For most of us, just asking questions of people at meetings is not enough. We need someone to talk with on a regular basis between meetings, who knows us individually. So we ask someone to be our sponsor and guide us in our recovery. No written materials dictate what a sponsor can and can’t do. Each person is free to develop his or her own form of sponsorship and to set limits on his or her own availability.
Generally, a sponsor is available on a one-to-one basis to answer questions by sharing his or her own experience, strength, and recovery and also by offering suggestions.
At times a sponsor acts as a sounding board or is contacted when bookending a difficult task. Most often, it is also our sponsor who guides us through the Twelve Steps of the D.A. program by explaining the program, identifying or exposing our debting issues, and suggesting specific actions appropriate to our particular situation and may, if agreeable to both, serve as a member of our pressure group.
Learn more about what else a sponsor offers through our DA Sponsor pamphlet here!
While formats vary from region to region and meeting to meeting, there are some common elements to all of them: a reading of the preamble, a member chairing the meeting, announcements, a collection for the meeting’s financial support, and sharing by others.
Additionally, meetings may dedicate time to reading the Twelve Steps, the Twelve Traditions, the Signs of Compulsive Debting, the Tools of D.A., and other literature. Usually, meetings allocate time during or after a meeting on a monthly basis to hold a business meeting.
Why is it important for newcomers to attend meetings regularly? We gain a sense of hope. We identify with others. We meet people who can help.
DA meetings have some guidelines so everyone can feel safe and free to talk, even about uncomfortable money topics. We respect each other by using the principles of anonymity and confidentiality.
For instance, we identify ourselves by first names only, and we do not repeat what is said in meetings or in private conversations between members. We also keep in mind that there is enough time for everyone. If time runs out and some of us can’t share during a meeting, we can speak with other members after the meeting or call someone on the phone later.
NOTE: There is never any pressure to talk in a meeting, you don’t even have to use your real name, your anonymity is part of our name and it’s both a step and tradition practiced in Debtors Anonymous.
We like to say, What we say in meetings stays in meetings!
After we have gained some familiarity with the D.A. program, we organize a Pressure Relief Group, consisting of ourselves and two other recovering debtors who have not incurred unsecured debt for at least 90 days and who usually have more experience in the program. The group meets in a series of Pressure Relief Meetings to review our financial situation.
These meetings include an acknowledgment of a Higher Power and typically result in the formulation of a spiritually driven action plan and a new or revised spending plan. See our PRG Pamphlet here!
Bonus: See our 10 Tips for a Successful PRG here!
The only requirement to start a new DA meeting is a desire to do so with the help of our DA Meeting formula. We are all different in our patterns of debting and recovery. Most DA Meetings have a focus that may be of more interest to some individuals than to others as short-term recovery needs and desires may be different.
If you would like to have a meeting available that focuses on your area of interest, what could be a better way than to start one yourself? Being of service is one of the most important tools in our recovery, keeping us coming back and remaining solvent.
Before starting a DA Meeting, it is suggested that you first attend a variety of DA Meetings and familiarize yourself with different formats.
See a meeting example here!