Debt is like a narcotic

May 30, 2009 | 10 comments

Have you noticed how huge the national debt is becoming in the United States? An article I read yesterday in USA Today said that our government red ink increased over $55,000 per household in the last year.

I showed the figure to my 18 year old daughter and said, “It looks like you’re going to be straddled with our current spending for the rest of your working life.” She was not impressed.

Politics aside, my prayers zeroed in on the apathy and indifference that seems to largely attend this growing and monstrous claim on future generations and their earnings. Like charging on a credit card and not thinking about how to pay the bill until the amount comes due, budget deficits don’t seem to matter much as long as voters and taxpayers have gratification of immediate wants.

I’m aware that many political and economic leaders justify the budget sinkholes by arguing that the short term run up in burden is needed for long term prosperity. But it seems that we’ve heard that argument before, and year after year budgets continue to worsen.

In my prayers for more fiscal responsibility, I thought about how debt can be like a narcotic. It acts like a drug on people’s perspective much like alcohol dulls people’s awareness and removes their sensibilities from the realm of reality and sound reasoning.

Debt-aholic or alcoholic…is there much difference?

The solution for debt to mammon is to pay one’s debt to God. And part of paying our debt to God is to be grateful for the good God has already given us.

Divine Mind has given us abundant resources in the form of the ability to reason intelligently, make sound decisions that have long run good effects, be content with what we have, exercise discipline over want and appetite, find health and healing through spiritual means, and find employment in doing good works that have value and worth.

The exercise of wisdom, sound planning, discipline, economy, honesty, and gratitude pay bills, balance budgets and employ workers. They are the primary resources of our economy, and with enough humility and desire to use them, will get our deficits under control and prosper future generations.

10 thoughts on “Debt is like a narcotic”

  1. My friend, a church organist in another denomination, was so pressed with the passing of his wife, and some debts, that he just went shopping and bought himself a Rolex watch! Then he was really distressed at his irrational act. I mailed him a copy of a CS Hymnal, and marked each hymn that had an idea about true supply, and told him not to play them, read the words. After marking about 70 hymns, I quit. The Hymnal is simply full of wonderful, assuring truths.

    The economists are not afraid to run up debt with your tax dollars, because they will print more dollars,cause high inflation, and pay it off easily, with cheap dollars. That is the historic pattern. It works,usually.

  2. I have been stressing about the amount of money that my husband and I seem to be spending lately due to accidents or unusual expenses – broken car window due to lawn mower throwing a rock, ran over my son’s bike left in the driveway, vet bill, etc. I just feel like a drain is hooked up to my checking account. Your article is really what I needed to get my thoughts back on what can be done with Divine guidance to meet the bills rather than just feeling hopeless. Thanks!

  3. Evan, I think you’re way off in comparing debt to a narcotic.

    To make sweeping statements like “debt is like a narcotic” and liken it to alcoholism is irresponsible and does not show care in choice of words or in thought.

    I have heard the drug analogy used in reference to activities like religion and music, specifically. It’s used to hurt or to control people and it’s usually said out of anger or frustration. Never have I seen it result in healing of any kind.

    Discipline and care is definitely needed in spending anyone’s money. And apathy and indifference are definitely errors that need to be exposed and destroyed.

    I have heard it said that it’s easy to spend someone else’s money. And there do seem to be so many needs that demand attention and funding, that the money disappears rather quickly. And then you face a ballooning deficit.

    Consuming, or spending, can be addictive and debt is the result of that practice.

    I, personally, have prayed through some pretty severe spending issues, much like one previous poster had described. I have learned to gain dominion over them and make some progress through some serious prayer.

    Prayer does solve these kinds of problems when one is willing to humble oneself and be obedient to divine direction.

    So, I write from experience as one who has had to battle out-of-control spending.

    You make some good points, but that statement as your main point of the article, and title, is a real turn-off. And that is sad, because it overshadows the good thoughts surrounding it.

  4. Hello above,

    I appreciate your thoughts on the subject, and I thought quite a bit about using the comparison of debt to a narcotic. I did write, “Debt is like a narcotic.” I didn’t say it was, because there are times when debt is used wisely to get people out of extenuating circumstances. But to comment on your comments, I don’t think it’s a careless use of words. I believe statistics say financial strain, which usually includes debt, is the number one destroyer of marriages. That is what narcotics do, they destroy otherwise good things. I see so many people suffer tremendously they are overwhelmed by hopelessness stemming from debt. It seems to mesmerize thought into a stupor and hopeless state at times, much like narcotics do. I’ve known of more than one person commit suicide because of debt. The media often reports on many others. Narcotics have a similar effect in some cases.

    Maybe its an extreme comparison, but I don’t think its careless. I was speaking from the destructive effect I’ve seen in other people’s lives, and some of them have been at very close view.

    For all practical purposes, debt serves many good purposes in enabling society to tackle major projects that it otherwise couldn’t afford right off. And people being able to buy a house too. So, that’s why I qualified my statement. But overall, I love the Bible’s guidance, “Owe no man but to love one another.” There is huge moral, physical and spiritual freedom in catching the spirit of that truth and living it out.

  5. Having been involved with 12 Step groups for many years, I would like to share some of my observations and insights.

    AA’s 12 Steps have been adopted for many uses by many groups. These steps are a means to become more self aware and help to not only realize ones foibles but provide a way to correct character defects that cause problems.

    Getting to know a Higher Power’s will for ones self and turning self over to a more principled mode of thinking and acting facilitates a better way of dealing with lifes daily problems.

    As mentioned before, there are many 12 Step groups. An offshoot of the AA program that is growing and prospering is Debtors Annonymous. They recognize accumulating debt as an addiction and very succesfully treat it as such.

    A synopsis of Debtors Annonymous can be found here:

    Comparing a debt filled life to drug addiction/alcoholism is hardly a new concept. All addictions have roots in the same character defects – selfishness, envy, hate.

    I like the way Science and Health states a 12 Step correlative spiritual solution – “In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error,–self-will, self-justification, and self-love,– which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death.” pg 242:15

    From my experience, addiction (of any kind) is succesfully treated solely thru the realization of the futility of self-aggrandizement and submitting ones self to a more principled way of thinking and acting. With these spiritual concepts in mind, habitually overspending fits neatly into the definition of addiction.

    Thanks for sharing Evan.


  6. There’s an excellent documentary entitled IOUSA which a Christian Scientist helped to create.

    Evan, Thanks for reminding us that debt doesn’t have to be a way of life. It can be overcome!

  7. Great post: Hear ‘debt’ and think abundance instead!

    Word quibble though: It’s not national debt. It’s federal debt. Big difference.

    The only national debt we owe is to our surviving and fallen veterans.

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.