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A 12-step program for debtists

Our mind-sets about money are in a mess.  Here is a blog from 2015 about changing that.

My name is Jon and I am a debtist.  This is the program

  1. We admit we have given in to debt - that our lives have become unmanageable.

We have lived for several decades in the illusion that money is real, not merely a virtual representation of an underlying reality.  As individuals we have made money rather than the things and services that we create into the embodiment of value.  We have expected our houses and speculative investments to make money out of money.  We have wanted what we cannot finance now, borrowing against our future creations and those of our children.

Collectively we have ceased to operate the system once known as capitalism.  We have replaced it with debtism.  When that system became unstable we created more debt to prevent its collapse, deliberately preventing the free market from delivering the consequences.  We have subverted the foundations of healthy economics.

In our own choices, our business and corporations and in our political choices we have made money more important than other humans, than other living species, than our climate and resources.  We have cared for money more than we have cared for life. 

My name is Jon and I am addicted to debt.  I have co-operated with a debt-ridden system.  I have allowed blindness to its consequences for me, my loved ones, my society and my planet.  I am willing to do what is necessary for all of that to change.  

  1. We acknowledge that only a power greater than ourselves can restore us to a normal way of thinking and living.

Since our illusions about money and our addiction to debt have created a world of instability, unsustainability, inequality, exploitation, loss of care and widespread unhappiness we accept that something new is needed.

We acknowledge that we must engage with a higher power for this change to be possible.  While not denying the possibility of divine or spiritual support and welcoming all that this may offer, we also take full individual and collective responsibility that this higher power must rest in our acceptance of ethical, moral, practical and financial principles which will shape and guide our future choices.

  1. We pledge to turn our will and our lives over to the care of this Power of our own understanding.

We are each sovereign beings, who acknowledging our weaknesses, our fears and our driven desires, accept to recognise and adopt the fundamental principles and the new ways of being that will bring about a new financial reality.

We embrace the need to embed in ourselves and encourage in those around us all of the new understandings and ways of choosing that will rebuild our families communities, businesses, societies and nations.

We are willing to learn a new financial way of life that brings greater happiness and sustainability to all of life.

  1. Make a searching and fearless moral and financial inventory of ourselves.

Where is your relationship with money based on fear?

How have you used money, or desired to use it as a means of power over others?

Where has greed been a part of your motivation?

Have you used money for control?

Have you been willing to engage with the current reality of money or have you tried to pretend it doesn’t exist and doesn’t need to be manage?  Have you been so determined to be creative and not limited that you have lived as if it will all somehow come right magically?  Have you been willing to engage with the present?

Are you always honest with yourself about money?  Always straight with others?  Do you (or your business) pay on time? 

Are you genuinely willing to receive money, or do you think that you must scheme, slave and manipulate in order to have it.

There are very few of us who haven’t been caught up in choices or ways of acting like the above, or others that are similar.  Our unwillingness to be in a direct, honest and balanced relationship with money and its uses have allowed the creation of dysfunctional systems and led us into compliance with their flawed ways.  The changes begin with us


5. We admit to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our difficulties and mistakes.

Most of us are slow to talk about the specifics of money, how we thing and feel, and the choices we make.  We have a tendency to work in covert ways, to be hiding ourselves because of shame and guilt.  We hide from others and we hide from ourselves. 

Complaining about money is not a part of this.  Putting up a front about it isn’t either.   When we share these realities in genuine ways we help them become smaller and we feel supported to do something about it.   We can take off the pressure, feel more compassionate towards ourselves and each other and we can create the basis for a shared engagement to create a new reality.

  1. We make ourselves ready to free ourselves, free each other and free our systems from all flaws.

We take on our power to change.  We let go of all beliefs that we are victims.  We choose to be part of a process that will change the current money reality.

We take on the task of looking in new ways at our systems and structures.  We recognise them as man-made, neither God-given nor inevitable.  We challenge ourselves to become more aware and where necessary, to change.  We challenge our systems and those who manage them to a process of re-evaluation and re-invention that rectifies their inadequacies and makes the fit for purpose.

We are no longer willing to accept that there is not always room for improvement and we start that now.

  1. We take a humble attitude to life and to higher powers and principles in respect of our weaknesses, emotional challenges and mistakes.

  2. We work towards greater and more specific awareness of where others have been harmed and how we might make amends.

  3. We engage with ways to make direct amends to those whom our choices have harmed in the past

  4. We continue to monitor ourselves and our systems and where we discover flaws to admit and rectify them.

  1. We seek to become more mindful and conscious in all areas of our thoughts, choices and actions with money.

  1. Having made an effort to practice these principles in all our affairs, we seek to carry this message to a debt-ridden world