What Is Debtors Anonymous?
Debting is a process addiction as opposed to a substance addiction. The debtor is not addicted to a substance like alcohol. Rather, the debtor is addicted to accumulating debt. Debtors Anonymous is a 12-Step fellowship of men and women who are recovering from debting. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop incurring debt.
What Is Debting?
Debting involves the accumulation of increasing amounts of debt. This usually means credit card debt and debt from unsecured personal loans. It can also mean debt that’s incurred as a result of not paying bills. Debtors can’t stop themselves from incurring debt, even when serious consequences result. A debtor might spend money that’s earmarked for paying bills on a shopping spree at the mall or blow the monthly mortgage payment on a spur-of-the-moment vacation.
In order to make ends meet, debtors often resort to quick but expensive financial fixes. These fixes often include borrowing from friends and family, taking out easy-to-get high-interest online loans, or signing up for costly payday loans and vehicle title loans to pay for essentials like utilities and groceries.
Just as alcoholics can’t stop drinking without help, debtors can’t stop spending without help. Debting is common in America. According to some sources, the average household credit card debt is $15,204. On the upside, Debtors Anonymous has helped scores of people to get off the debt wagon and create a new life of financial responsibility.
How Do I Know If I’m A Debtor?
Here are some characteristics of debtors. Only you can decide if you qualify:
1. Borrowing money from friends and family without repaying it.
2. Compulsive shopping and buying items on credit that you want but can’t afford.
3. Making impulsive purchases and being unable to resist a “good deal,” even if it’s for something you don’t need. Buying things you don’t use or later realize you don’t even want.
4. Being vague about money. Not staying on top of your financial situation. Making over-the-limit purchases on credit cards or bouncing checks because you don’t know your balances.
5. Not making a monthly spending plan and then not having enough to pay rent, mortgage, car loan, health insurance, auto insurance or utility bills.
6. Paying late or missing monthly payments either because you forgot or because you didn’t have the funds. Frequent late fees or over-the-limit fees due to late or missed payments.
7. Inability to save money. Having no cash reserves for emergencies. Not saving for vacations, kids’ college expenses, taxes, medical care or retirement. Living paycheck to paycheck. Not budgeting money for self care, clothing, recreation or other necessities.
8. A “high” from buying things on credit that you would not get if you paid cash. Feeling like what you buy on credit is somehow “free.” A sense of euphoria or of feeling wealthy when you use credit.
9. Paying off credit cards with other credit cards. Using credit cards or payday loans to pay for basics like rent, mortgage, utilities, groceries and gas.
10. Borrowing money you know you can’t repay but thinking you can somehow repay it anyway.
11. Feeling like there will always be a way out if you get into serious financial trouble. Feeling like there will be few or no consequences if you can’t meet your financial obligations.
12. Being harassed by bill collectors about late or missed payments. Worries about mortgage foreclosure or car repossession. Having your utilities turned off because you aren’t paying the bills. Having a poor FICO score or a bad credit rating.
How Debtors Anonymous Can Help
If you think you might be a debtor, you are not alone, and your situation is not uncommon or hopeless. Countless people have turned financial disaster into financial success by practicing a 12-Step program like Debtors Anonymous. It’s not easy and it takes time, but it’s never too late. Although 12-Step programs like Debtors Anonymous are not for everyone, it won’t hurt to give their meetings a try.