The Fifth Promise of Debtors Anonymous states that we will realize that we are enough; we will value ourselves and our contributions.
Growing up in an abusive alcoholic home I always felt “less than.” Never quite good enough. Any healthy values are had were never quite good enough for my family. If I got a B in a class I would be questioned as to why I didn’t get an A. If I got an A, I would be questioned about how much better it could have been if I didn’t miss a couple of days of school because I was sick.
I was taught that no matter what I did it was no good. Not just in my family but also growing up during a strict time in the Catholic Church. If I wanted to fulfil any urges as a teenage boy I was shamed and certainly going to hell. Then the confusion really sat in because I was told not to touch myself but yet a priest could.
I carried these early lessons in life into my adulthood. My values said that I needed to take care of myself and no one else. I could run up bills and not worry about paying anyone back. In fact, I’d become quite angry if you expected me to pay you back.
One of the worst feelings in this world are the thoughts of being useless. A total zero. I believed my self-worth was based on material things. While getting a nice car and having a kick ass stereo meant the world to me, the idea of how I’d pay for it never entered my mine.
It was all for show. A new stereo meant inviting people over. Get a keg of beer, crank it up and party the night away. This would go on for a couple of weeks, then the first monthly bill would arrive in the mail. A sense of accomplishment would fill me with false pride when I made a minimum payment.
Next month would come and another small payment was made. This would go on for six months until frustration would set in. I’d look at the balance and hardly nothing was removed. I was paying interest and very little else. Now my stereo was outdated and small compared to others. I hated it and now even hated myself for buying it.
I now believe that is OK not to have everything. That I don’t have a need that isn’t met. By learning how to let go of my wants, I have come to a spiritual freedom realizing that I am basically a transient in this time and place. That I can’t take anything with me when I leave so why do I need to acquire things now?
A short time ago my wife and I got away for a weekend. Nothing extravagant. Just a simple weekend together and it was perfect. She came home with a new mug for her to drink tea, I came home with a root beer, something that is hard to find in the UK. And we were both more than happy with these simple gifts.
And the best gift of all after spending the weekend together? No debt. It was all paid for with cash.