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Post Info TOPIC: Debt Debt Debt


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Date:
Debt Debt Debt


I was raised by an alcoholic and a debtor, so of course I married a debtor. My husband has been in Debtor's Anonymous but he's been in the program for three years and we are only deeper in debt than we were when he started. He still lies as much as he did before. He takes out credit cards the way he did before. So far, nothing has changed, so I want to change. I'm sick of watching him steer us toward financial ruin and doing nothing about it beyond trying to be supportive and taking on a second job.

Here's the problem: We have so much credit card debt now and at such high rates that it's unsustainable. We can't pay off the cards, we can't even pay the interest on the cards, and we are out of money. We won't make it through the month. And we have a daughter. Meanwhile, my husband's father is a very wealthy man and can pay off the debt in literally one day. 

My husband says his fellows in DA tell him not to take the gift so he can recover by paying off the debt off himself. And I agree that taking money from his father is not a spiritual solution. However, his debt has only gotten larger, and having it to "pay off" hasn't helped him recover over the past three years at all -- he just keeps incurring more debt behind my back. And since we're married, all his debts are mine. We're going to run out of money this week. 

I feel guilty, because he's saying his fellows say taking the money interferes with his program and that we should go under and leave it to our higher power. As though my saying that we have to take that gift will mess up his recovery. But I believe I'm powerless over his recovery either way.  Having these debts accrue over the last few years hasn't gotten him sober, it's just gotten me further in debt. I feel like I have to take care of myself and my daughter first. I don't want to be a doormat. And I don't want to lose my home.  

To me, his rationale is like saying I should ride in an alcoholic's car when he drives drunk and leave it to his higher power to see if we crash. Well, I don't want to ride anymore. I want to get out of the car. I am considering divorce. But regardless of divorce, this problem is immediate, so I would love some feedback on this whether you've struggled with debt due to alcoholism or just been affected by someone else's drinking. I feel like there is help for me and my child out there and I want to take it. Am I wrong? Should I feel guilty? Which comes first, me and my kid or his attempts at recovery? Help! And thank you so much for reading. 

 



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Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 237
Date:

 

 

D I know that scary place and have been in and around it a time or two.  Of course I had to work my own solutions for myself and in my case a very big part of the problem was there was alcoholism and drug addiction in my life and family.  First I had to understand what surrender was after arriving at the awareness of the compulsion to drink and use and my powerlessness over it and the person I was married to who was also powerless over it.  

I arrived at the point with the help of my Higher Power that I was "Done" participating in it all and when it came to finances I came to tell the creditors who held debt secured by assets to "come pick up the asset" and then to deny further credit to everyone and anyone trying to create debt with my name attached to the agreement.  That might not be simple for you as I get the impression that you might be "beyond" the line however in time if you stay in program you will come to the amends (Changing) practices of recovery and calling creditors and talking with them and negotiating favorable agreements was part and parcel of my recovery.  

My alcoholic addict could not come against my part in the finances...she would and could only do for her and I didn't butt into that.

This is only one solution which I was helped thru that also helped me get over the fear of making amends and also the negative attitudes which weighted me down.

Glad you came with your courage to change.  You don't have to wait for him, you have already started.   With support and positive attitudes.   ((((hugs)))) smile



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Jerry F


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 16545
Date:

Welcome I have experienced what you are gong through and it is extremely difficult. I did not have anyone who could bail us out or i would have jumped at the opportunity.
Please take care of yourself. Sending prayers and positive thoughts your way



__________________
Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1025
Date:

Welcome,
I am sorry that you have had to seek this forum out... but glad you did! You will find acceptance here. In Al-Anon we do not give advice... although I know from experience that you want some!

I can share my ESH (experience, strength and hope) and you can take what you want from it and leave the rest.

