Business Debtors Anonymous (BDA) is a distinct and dynamic but not separate part of DA, created to focus on the recovery of members of the fellowship who are business owners. Together, members of BDA support one another in applying the DA principles and tools when owning and running a business.
However, as part of DA, there is no separate membership for attending Business Debtors Anonymous meetings. As it states in DA’s 3rd Tradition, "The only requirement for DA membership is a desire to stop incurring unsecured debt." This applies to both personal and professional debt. It is understood that paying bills for goods and services rendered according to agreed-upon terms does not constitute debting.
In modern times, BDA membership includes not only business owners, but also independent contractors and the self-employed. If you attend this or other BDA meetings, you will also hear members who are in management and sales positions, using the DA principles and BDA Tools to bring their recovery and spirituality into their work lives. Plus so many artists and writers and musicians. Oh, my!
Some BDA members are retired, or on fixed incomes for other reasons, and are working to develop multiple streams of income, some active income streams and some passive. Last but not least, BDA is home to countless members who have an idea or an inspiration for a business or to be a business owner and are growing spiritually as they prepare to take new actions in pursuit of their visions.
All the DA members described here, and many more, are welcome to attend BDA meetings. Once more, because it's one of our most important DA and BDA principles, "The only requirement for DA membership is a desire to stop incurring unsecured debt." In our experience, every BDA meeting is a DA meeting, but not every DA meeting is a BDA meeting.
How do you know if you are a compulsively debting business owner? Some of the experiences and behaviors that led to compulsive debting were:
We neither knew when bills or taxes were due, nor did we remember if and what we had paid or still owed.
We confused our personal finances with our business finances.
We often did not know the exact costs of our overhead, operating expenses, or profit margins.
We had no business plan.
We lived in a state of deprivation for the sake of our business.
We undervalued and under-priced our goods and services.
As grateful as we are for [the] tools for business owners and other tools of DA, we have found that it is only through working the Twelve Steps of Debtors Anonymous that lasting solvency, recovery, and serenity may be obtained for our businesses and ourselves.
In DA and BDA, our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience with the newcomer, and to reach out to other debtors.
Debtors Anonymous is a non-profit organization based on the Twelve-Step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. Compulsive debting can also affect those of us who are self-employed or business owners. For us, Business Debtors Anonymous meetings are available to address our specific needs.
Debtors Anonymous offers a program of recovery that works. Those of us who wish to stop debting are encouraged to attend meetings, read DA and BDA literature, seek the advice of a program sponsor or two, and follow the 12 Steps of the Debtors Anonymous program.
In DA we find a new way of living that offers recovery from compulsive debting and hope for a healthier, happier, more prosperous life.
In BDA we learn to operate our business along spiritual lines and find that operating in integrity and being of service is profitable. We accumulate cash reserves, pay our bills and employees on time, and build a thriving, prosperous, debt-free, and financially solvent business.