Turns out it’s not so easy to slink into a 12 person meeting in a small, airless room where most of the other people know each other. On my lunch break today I dashed over to my first Debtor’s Anonymous (DA) meeting. While I was ready to ‘fess up regarding my financial crimes, I didn’t really believe Debt to be one of them, so I wasn’t sure if I’d be welcome in the group. Anyone reading this who has ever been to a 12-step AA inspired program, won’t be surprised to find out that 1) Everybody is welcome!! and 2) If you THINK you have a problem, you definitely have a problem.
For innocents, this video gives you an idea of what happens at AA and AA type of meetings.
Turns out Debtor’s Anonymous (DA) is for anyone who has issues under-earning, avoiding financial realities, chronically spending or raking up debt after debt. And obviously all of these types of bad behaviours go hand in hand. Indeed there was even one person there who confessed to be very affluent without any debt – except for a spiritual/emotional kind of self-debt. No, I didn’t know what it meant either. Most of the room was definitely talking about cash issues.
Now, the question is this – while most of us accept that alcohol or nicotine or narcotics are physically addictive, do we believe that spending is?
According to psychotherapist Sue Gerhardt in her book, The Selfish Society, the answer is YES.
“In the West, we are trapped in these cycles of endless striving and dissatisfaction, trying to keep up with ever more elaborate displays of consumption … this drive to accumulate … appears to have addictive qualities: it is a powerful appetite which has no inbuilt mechanisms to alert us when we have had enough.”
Our author goes on to talk about the dopamine in our brain whenever we experience that immediate high of a reward and just how fantastic capitalism is at exploiting this human weakness for more and more pleasure.