18 July 2017

The Second Promise of Debtors Anonymous

The second promise of DA says that 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.

I used to hate the question “When?” When will you pay? When will the payment be made? When will you put it in the mail? I hated it. I also hated lying, which made this question even harder. I had no idea how to answer that question honestly. I would be broke before I got paid, so how could I honestly tell you when I could pay?

I hated when the ex-wife or the kids needed to go to the doctor because I was always two or three months behind with payments I promised to pay the last time they asked me “When?” I hated when a dog or cat got sick because I had no money to take them to the vets and had run out of goodwill with them.

It was chaos. There was never a plan on how to achieve simple goals. An example would be to answer the simple question “When” honestly and to be able to meet those deadlines.

The shameful and embarrassing answer came when I was 52 years old. While friends were starting to finalize their plans for retirement, I was still just trying to survive paycheck to paycheck.

I started the long climb out of a financial hell hole by getting a divorce and moving into a cockroach ridden apartment. I slept on the floor of my furnitureless home. My landlord did give me an old couch and I had a computer desk and chair and that was it. The first month all I ate was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot dogs, and cheese sandwiches.

It was hard, yet it was a beginning. I was finally starting to work on my retirement plans. And step one of that plan was getting out of debt. Long story short, this plan worked. It took nearly four years by living frugally and cutting down on my expenses but I did get out of debt and along the way I was even able to save some money.

Confusion left and was replaced with confidence. And along the way I got an intuition as to when to make my payments and when to save money. The plan included paying myself first before anyone else. And while the plan was to save 10% of every paycheck, I always tried to save more which is where I juggled money7 and learned how to pay bills ontime, yet only after I was paid first.

I’ve been out of debt now for over three years. The freedom it brings physically and emotionally can not be beat. I no longer dread the mornings, nor do I have sleepless nights. I’m still trying to figure out who I was meant to be, yet I have figured out that part of it is enjoying life, with what I have and being content with the money I earn and not needing extra “frills” by going into debt.

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