It stands to reason that Debtors Anonymous (official website) takes an addiction-based approach to help people. Their method is based on a proven system by one of the most highly recognized group-self-help organizations in the world – Alcoholics Anonymous.
And yes, they have a 12-step program and pair debtors up with sponsors and so forth. But what really strikes me as interesting is that this organization looks at debt as a problem.
See, I never looked at purchasing items on debt as a problem. You will find in previous and future posts that I view consumer debt as the real problem that people need to overcome, however.
This is the kind of debt that inevitably gets you into financial trouble – a mortgage, like rent, needs to be paid and even with real estate at these depressed levels, most people do not have the resources to pay for real estate with cash in the bank.
Likewise, a car payment is often unavoidable as well and even though this type of debt is linked to a depreciating asset, it is still a secured loan all the same.
But I do give big credit to Debtors Anonymous for taking this approach and if you are someone who struggles with making purchases with debt, then I suggest you visit the site and take their 15-question test.
If you answer 8 of the 15 affirmatively, then you are addicted to debt – a compulsive debtor as they call it. And yes, this is a bad thing because if you look at the questions, you really should have firm control over your debt situation… period.
One way that I learned to control my compulsive debt-based purchases was through some weight-management system. Seriously.
For me, my relationship with debt was the equivalent of an overweight person’s relationship with food (now I have that relationship with food, go figure!).
I would buy things on credit to feel better about myself – after a long day, instead of binge eating, I would buy something that looked cool or was trendy enough that I would feel others might envy me and make me feel special.
We all know how stupid this sounds “on paper” but try telling someone with an eating disorder that a Big Mac chased down with a milkshake or two and followed up with a bag of chips will not make them feel better… it just defies logic, plain and simple.
In that sense, I was addicted to debt; more so, I was looking for ways to feel better about myself.
There are other spending problems people can have.
For example, sometimes people overspend the way others over-eat – simply because it is there.
Just like the eating disorder will lead folks to the buffet table three or four times, there are people who will spend that last $500 available on their credit card simply because they know there is room to do so.
Are these “addictions” to credit? Yes, of course, they are.
Are they a disease like alcohol abuse…? I think we can certainly tackle the problem like you would with an alcoholic’s problems.
The system works, it has a proven track record. But like people hooked on booze, the problem with conquering debt also lies in the fact that so many people fail at conquering it.
That is ultimately why we also published Debtors Anonymous: What Kind of Debtor Are You? because it deals with helping you overcome that hurdle, that almost guarantees of never repaying that debt.
That doesn’t mean you should not visit the DA website. It is a tremendous resource to help you overcome what might be the root of your problem.
Get to the psychological reason why you keep spending on credit. Break that cycle, that bad habit, and, even if it might just be “for fun” some night, check out one of the local meetings. You will definitely benefit, even if your debt “problem” is something the Debt Snowball Method might eliminate all on its own.
I guess my point here is simply that the more information you have about conquering debt, the better.
Debtors Anonymous will provide you with that avenue of digging deeper into your psyche. Even if your debt issues are not an addiction, per se.