My spouse is an adult. As such, he has every right to do the things he does. Were most of them healthy? NO! But even with a stint in rehab for meth addiction, he did not get rid of all the "isms" of the disease that is addiction. One of the "isms" is debt. Long before I knew of his meth problem, he had a spending/lying problem. After one bankruptcy filing, I had to take control of our family finances. But denial and complacency on my part allowed for more accumulation of debt. Years later, I finally found out where all our money went... drugs. After rehab, I thought he was "cured." He was working a program after all!! But he wasn't addressing the behaviors, and I wasn't addressing the denial and shame.
Therefore, after 7 years my spouse ended up trading one addiction for another... alcohol. When I decided to separate, all the debts of the marriage "froze." I still had to pay on them, but his behavior could not affect them - and the new debts he might incur would not be my debts (this is important). I considered staying separated, yet living together, but the alcoholic behaviors that came out when I did do this were too great for me to live with.

Before I decided upon divorce, I met with a lawyer (free consultation) to find out what the repercussions of having this marital debt was... especially b/c for years I was the only one who had good enough credit to even get credit - so it was all in my name... yea, I wasn't very smart on that part! LOL! But you know, you want to trust your spouse... everyone tells you to... your therapist, your program, HIS program. Everyone. But finally when you ACCEPT the fact that you just cannot, then you are able to move forward to protect you and your child. Turns out if you live in a "no-fault" state, all marital debts are 50/50, regardless of who took out the debt in the first place. BUT (and it's a big but), a divorce decree can demand your spouse to pay his half, but it they won't pay it, then it's your good credit on the line. Your creditors don't give a flying you know what about your situation. They just want their debt paid. Also, any debt with your name on it that is turned into a consolidation loan to help pay it off while you are separated becomes the sole property of you... no longer 50/50... because it is considered a "new" debt.

Currently I am swimming in debt. My kid and I are only able to survive b/c I have public assistance and the help of my aging parents. If I had the ability to have someone completely bail me out, I would take it in a heart beat!! I hear what your spouse's program buddies are telling him - and it might be valid. However, you KNOW the reality. Working his program has not stopped the debt accumulation. Nothing changes if nothing changes. It's a powerful slogan here. One that is hard to grasp, b/c it means YOU have to make the changes needed... you can't depend on your affected SO to do so.

Perhaps upon discussing how this debt is affecting you, you and your spouse could agree on cutting up the credit cards you have so that no more could be easily spent on them. Or perhaps a bankruptcy is in order to have a fresh start... but be careful with this... I think you KNOW in your heart that nothing has really changed despite your spouse being in a program. Regardless, perhaps something could be worked out so that you and kid could move forward being debt free, and any new debt could be "his stuff" only. FYI, many lawyers will allow a free consultation.

Wishing you Peace today, hello.



__________________

Music makes my soul soar!

"The TRUTH is like a lion; you don't have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself." St. Augustine

~~If nothing ever changed, there would be no BUTTERFLIES~~ anonymous



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 9114
Date:

Welcome to MIP Hello - glad you found us and glad that you shared. I really have no experience with DA, but suspect, as with all recovery my best course of action would be to Pray About It, Talk About It and Write About It. Finances are a huge issue for many healthy marriages so it does stand to reason when there is addiction, and finances are damaged, it would be yet another opportunity to ride on or depart from the crazy train.

I have found my way with many difficult decisions by using the Al-Anon program as a guideline for finding the facts vs. my emotions, and then determining what is the next right thing for me and/or my children.

Keep coming back - you are not alone!

__________________

Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 3580
Date:

I got out before my ex completely ran himself into the ground with his debt, but then I watched it like watching a slow-motion train wreck.  He ran up about $100,000 worth of debt, declared bankruptcy, the banks then gave him more credit almost right away (?!?!!), and he ran up a huge debt again.  He was about to declare bankruptcy a second time when sadly he died of alcoholism. 

But thank goodness I got my earnings and my assets out from under that train wreck.

