Information for Professionals

D.A. has a long history of co-operation, but not affiliation, with outside organizations. D.A. has many members and an active Public Information Committee available to provide professionals with experience of the Debtors Anonymous program. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

D.A.’s primary purpose is to stop debting one day at a time and to help other compulsive debtors to stop incurring unsecured debt.

D.A. is a spiritual fellowship based on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions as adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous. The essence of the D.A. program is one compulsive debtor helping another to refrain from incurring unsecured debt, one day at a time.

D.A. groups are self supporting through the contributions of members, and the fellowship is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution. D.A. service committees have a policy of “cooperation, not affiliation” with professionals who are interested in helping compulsive debtors recover.

How the Program Works

The only requirement for D.A. membership is a desire to stop using any form of unsecured debt. There are no dues or fees; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. Members share their experiences in recovery from compulsive indebtedness on a one-to-one basis, and introduce the newcomer to D.A.’s Twelve Steps of personal recovery (based on the Twelve Steps of A.A.) and its Twelve Traditions that sustain the Fellowship itself.


At the heart of the program are its meetings, which are conducted autonomously by D.A. groups in cities and towns throughout the world. Anyone may attend open meetings of D.A. These usually consist of talks by one or more speakers who share impressions of their past and their present recovery in D.A. Our beginners’ meetings are open to anyone who believes he or she may have this problem. Closed meetings are not open to the general public or to the professional community. Debtors recovering in D.A. generally attend several meetings each week.


Anonymity helps the Fellowship govern itself by principles rather than personalities; attraction rather than promotion. We openly share our program of recovery, but not the names of individuals in the program of Debtors Anonymous.

What D.A. Does NOT Do

D.A. does not keep attendance records or case histories, engage in or sponsor research, affiliate with “councils” or social agencies (although D.A. members, groups and service officers cooperate with them), offer religious services, provide housing, food, clothing, jobs, money or other social services, provide domestic or vocational counseling, provide letters of reference to parole boards, lawyers, court officials or social agencies.

Referrals From Courts and Treatment Facilities

Today numerous D.A. members come to us from court programs and counseling services. Some arrive voluntarily, others do not.

D.A. does not discriminate against any prospective member. Who made the referral to D.A. is not what interests us. It is the compulsive debtor who elicits our concern.

Proof of attendance at meetings

Sometimes a court asks for proof of attendance at D.A. meetings. Some groups, with consent of the prospective member, have the D.A. group secretary sign or initial a slip that has been furnished by the court together with a self-addressed court envelope. The referred person supplies identification and mails the slip back to the court as proof of attendance.
Other groups cooperate in different ways. There is no set procedure. The nature and extent of any group’s involvement in this process is entirely up to the individual group.

Problems Other Than Debt

Some people are compulsive spenders or compulsive shoppers. Underearning is another problem faced by many. These problems may exist separately from the problem of compulsive debt. Our primary purpose is to “stop debting one day at a time and to help other compulsive debtors to stop incurring unsecured debt.”
We serve those who have a desire to stop using any form of unsecured debt, which is any debt that is not secured with some form of collateral such as a car, house, or other property.

After a member has gained some familiarity with the D.A. program through attendance at meetings, he or she may take the following actions:

  • obtain a sponsor*
  • work the Twelve Steps of D.A.
  • read D.A. literature
  • organize a pressure relief group and pressure relief meeting*

*You can look under “Recovery Tools” for explanations of these terms.

D.A.’s source of strength lies in our singleness of purpose. We welcome the opportunity to provide professionals with information on these issues.

How To Make Referrals to D.A.

Debtors Anonymous is listed in most telephone directories, if there are meetings in your area. Some professionals call D.A. while the person is in their office, thus giving the individual an immediate opportunity to obtain help. In many areas, the D.A. phone number listed will give you an answering service or machine that provides times and locations of meetings in your area . Local intergroups (regional entities) may have websites which provide D.A. information and a list of meetings and/or you may refer the person to this national website. You may also contact the General Service Office of Debtors Anonymous for help and information.

Recommended D.A. Reading

Many helping professionals have found the following World Services, Inc. publications helpful in their work with debtors. To obtain copies, contact the General Services Office or your local D.A. office/intergroup.

D.A. General Service Conference-Approved Literature

  • The Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts of Debtors Anonymous
  • A Currency of Hope
  • “Pressure Relief Groups and Pressure Relief Meetings” pamphlet
  • “Sponsorship” pamphlet, available as a free download under the “Literature” tab
  • Ways & Means, D.A.’s Fellowship newsletter, available as a free download on the Debtors Anonymous home page