Here’s what it’s really like to overcome addictions to debt and shopping

When Kate lived in New York City, she used to shop every day.

If she went to shop for designer hand bags, she wouldn’t just buy one. She would buy three. If she went shopping for designer shoes, she would buy six pairs at a time.

In order to find room for her purchases, she used multiple storage units in various locations outside the city. In between seasons, she would take a car service to those spaces to switch out her wardrobe.

Kate’s spending didn’t end there. She would set costly goals – such as visiting all seven continents – and pursue them just to say she had completed them.

Kate, now 52, felt that she deserved the reward. She has a lucrative career in financial services and consistently earns a six-figure, occasionally seven-figure, salary.

“I could afford it, but it was excessive,” Kate said.

Kate reached a crisis point 12 years ago and turned to Debtors Anonymous. “This program saved my life,” she said.

Debtors Anonymous first started in the late 1960s when some members of Alcoholics Anonymous started holding separate meetings to discuss issues they were having with money.

Today, the group has more than 500 registered meetings in more than 15 countries.

During the time the organization has grown, personal debts in the U.S. have ballooned.

Student loan debt has reached a whopping $1.5 trillion, while credit card debt has also crossed the $1 trillion mark.

Total consumer debt such as credit cards, auto, personal and student loans – is projected to reach $4 trillion by the end of this year.

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