Controlling Your Debt

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Trying to pay back a mountain of debt can seem overwhelming at times, and the stress caused by the debt can sometimes tempt you into gambling – a counterproductive action which will usually just generate more debt.

But it is important that you take responsibility for your financial situation. Repaying your debts will help you rebuild self-esteem and aid you to maintain your recovery by reminding you of the consequences of your actions.1

Begin by making a list of all your debts and developing a plan to pay them back. It may help to contact a credit counseling service or – only if it is not possible to repay all of your debts – a bankruptcy attorney.

As you develop the plan to repay your debts you should talk it over with your problem gambling specialist and/or your sponsor.1 You should also tell your family and friends about your plan, and ask them to support your efforts by not loaning you money.2

While working to repay your debts, you should be open to taking on a second part-time job. This will not only help you to pay down your debt more quickly, it will occupy your free time and help keep you from looking for a “quick out.”1

You should also limit the amount of cash you have access to. Some ways to do this include:

  • Have wages automatically deposited into your bank account
  • Carry a limited amount of money
  • Cancel credit cards or eliminate cash withdrawals from them
  • Destroy ATM/credit cards, personal checks, etc.
  • Set up bank accounts that require two signatures for withdrawals, rather than just your own
  • Set up daily cash withdrawal limits
  • Pay bills electronically, not in cash
  • Pay bills in advance when possible
  • Avoid keeping large sums of cash in your home
  • Put someone you trust in charge of your finances, at least for a short while
  • If dealing with other people’s money tempts you, avoid jobs where you handle cash
  • Consider something you would really enjoy and regularly put money away for it2

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