Fellowship Basics

Recovery Tools of D.A.


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: Debtors Anonymous Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, the Tools of Debtors Anonymous, Signposts of Debting, Debtors Anonymous Promises, and Alcoholics Anonymous and Debtors Anonymous Prayers.

Living By Debtors Anonymous

THE TWELVE STEPS of DEBTORS ANONYMOUS

  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 all 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 knowledge of 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 © A.A. World Services, Inc. Adapted and reprinted with permission.

THE TWELVE TRADITIONS of DEBTORS ANONYMOUS

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon D.A. 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 D.A. membership is a desire to stop incurring unsecured debt.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or D.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the debtor who still suffers.
  6. A D.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the D.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every D.A. 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. D.A., 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 D.A. 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 © A.A. World Services, Inc. Adapted and reprinted with permission.

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.

  1. MEETINGS:
    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 D.A., 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.
  3. SPONSORSHIP:
    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 & PRESSURE RELIEF MEETINGS:
    After we have gained some familiarity with the D.A. 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 to live within our means. It includes categories for income, spending, debt payment and savings. The income category helps us determine our resources and focus on increasing our income, if needed. The debt payment category guides us in making realistic payment arrangements without depriving ourselves. The savings category helps us build cash reserves, however humble, and can include savings for a 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 D.A. members by using the telephone, e-mail, and other forms of communication. We make a point of talking to other D.A. members before and after taking difficult steps in our recovery.
  8. D.A. AND A.A. 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.
  9. AWARENESS:
    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.
  11. SERVICE:
    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.
  12. ANONYMITY:
    We practice anonymity, which allows us freedom of expression by assuring us that what we say at meetings or to other D.A. members at any time will not be repeated.

    © 2005 Debtors Anonymous General Service Board, Inc.

We have all arrived at this crossroad.

One road, a soft road, lures you on to further despair, illness, ruin, and in some cases, mental institutions, prison, or suicide.

The other road, a more challenging road, leads to self-respect, solvency, healing, and personal fulfillment.

We urge you to take the first difficult step onto the more solid road now.

Twelve Signs of Compulsive Debting

  1. Being unclear about your financial situation. Not knowing account balances, monthly expenses, loan interest rates, fees, fines, or contractual obligations.
  2. Frequently “borrowing” items such as books, pens, or small amounts of money from friends and others, and failing to return them.
  3. Poor saving habits. Not planning for taxes, retirement or other not-recurring but predictable items, and then feeling surprised when they come due; a “live for today, don’t worry about tomorrow” attitude.
  4. Compulsive shopping: Being unable to pass up a “good deal”; making impulsive purchases; leaving price tags on clothes so they can be returned; not using items you’ve purchased.
  5. Difficulty in meeting basic financial or personal obligations, and/or an inordinate sense of accomplishment when such obligations are met.
  6. A different feeling when buying things on credit than when paying cash, a feeling of being in the club, of being accepted, of being grown up.
  7. Living in chaos and drama around money: Using one credit card to pay another; bouncing checks; always having a financial crisis to contend with.
  8. A tendency to live on the edge: Living paycheck to paycheck; taking risks with health and car insurance coverage; writing checks hoping money will appear to cover them.
  9. Unwarranted inhibition and embarrassment in what should be a normal discussion of money.
  10. Overworking or underearning: Working extra hours to earn money to pay creditors; using time inefficiently; taking jobs below your skill and education level.
  11. An unwillingness to care for and value yourself: Living in self-imposed deprivation; denying your basic needs in order to pay your creditors.
  12. A feeling or hope that someone will take care of you if necessary, so that you won’t really get into serious financial trouble, that there will always be someone you can turn to.

© 2001 Debtors Anonymous General Service Board, Inc. Registered D.A. groups have permission to copy this page for distribution to its members.

THE TWELVE PROMISES of DEBTORS ANONYMOUS

In the program of Debtors Anonymous, we come together to share our journey in recovering from compulsive debting. There is hope. In working D.A.’s Twelve Steps, we develop new ways of living. When we work D.A.’s Twelve Steps and use D.A.’s Tools, we begin to receive these gifts of the program:

  1. Where once we felt despair, we will experience a newfound hope.
  2. Clarity will replace vagueness. Confidence and intuition will replace confusion and chaos. We will live engaged lives, make decisions that best meet our needs, and become the people we were meant to be.
  3. We will live within our means, yet our means will not define us.
  4. We will begin to live a prosperous life, unencumbered by fear, worry, resentment, or debt.
  5. We will realize that we are enough; we will value ourselves and our contributions.
  6. Isolation will give way to fellowship; faith will replace fear.
  7. We will recognize that there is enough; our resources will be generous and we will share them with others and with D.A..
  8. We will cease to compare ourselves to others; jealousy and envy will fade.
  9. Acceptance and gratitude will replace regret, self-pity, and longing.
  10. We will no longer fear the truth; we will move from hiding in denial to living in reality.
  11. Honesty will guide our actions toward a rich life filled with meaning and purpose.
  12. We will recognize a Power greater than ourselves as the source of our abundance. We will ask for help and guidance and have faith that they will come.

All this and more is possible. When we work this program with integrity and to the best of our ability, one day at a time, a life of prosperity and serenity will be ours.

SERENITY PRAYER

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference. 

A.A. THIRD STEP PRAYER

God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always!

D.A. THIRD STEP PRAYER

Higher Power – I stand before you ready to be transformed. I place myself in your hands. Guide me on my recovery path. Remove my compulsive debting, my self-centered fear, and my own self will. May I shine to others as a beacon of your power. May I choose to remain on your path always.

A.A SEVENTH STEP PRAYER

My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness 

to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go from here, to do your bidding, Amen.

D.A. SEVENTH STEP PRAYER

Higher Power, I stand ready to carry your message to others. Remove from me the shortcomings and fears holding me back. Help me be who you would have me be. May I choose to remain on your path always.

A.A. ELEVENTH STEP PRAYER

Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace that where there is hatred, I may bring love that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness that where there is discord, I may bring harmony that where there is error, I may bring truth that where there is doubt, I may bring faith that where there are shadows, I may bring light that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted to understand, than to be understood to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. it is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.


Join a Debtor’s Anonymous face-to-face, telephone, or internet meeting in the New York City area.