In Debtors Anonymous, vision may be thought of as the ability to form a clear and specific picture of what we want to do in life, what we obtain, create, achieve or accomplish. It’s knowing where we’re going. Our vision is our mission, our dream, and our goals – as they have been revealed to us by our Higher Power. One DA member’s vision may be to paint a portrait or to write a book, while another’s may be to have a family, or live in a house surrounded by trees. Each person’s vision is entirely unique and yet all serve the common goal.
Is Achieving Our Vision the Goal of Debtors Anonymous?
Debtor’s Anonymous’ Statement of Purpose is:
In DA our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience with the newcomer, and to reach out to other debtors.
However, in addition to not debting, we seek our vision and the quality of life as it is described in “The DA Promises”:
“When we work this program with integrity and to the best of our ability, one day at a time, a life of prosperity and serenity will be ours.”
What Keeps Us From Being Clear About Our Visions?
Just as many of us have been vague and unfocused about money, so too have many of us been vague and unfocused about our goals in life. We may have wondered, “Do I have a talent? A gift? What am I good at?” Some of us find ourselves in jobs or even professions we don’t like. Others of us know exactly what we want to do but for some reason we aren’t doing it. We say things like “I’ve always wanted to study music, or go to Hawaii, or do something connected to medicine,” but we don’t get around to it. Why?
We come up with excuses: we’re too busy, we don’t have time, we didn’t have the right opportunities, we have families to support, and so on. Meanwhile, we fritter away the time we do have, just as we frittered away our money, and our “dreams” keep getting pushed aside. We let our fears, anxieties, self-doubts and self-will block the inspiration of our Higher Power from entering our lives.
How Do I Figure Out What My Vision Is?
Sometimes one of the hardest questions to answer in life is “What do I really want?” We keep ourselves so busy doing what we have to do that we don’t get around to asking ourselves what we want to do. And sometimes we don’t know how to differentiate between what we really want and what we think we should want. Do we want to become a teacher because it pleases our parents?
In DA, discovering one’s vision can come about in many ways. First, we must stop debting – as debting distracts us from self-knowledge and connecting to our Higher Power. Second, we must seek to know God’s will for us by using prayer and meditation and working the Twelve Steps of Debtors Anonymous. It is through working the Twelve Steps that our blocks and resistances are removed. Third, we use the Tools of DA to help clarify and support our vision.
- Working with a sponsor and talking about our needs, ideas and feelings
- Listening to other DA members share their experience, strength and hope on the subject
- Having pressure relief meetings
- Following our action plans
- Being of service
It is important to be aware that as we progress in recovery our vision may change or expand. When we take the actions to complete one vision, another one may emerge. For instance, our original vision of being solvent may expand to include returning to school, opening our own business, going abroad, etc.
What are the Consequences of Ignoring One’s Vision?
Ignoring or denying our vision, like ignoring or denying our feelings, takes its toll. Not being true to oneself might even be called a kind of self-debting. For some it may manifest in physical symptoms or in depression, anger, anxiety, irritation, restlessness. Sometimes, we find ourselves becoming involved in the lives of others as a way of avoiding fulfilling our own potential and vision. This saps us of the energy that we need to be “spending” on our dream – and then we wonder why we feel aimless and annoyed. And then there’s always the danger that our old “debting” thinking will persuade us that the only way to fill the void is to spend money. Ignoring our vision and the promptings of our Higher Power increases our fear, reinforces our self-will, and eventually leads to a sense of failure and decreased self-esteem.
How Do Visions Meetings Help?
Verbalizing our vision at a meeting enables us to overcome our fear and to gain clarity on our goals. At a “Visions” meeting we encourage and support each others’ dreams. We are given a blueprint for our goals, just as a Spending Plan gives us a blueprint for our financial recovery.
What May Happen as We Discover Our Visions?
Discovering our vision takes courage because when we learn what we want to do – what our Higher Power’s will is for us – the next step is to do it! And that may be scary. Are we really willing to go to any lengths to make our vision come true, and to do God’s will? If we follow our dreams, what will happen? What will others think? Then too, when we proceed toward our vision other feelings may emerge – such as fear of failure on one hand, and a fear of success on the other. Both may be unsettling.
What are the Benefits of Living Our Visions?
We may start out thinking that there is something very selfish about daring to live our vision, but what most of us discover is that the best gift we can give others is our own personal contentment and example. It is when we live our vision, aligning our will with that of our Higher Power’s, that we attain the peace, joy, emotional balance, self-worth, and love that has been promised. By living our vision and doing God’s will for us, we inspire others to do the same. And so the never ending chain of recovery and growth continues.