D.A. Wants to Work With You
Cooperation with the professional community is an objective of D.A., and has been since our beginnings. We are always seeking to strengthen and expand our communication with you, and we welcome your comments and suggestions. They help us to work more effectively with you in achieving our common purpose: to help the person who still suffers from being in debt.
A Resource for the Helping Professional
Professionals who work with debtors share a common purpose with Debtors Anonymous: to help the compulsive debtor become solvent, and lead a healthy, productive life.
D.A. is a nonprofit, self-supporting, entirely independent, self-help fellowship "not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution." Yet D.A. is in a position to serve as a resource to you through its policy of cooperation but not affiliation with the professional community.
We can serve as a source of personal experience with the problem of compulsive debt as an ongoing support system for recovering debtors.
How the Program Works
D.A.'s primary purpose, as stated in our Preamble, is "to stop debting one day at a time and to help other compulsive debtors to stop incurring unsecured debt."
The only requirement for D.A. membership is a desire to stop using any form of unsecured debt. There are no dues or fees; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. Members share their experiences in recovery from compulsive indebtedness on a one-to-one basis, and introduce the newcomer to A.A.'s Twelve Steps of personal recovery and its Twelve Traditions that sustain the Fellowship itself.
At the heart of the program are its meetings, which are conducted autonomously by D.A. groups in cities and towns throughout the world. Anyone may attend open meetings of D.A. These usually consist of talks by one or more speakers who share impressions of their past and their present recovery in D.A. Our beginners' meetings are open to anyone who believes he or she may have this problem. Other meetings are not open to the general public. At this time D.A. does not have meetings open to the professional community. Debtors recovering in D.A. generally attend several meetings each week.
Anonymity helps the Fellowship to govern itself by principles rather than personalities; attraction rather than promotion. We openly share our program of recovery, but not the names of individuals in it.
What D.A. Does NOT Do
D.A. does not keep attendance records or case histories, engage in or sponsor research, affiliate with "councils" or social agencies (although D.A. members, groups and service officers cooperate with them), offer religious services, provide housing, food, clothing, jobs, money or other social services, provide domestic or vocational counseling, provide letters of reference to parole boards, lawyers, court officials or social agencies.
Referrals From Courts and Treatment Facilities
Today numerous D.A. members come to us from court programs and counseling services. Some arrive voluntarily, others do not.
D.A. does not discriminate against any prospective member. Who made the referral to D.A. is not what interests us...it is the compulsive debtor who elicits our concern.
Proof of attendance at meetings
Sometimes a court asks for proof of attendance at D.A. meetings. Some groups, with consent of the prospective member, have the D.A. group secretary sign or initial a slip that has been furnished by the court together with a self-addressed court envelope. The referred person supplies identification and mails the slip back to the court as proof of attendance.
Other groups cooperate in different ways. There is no set procedure. The nature and extent of any group's involvement in this process is entirely up to the individual group.
Problems Other Than Debt
Some people are compulsive spenders or compulsive shoppers. Underearning is another problem faced by many. These problems may exist separately from the problem of compulsive debt. Our primary purpose is to stay solvent and to help others to recover from compulsive indebtedness. We service those who have a desire to stop using any form of unsecured debt, which is any debt without collateral such as a car or house or other property.
After a member has gained some familiarity with the D.A. program through attendance at meetings, he or she organizes a Pressure Relief Group, a meeting to relieve any financial or other kinds of pressure the member may be feeling and provide support for recovery. The meeting consists of the member and two other members of the fellowship who have been solvent for three months and who usually have more experience in the program. The group meets periodically to review the new member's financial situation.
D.A.'s source of strength lies in our singleness of purpose. We welcome the opportunity to provide professionals with information on these issues.
How To Make Referrals to D.A.
Debtors Anonymous is listed in most telephone directories, if there are meetings in your area. Some professionals call D.A. while the person is in their office, thus giving the individual an immediate opportunity to obtain help. In many areas, the D.A. phone number listed will give you an answering service or machine that provides times and locations of meetings in your area. Local intergroups (regional entities) may have web sites which provide D.A. information and a list of meetings, and/or you may refer the person to the national web site debtorsanonymous.org. You may also contact the General Service Office of Debtors Anonymous for help and information at 800-421-2383.
Recommended D.A. Reading
Many helping professionals have found the following World Services, Inc. publications helpful in their work with debtors. To obtain copies, go to the national web site at debtorsanonymous.org or contact the General Service Office or your local D.A. office/intergroup.
D.A. General Service Conference-Approved Literature
- A Currency of Hope
- The Twelve Steps of Debtors Anonymous
- Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts of Debtors Anonymous
- Pressure Relief Groups and Pressure Relief Meetings pamphlet
- Ways and Means Newsletter
Reprinted with permission, as Group 799, from Debtors Anonymous General Service Board, Inc. Copyright 2006