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DA has a long history of cooperation, but not affiliation, with outside organizations. Northwest DA Intergroup has many members and an active Public Information Committee available to provide professionals with information on members' experiences of the Debtors Anonymous program. We welcome your comments and suggestions.
In DA, our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience with newcomers, and to reach out to other debtors. DA is a spiritual fellowship based on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions as adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous. The essence of the DA program is one compulsive debtor helping another to refrain from incurring unsecured debt, one day at a time.
DA groups are self supporting through the contributions of members, and the fellowship is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution. DA service committees have a policy of "cooperation, not affiliation" with professionals who are interested in helping compulsive debtors recover.
How the Program Works
The only requirement for DA 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 newcomers to DA's Twelve Steps of personal recovery (based on the Twelve Steps of AA) and its Twelve Traditions that sustain the Fellowship itself.
At the heart of the program are its meetings, which are conducted autonomously by DA groups in cities and towns throughout the world. Anyone may attend open meetings of DA These usually consist of talks by one or more speakers who share impressions of their past and their present recovery in DA. Our beginners' meetings are open to anyone who believes he or she may have this problem. Closed meetings are not open to the general public or to the professional community. Debtors recovering in DA generally attend several DA meetings each week.
Anonymity helps the Fellowship 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 the program of Debtors Anonymous.
What DA Does NOT Do
DA does not keep attendance records or case histories, engage in or sponsor research, affiliate with "councils" or social agencies (although DA 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 DA members come to us from court programs and counseling services. Some arrive voluntarily, others do not. DA does not discriminate against any prospective member. Who made the referral to DA 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 DA meetings. Some groups, with consent of the prospective member, have the DA group secretary sign or initial a slip that has been furnished by the court. 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 “stop debting one day at a time and to help other compulsive debtors to stop incurring unsecured debt." We provide service to those who have a desire to stop using any form of unsecured debt, which is any debt that is not secured with some form of collateral such as a car, house, or other property.
After a member has gained some familiarity with the DA program through attendance at DA meetings, he or she may take the following actions — obtain a sponsor, work the Twelve Steps of DA, read DA literature, and organize a pressure relief group and pressure relief meeting. You can see the DA Tools for explanations of these terms. DA'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 DA
Some professionals suggest DA to their clients and offer them the address of this website. The potential newcomer can then look through times and locations of DA meetings in our area. You may also contact the General Service Office of Debtors Anonymous for help and information.
Recommended DA Reading
Many helping professionals have found the following World Services, Inc. publications helpful in their work with debtors. To obtain copies, contact the General Service Office or members of the Northwest DA Intergroup. Please see our contact page.
Here are DA titles you may find informative — The Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts of Debtors Anonymous (Thirty-Six Principles of Recovery); A Currency of Hope (2nd edition); the Pressure Relief Groups and Pressure Relief Meetings pamphlet; and the Sponsorship pamphlet, available as a free download. You will find other free DA literature here.
Northwest Debtors Anonymous Intergroup