I managed to get a week’s holiday and fly to Jakarta to experience a bit of white man privilege. Don’t tell anyone, but Jakarta is the best city I have ever been to for Tinder. They are so racist and chauvinist there, I love it. They just love white men.
I sat in my apartment in Jakarta high on sex addiction having fucked 6 girls in the last 5 days. What the fuck am I going to do about my finances? I think to myself. Since my mum had given me some inheritance I had been reflecting on my spending habits since I was a teenager. They hadn’t really changed much. I was always entrepreneurial, but also always spent a bit more than I earnt and always relied on credit to make up the short fall.
My son got sick last year and mum agreed to give me some money from her mother’s house that had been left to her. She gave me 300K last year and then a promise of another 350K on 1st July this year. This took a lot of pressure off. I felt great for the first month, but then I looked over my history and saw that 15-year-old buying an ounce of weed and only ever being able to get a few stock turns out of it – never increasing my wealth. I could make money, but always spent just a little bit more than I made. I realised I would eventually whittle the 650K down to nothing if I wasn’t careful.
After a month contemplating this and swearing to get more accountable with my finances I realised I didn’t know how to. When it came to organising my finances a fog washed over me. I was powerless. I was unmanageable with money. No matter how much money I had I would never be secure around it if I didn’t change. Over the last month I really made an effort to sort through the accounting mess of my businesses. I couldn’t make much headway.
Siting on that couch in my Jakarta apartment with hardly a drop of sperm left in me I remembered Debtors Anonymous (DA). I remembered my AA sponsor from 2001. He picked me up in his sports BMW and took me out and bought me lunch. What a cool guy, I thought. A couple months later he told me he had found DA. He seemed humbled. He had almost 100k in unsecured debt and needed to get a grip on his life. He got rid of the car on lease. We started going halves in our lunches. He explained to me the tool of record keeping where you record all your expenses and suggested I try it. Over the next few months I recorded my expenses and was able to work out what I spent and make a budget. This was helpful, but I stopped the discipline and moved cities so got a new sponsor. I pursued business with a passion but only focussed on sales and marketing. I did my accounts, but as little as possible.
I think I need DA. I thought. It is an accounting problem I need to solve, but the reason I can’t solve it is because of emotional blocks. I don’t even know what they are. I searched online and got some free samples from Amazon about DA. I read these and bought “A Currency of Hope” The DA basic text. It gave me a good start. I have issues around money. This was both humbling and exhilarating. Humbling because I prided myself on being a good business man and financially manageable. This was false pride. Exhilarating because there was solution.
When I was a deist, a spiritualist even, I used to think it was God and/or the spirits holding back my wealth. I figured there was a good reason for this, maybe I wasn’t ready, but it was frustrating. I now considered the possibility that it was me holding myself back. It was most likely an emotional issue. I was excited by the fact that I might find out what these issues are and if resolved I could live a life much closer to my potential. I committed to DA and started tracking my expenses that day.
I got sick of reading and then considered that there might be some speaker tapes on line. I searched again and found a heap. I downloaded them and put them on my phone. I did my daily yoga and started listening to them. Woman speaker, skip, woman speaker, skip, woman speaker, fuck do they have any men here. I’m a chauvinist, pray for me. I find it very hard to pay attention to woman’s voices (school teacher’s nagging) and I rarely get much of a message from women sharing. Skip, a man, thank fuck. Danny from New York, living in Bali. I realized I had had dinner with him 18 years earlier in Bali after an AA meeting. He proceeded to talk and told my story.
He had grown up in a middle class family. His parents had money and would use it to show him affection. He was entrepreneurial and had a range of businesses. He would go broke and his mum would give him money. He felt loved. Fuck, as I heard his words while I was in down face dog, it was like getting punched in the heart. He then went on to say how much he had recovered from these unhealthy patterns and was now spending more time on his creative writing – which he felt was more soulful than his businesses. Another punch in the heart.
I got back to Australia, took a dose of azithromycin, and got to work on my DA recovery. I went to the one meeting a week in Brisbane and got to work with the steps. At first I felt such hope. The fellowship offered such an amazing range of tools; expense record keeping, spending plan, business meetings, and pressure relief groups as well as the 12 step meetings. I decided initially that I would have enough to deal with just keeping my records (recording what I spent each day), doing the meeting a week, and step work. I would do the spending plan, business meetings, and pressure relief group once I got the basics sorted.
Now with a spiritual solution to my money problem I was able to tackle my accounts from more than a purely practical angle. I would do my book-keeping and get presented with a problem that would cause my mind to pause. It was the same as what I imagine writers block to be. I would just sit there at my desk with my Pomodoro timer ticking away and not be able to think. In the past this had happened and I would tell myself that I got tired after doing an hour or two of my accounts and move onto something else, but now I realised I had emotional blockages.
I wanted to remain vague about my income and expenses so I didn’t have to take responsibility – so I could spend more than I earned. Recognising a new cause of my difficulty with my accounts I was able to take a break and deal with the emotional solution – The 12 Steps. I would either do some step work or read some stories out of the DA basic text. A ten minute break focusing on the emotional solution allowed me to get back to my task of book-keeping and no longer have writers block (or debtors block). This was a revelation and evidence that it was an emotional issue since I could do my book-keeping once I applied the emotional solution.
I take this as a small win, but I know the hard work and pain ahead of me. The 12 steps kill parts of your ego and allow self-esteem to grow in its place. It is like wading through a river of shit. My shit. Things that I have believed for close to 40 years that aren’t true nor helpful. I don’t even know what these are yet, but they will come up. And as they come up I will realise I have been lying to myself for so long and that part of me will die. It will hurt and I will be empty for a period until new parts of my psych can grow and replace them.