Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, life is getting better as I develop in my sobriety. Part of my development includes knowing freedom and losing the fear of economic insecurity that has plagued me since I started footing the bill for my life. These Promises from the Big Book are beginning to take shape.
I have racked up quite a bit of debt over the past 10 years. Student loans and credit cards floated me through the majority of my twenties. It’s not that I didn’t understand that loans have to be repaid or that credit cards can charge crazy interest, it’s more that I chose to ignore the long-term consequences in order to satisfy myself in the moment. There is a great line on page 49 of the 12X12 that says, “We eat, drink and grab for more of everything than we need, fearing we shall never have enough.”
I have lived as a greedy little consumer for a long time and that grabbing/desiring/wanting is all fear-based and ego-driven. If you can pay for it with a credit card, I probably have: furniture, books, haircuts, eye exams, groceries, painting our home, getting new windows, cigarettes, alcohol, cell phone bills, clothes, vet bills, plane tickets, hotels, dinners, gas… you get the point. When I got married, neither myself or my husband had a steady job and I was about to start my Masters program. I bought about $5000 worth of furniture on credit so I could play house and we could appear to be a successful young couple in a cool loft apartment. I spent some pretty desperately drunk times on one of those stupid couches. This was the beginning of making financial decisions based on impulse, self-satisfaction, ego and a sense of entitlement.
No more! I want to be free from owing other people for my existence. The home I live in doesn’t quite belong to me. The student loans won’t be paid off until my own children go to college. The disposable income we have every month that could be saved, invested or used to enrich our lives is eaten up by credit card payments. It’s hard to feel free when you are wearing a $250k pound backpack of I.O.U.s. I would rather be free from debt than wear fancy clothes. I would rather be free from debt than drink Starbuck’s coffee everyday. I would rather be free from debt than buy that really cool piece of art I found on etsy.com. Freedom doesn’t mean being able to buy whatever I desire – freedom means 100% ownership and acceptance of what I have.
The point of all this rambling is to share a website called powerpay.org. It’s a free resource that helps individuals create a debt elimination plan. We are utilizing the Dave Ramsey system of paying off debt smallest balance to largest balance.
Anyone else found financial freedom in sobriety? Any tips or suggestions for getting out of debt?