Admitted We Were Powerless

Step One:

Admitted we were powerless over credit, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Here I substitute the well-worn AA phrase for my latest, most virulent compulsion: debt. Debt, and all the short-term, fast-track pleasure it buys.

I'm not even going to make excuses, though they are legion in my own brain. You should have seen me, scissors poised over my newest, freshest credit card, just about leaping up with the hundred good reasons to just keep the damn thing--just one more week. One more day. The things I could buy with it--to cut it up seemed heartless, stupid, and senseless--yet cut it up I did. Because I am powerless. Quite powerless indeed.

I can't say that I've reached a point in my three-hour-old recovery to yet share the levels of debt that I have attained, but believe me, it's impressive. I'm impressed because frankly, I still find myself stunned that any sensible banker (or series of bankers) would see fit to lend me this much money, the money I now owe. Predatory lending notwithstanding, what were these people thinking?

Because after all, I've been here before. In the mid 90s I endured months of phone calls from "Mr Widget at Flim-Flam Bank", red-letter notices, and even a turn in court when the ex and I were nearly evicted from our hopelessly overstuffed apartment. But eventually I got it together, only to again nearly bankrupt myself when I moved to Washington State five years later. Things were really tight then, when the interest on my credit cards was putting my balance over the limit month after month. That was when I had four cents to my name. At that point I got smart, cut up the credit cards, starting making payments and it wasn't long before our family was debt free.

So we had one credit card. For the miles. Or the points or the dollars or what-f***ing-ever. And we bought a couple of things we couldn't quite pay for. Until next month....

Okay. We know I'm an alcoholic because I do not stop at one. And in the same way, something in my brain overrides all reason when it comes to plastic money. I go insane. I lose touch.

This time I knew it was the end when hubby and I had a long, serious discussion about going bankrupt--a discussion that is still pending, mind you. But it seems wrong to me to borrow money, mostly for flim-flammery, and not pay it back. Even if paying back takes, you know, eight million years.

There's only one thing to do: step away from the plastic. And remember Step Two: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Good thing for me I have access to said Power. I'm going to need it.

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