Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Getting Out of Debt

This is tough for compulsive gamblers….we have to do some difficult things…we have to FACE what we’ve done....actually get out a pen and paper...and all of our bills...and put it all down...then make a plan.

For so long, I didn’t open bank statements….I opened credit card statements only to take out the payment stub…and find out what the minimum payment due was…I didn’t look at the transactions…or the balance.

I couldn’t bear to.

I didn’t.

In 2002, when the sh*t hit the fan at my house, my husband took over all of our finances including the responsibility of making a plan to get us out of debt --- a BUDGET.

That word still makes me cringe.

Basically, what he did was document all of our living expenses PLUS everything that we owed..and everything that was coming in.

It seemed impossible.

We had to make changes…we had to INCREASE what was coming in…and DECREASE what was going out.

That was painful.

It was painful to me on many levels.

I have rarely deprived myself of anything….if I wanted something, I bought it…I’d worry about paying for it (consequences) later (sound familiar?)…so now....on this new 'budge' I would have to learn to do without.

In some ways that was pretty easy…I mean…I was walking around with so much shame and fear…I didn’t deserve to spend money, ever again.

At the same time…I sometimes WANTED things.


What was REALLY painful..was watching my family…my husband…my children…do without things that THEY wanted..and that we should have easily been able to afford.

We cut back on everything that we could.

And we adjusted.
We all did.

Consolidating debts is not a good idea for compulsive gamblers, generally speaking…it is very common for us to consolidate…then..after experiencing some financial relief…returning to gambling…so we end up with the same debt we had before PLUS the consolidation loan…(many times I would transfer my debt to a new credit card with a 0% a.p.r. and then, with a fresh slate on the OLD cards...begin gambling yet again).

If one does decide to consolidate...some MAJOR roadblocks should be put in place…to prevent further damage.

G.A. says that this is not a financial problem...and I agree...it is not...but...most of us create financial problems before we seek help...and the knowledge that this is not a financial problem doesn't make the financial problems go away. If gambling has created debt...ignoring it is not going to make it go away.

Assess the situation.
Make a plan.
Stick to it.

I was chatting with someone the other night who is in debt (restitution) that he will be paying, for the rest of his life, due to gambling.

His attitude was amazing.

He said… I have to pay x amount out of every pay check for the rest of my life…I just think of that like another ‘tax’…and know that what *I* get to live on is what is left after that….and I do.

Related: Money/Debt and Gambling to Get Money


Who recalls when folks got along without something if it cost too much? ~Kin Hubbard

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