A week later, I went back to DA.
And for the next six months I went back to most meetings, unless something suddenly came up that night.
The routine very quickly fell into place – catching the train over there two hours beforehand; having dinner at the nearby McDonald’s; looking in the nearby bargain-bookstore and sometimes buying books; walking to the meeting venue past the café with the white and black-spotted cat sitting outside most evenings; and usually being the first or one of the first to arrive about ten minutes before the meeting began.
Soon, I would help set up the room for meetings.
Eventually, I would also chair some of the meetings – and most times when I read out the preamble, I would stumble over reading out the word ‘anonymity’. No, it wasn’t psychological – but whenever I saw that word, my brain and mouth would start processing it as ‘anony-mity’ and then get it right as ‘ano-nym-i-ty’.
I got to know more and more about some of the other regular attendees, and how and why they’d arrived at DA. Some had been coming regularly, or on-and-off, for many years.
Some weeks, only a handful of people would turn up – while other weeks, we’d have to find extra chairs.
There was often laughter, or tears, or both.
Each meeting I attended was remarkable in its own way.
Soon, I also resolved the DA component that had troubled me greatly at first – what, or who, was my Higher Power?
One night at one of my first meetings, as I was looking past a few people at where the Twelve Steps banner was hanging on the wall behind them, I got an idea.
Another meeting or so later, after having mulled over it some more, I described to my fellow attendees what my Higher Power was.
It was a mental image I called the Future Me, a smiling vision of myself somewhere in what I then thought would be the distant future where I was debt-free (or well onto the way of being so) and living a much better and stress-free life thanks to the action I had taken and the financial literacy I had learnt.
As I explained to my fellow attendees, the Future Me was what I was striving towards and what was keeping me going. That was my Higher Power.
And for some of the time, it worked.
Going to DA encouraged me to seek more help and resources about my situation.
As well, thanks to DA literature and other information I found in books and online, at first I did the right things like proactively contacting creditors and working out with them when I could make payments.
But soon, the growing stream of letters and ‘phone calls became an overwhelming flood.
Unfortunately, I became very scared.
And because of my growing embarrassment, fear and shame, I stopped being proactive.
Unopened mail and ‘phone messages piled up.
And as a result, my weekly trips to DA became even more important.
Those meetings became 50-minute sanctuaries from the mess I’d made of my outside world.
Apart from my psychiatrist, my fellow attendees were the only people I was comfortable talking to.
Not only did they give me an outlet so that I wouldn’t keep my fear and terror bottled up and festering inside, but after many of those meetings I was compelled to stop putting off calls I had to return or correspondence I had to reply to.
One week at a time, DA was helping me to cope and take some action.
But as more time passed, it wasn’t enough.
The end, it seemed, was coming faster and faster.
I had to take major action.
And then a few nights before Christmas 2010, I unexpectedly found my answer.
Until next time, stay well and take care 🙂