I just think it’s so great this exists :) Who knows how many people actually *know* about it, or even believe it could help them (kinda like AA and the rest, eh?), but hopefully if enough of us spread the word it’ll reach those who can really be saved here… I’m thinking of two people right now!

Debt can really screw up a person’s life – even if we can’t really comprehend it fully. Owing crap tons of money can lead to illness, despair, ruin, prison, and even suicide. So if you know someone that needs help, or if YOU need help yourself, be sure to check out the site and start the recovery process! Then come back here and inspire us :) There’s no shame in living a happier life, baby.

//End J. Money’s PSA

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Young Mogul April 19, 2010 at 10:07 am

If more people knew about DA, maybe more people would be willing to face their issues with debt; especially if they had support from people who are going through the same thing.

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2 Meg April 19, 2010 at 10:22 am

There’s some book that talks about the processes that DA uses, and I can’t think of the title now… It’s an old book, but I thought it was a good read. (Then again, I hated The Millionaire Next Door, which everyone seems to love….)

Great PSA, J. ;)

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3 falling Into Favor April 19, 2010 at 12:54 pm

You and your PSA! I don’t know anyone struggling with debt. I know people who should maybe think about looking into their spending habits. Most people that I know don’t openly talk about debt…

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4 Brad Chaffee April 19, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Dude this IS cool! I always wondered about it myself, but never got around to looking for it on Google. Now I know! Thanks bro!

I will be certainly spreading the word about this…like tomorrow—especially that quiz. :)

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5 Abigail April 19, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Maybe I’m the only one who thinks this is kind of… trashy.

Don’t get me wrong: People with serious debt could use support groups and all that. And there are even compulsive spenders/shoppers.

But this group, based on the questions, isn’t about addiction. It’s about people in debt helping one another.

Which would be fine — if it didn’t tread on the well-known moniker of real addiction programs like AA, NA, etc. I doubt the founders meant anything by it, but doesn’t it kind of cheapen the support groups for actual addicts?

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6 Stella April 19, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Those who accumulate serious debt DEFINITELY have an addiction–similar to Shopaholics Anonymous, or Gamblers Anonymous or even Overeaters Anonymous. It seems like you could probably consolidate something like Shopaholics Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous into DA, since that would be the end result of excessive shopping/gambling. The questions seem like they are merely to help illuminate to debtor the ramifications and toll his/her behavior is taking on their life.

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7 Lora Sasiela April 19, 2010 at 3:51 pm

J., thanks so much for mentioning my site and I’m thrilled that you found a new resource! DA can be a very transformative experience for people. Having previously worked as a therapist in the addictions field for many years, ‘twelve-steppers’ usually refer to it as the ‘graduate program’ because after being in recovery through AA/NA, and then maybe OA, etc., many people find themselves in DA. Money issues tend to be the final frontier of self-growth and personal development for many people in general.

Meg, perhaps “A Currency of Hope” the book you were thinking of?

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8 Alexis April 20, 2010 at 12:20 am

Yes, I agree…people would be more willing to deal with their debt if they knew about DA – but they would still have to ADMIT that they have debt & that it IS a problem! haha…great place to go for help & inspiration! Thanks for sharing this excitingly awesome story!

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9 Simple in France April 20, 2010 at 2:10 am

Hmm. . .I’m starting to see debt as a potential symptom of psychological issues. Similar to addiction. Having been a teacher, you learn to look for possible signs that a child is having difficulties–in kids that kind of behavior will be stuff like not being able to sit still, not getting along with other kids, etc. In adults do you know what some of those signs are? Uncontrolled eating, drinking, sexual or spending habits. I’m not saying all people who have money issues are having psychological issues–but I think that there is definitely a link to psychological health for some of the worst spending behaviors.

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10 J. Money April 20, 2010 at 11:48 am

@Young Mogul – You’d like to think.
@Meg – Woah, I think you’re the first person I’ve met who hated The Millionaire Next Door :) Did it just bore you or something? I think if I had to critique it that would be the only thing I could come up with….lots of numbers saying the same thing. But I still have a special place in my heart for it.
@falling Into Favor – “Closet Debtors” probably ;) D.A. would be perfect cuz then it could all be laid out on the table to strangers who wouldn’t judge you…esp if they’re in the same situation.
@Brad Chaffee – You Like this? No way!!!! ;) I wasn’t at all thinking about you when writing this up so weird…
@Abigail – Hmmm…I kinda sorta see where you’re going with this, but I think it’s all about the root cause of these debt problems more than the average “i’m in debt – please help me” type thing. Some of these people could very well have a more serious disease or underlying issue that gets worked out through D.A. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to open it up for discussion and voice your opinion :) That’s why we blog! And I see you already created a post on it today! haha….well done.
@Stella – Yeah, I wonder if any of these organizations do link up or have some sort of “combo” night? Would be very interesting I think.
@Lora Sasiela – Oh wow, I didn’t realize you were a therapist at one point too – you are super woman! I love that I came across your site, and even more so that you’re sharing the financial knowledge and getting the good word out there :)
@Alexis – You def. have to admit you have a problem first before you can do something about it, you got that right ;)
@Simple in France – Yup! That’s exactly what I think too.

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11 Craig May 2, 2010 at 10:07 pm

@J Money – thanks for posting this. Sometimes I think everyone must have heard of DA but decided it wasn’t for them, but reading posts like yours makes me realize there’s still a lot of people who have never heard the DA message.

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12 J. Money May 4, 2010 at 11:25 am

Oh yeah – seriously I had NO IDEA!!! Really glad I stumbled across this…thanks for stopping by brotha.

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