Paying off the debt keeps the creditors from pursuing your A for a brief while.  I think it's like pouring out all the alcohol in the house.  For a very short time, he has a clean slate.  Then ... he behaves just as before.  So it will buy you maybe six months of relief.  Is it worth those tens of thousands of dollars to be back in the same position by next spring?  Since those tens of thousands of dollars are not your money, maybe it is.  You may say that since he's going to keep spending anyway, who cares if someone pays it off temporarily? And in a way, it's his own choice and not anyone else's, so if he says yes, you can shrug and say, "Whatever you decide."  Eventually his father will either run out of money or stop agreeing to pay off the debt, so eventually the same problem will come around again.  It's true that the greater pain of having debt gives a slightly higher chance of getting intro recovery, but the sad truth is that most people never find recovery, so in a way, that doesn't matter either.  I think if I were in this situation, I would decide it's a matter between his father and his own conscience, and whatever happens, happens.  Meanwhile, though, I hope you can keep clear of the oncoming train.  Do protect yourself and your assets any way you can.

 



__________________
bud


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1879
Date:

Hi and welcome - you're in the right place and glad you found us. I have been in similar shoes without help. Eventually, I found Alanon and step by step over time I was able to inch towards better self- care and something more positive. I'm grateful those circumstances are now behind me. Sending thoughts and prayers - keep coming back - Alanon works

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Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Date:

Thank you so much to everyone who replied. I've been feeling so alone and now of course I realize I'm not. I really need to hear all things here. : ) The truth is I am so angry. I am so, so, so angry. I am having a hard time keeping my temper, keeping my side of the street clean. I'm new to Al-anon so that's like saying, oh go fly a plane right now. I don't know how to fly a plane, I never learned. I wish I could be rational about this. Or kind. It's just been going on for so long and I'm at my breaking point. I have so little compassion for him right now. I know I should -- and somewhere deep down I do -- but I keep coming back to all the lies and the fact that he KNEW I would find out, and he didn't care. He KNEW what he was doing to us, and he didn't care. He even knew he was an addict and didn't work the program. Lied to his sponsor, lied to his fellows, lied to our therapist, lied to me. It's pretty hard to deal with at this point with anything resembling grace. Anyway I'm worried I sound like a terrible person. I just am going to go to more Al Anon meetings. Thanks again for all the experience, strength and hope.


__________________
a4l


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1016
Date:

Really appreciated the realism of this post and of the esh shared. hellohellohello, you do not sound like a terrible person. You sound like a person facing up to reality. It's a tough gig when the s/o is stuck in lala-land. Good for you. Take care.

__________________


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1025
Date:

((((HelloX3)))),

You are NOT a terrible person! And you are not alone in your feelings. I too, was awash with anger! The lies! To this day, lying (from anyone) can trigger me into irrational thinking. I learned "Detachment" here... and they say you can detach with love. I couldn't. Too much anger in me. So I first detached with anger. Which eventually led to Detachment with indifference. That was the way I lived for about a year or so, all while "working" my Al-Anon program. When I had finally did enough work on ME, I decided I could not live with addiction in my life. It was the constant lying. That is what broke the camels back so-to-speak.

For me, I could not work my way to Detachment with Love until I got myself and my kid away and safe from the chaos of addiction. It was not easy. That being said, I have witnessed both here at MIP and in Face to Face meetings that people do find peace and serenity in their lives even while living with an addicted/alcoholic spouse or child. I am always in awe of their strong program!!

Sending you light & love!
Peace!

__________________

Music makes my soul soar!

"The TRUTH is like a lion; you don't have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself." St. Augustine

~~If nothing ever changed, there would be no BUTTERFLIES~~ anonymous



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 9114
Date:

Hello - just so you know, that negative self-talk as well as self-deprecation is part of how the disease affects us! When I first landed in Al-Anon, others who came before me suggested I take the time to write a gratitude list and an asset list each day. My thinking was so distorted by the disease, it took me long periods of time to come up with very, very basic things for my lists. Yet, the practice has always served me well and continues to do so today!

It's never easy to adult alone when other adults feel empowered to skip out on responsibility and accountability. I had to hear over and over and over again that I was not responsible for the actions of my loved ones, even when those actions directly affected me. It was so very helpful for me to try to live one day at a time too!

Keep coming back....there is hope and help in recovery!

__________________

Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Date:

This is a really helpful perspective. What I'm hearing is there are several ways down the path to detachment with love. That makes me feel better somehow. I don't know the future, but it's good to realize there isn't only ONE way. Thank you so much. 



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