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What Happens at Debtors Anonymous Meetings?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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Debtors Anonymous meetings generally include speeches provided by recovering debtors as well as time for members to interact with one another. During this time, members have the chance to discuss any specific problems they have been having, share successes, and turn to one another for advice and encouragement. There are generally no professional counselors or therapists involved with the meetings.

Debtors Anonymous was founded by recovering alcoholics who found one another through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). They each shared a common problem of having made poor financial choices, and together they founded the organization which would become Debtors Anonymous. The principles for healing used by the group is based on those used by AA leaders and groups. The 12-step program is used at Debtors Anonymous meetings around the United States, and these are meant to aid the individual with recovery by giving them a sense of personal responsibility for their problems.

There are also 12 traditions and 12 concepts used by the group as a whole to promote unity amongst members, and to keep the organization as a whole on track for world service of debt addicts. The organization is meant for those who have an uncontrollable amount of unsecured debt, not necessarily for those who are spending addicts or shopaholics, although these groups are often intertwined. Out of control debtors may also have additional addictions and issues, and the 12 step program used in Debtors Anonymous meetings are often beneficial for these addictions as well.

Two types of Debtors Anonymous meetings are held. One is open to the public, and anyone who wishes to attend may come and see what a real meeting is like, learn the 12 steps for recovery that regular members implement, and fellowship with current members to get an idea of the people they will encounter if they continue to attend meetings. Family members of debtors may also attend these meetings, as well as anyone else who wants an inside look of what goes on.

Other meetings are held for current members only. These are not open to the public and they typically involve great intimacy between members in sharing life stories and leaning on one another for support. During these meetings, members are able to share their failures and their successes, and give constructive information to one another to help each other in their respective journeys out of addiction.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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