Welcome to the fourth episode of Don’t lose your balance. My name is Mallory Durrick. If you recently listened to the last three episodes, entitled marriage, infidelity and addiction, thank you very much. If this is your first time here, welcome. For context, it might help you better understand the story, my story. So I suggest you go back to listen to the first three episodes. There is a timeline to much of this journey. And when I call my life, you know, I’ll do my best to make sure you have some context through and through, hopefully with the titles. So this will help you understand where I was and how I got there. And where I am now, thankfully, on the other side of all of it, and let me stress this, I have healed from all the damage I’ve put myself through and the pain I’ve caused to others. I have healed. It is my fervent hope that this podcast provides listeners with the understanding that they are not alone. You’re never really alone. Even if you feel like you are. For the people that do know me or who have been impacted by me, I hope in time if they are carrying any pain or hostility, they’ll try to let go like I have.
I’m not suggesting that anyone should forget that is a defense mechanism and a smart one. But I am suggesting that once people consider the act of forgiveness, healing can begin or even take them a little closer to what I call back to balance. The weight and the burden of carrying so much inside can ease and it will ease and with God in my heart, that’s where I am despite it taking me an extraordinarily long time to get here. I am here and I am moving forward and I hope for them they too can find that same peace.
Today I’m talking about poverty, you know the kind of poverty you worry about the kind that keeps you up at night, losing your home and your belongings, your most prized possessions. Living on the streets, that kind of poverty. It will either be a driving force to your relationship with money or a very debilitating one and I am not here to judge. Money is a very powerful thing and people say it gives you freedom and it can yes. For me money complicated everything. Money was one root of my evil. Your relationship with money is your own and poverty is the polar antonym of wealth. But remember, this podcast is called Don’t lose your balance. Too much money is a bad thing for me, so is having none at all. I have lived with nothing less than nothing, no money and only debt. Finding financial balances and effort. Trust me I’ve learned to live with much less and be really happy. It does come with a price though no vacations, limited amounts of money spending on clothes or fine food and no fancy hotels. Disposable income is really non existent. Interestingly, as I talk about poverty, the pandemic may have helped some people realize what poverty feels like or may feel like what it’s like being jobless and fearful of losing what you worked so hard to achieve. Finding yourselves in the last place you would have ever thought despite it not being within your control. What do they say you’re always one paycheck away from being homeless.
Truth is the word broke has been my middle name for nearly 20 years. Due to all the prescription drugs and the doctors, there was a lot of frivolous spending on top of any normal expenses I had as a married woman. And after I’d stopped the drugs and gone through rehab and started to climb my way back to living a balanced life and looking back I can’t believe I got into so much debt or really became really poor like welfare poor. After all, I am a highly educated person but you know what it doesn’t matter. Being on welfare actually never entered my consciousness. These programs these public assistance that we get are God’s And don’t ever judge a book by its cover. You know, welfare isn’t a stereotypical as you may think. And you never know when you’ll need help from the very same people that you may have looked down upon, never say never.
So let me go back a bit in case you’re confused as to where we are in my timeline. After I returned from rehab, my finances, they were so fucked up. And I was relatively jobless, but not homeless, I was never homeless. I had one small job earning $10 an hour prior to going into rehab, and I was very lucky to be able to continue working in that job until I could find a more permanent position doing the only thing I really knew how to do, which was sell. I also didn’t declare bankruptcy, I had about $100,000 in debt. And when I realized I was in a lot of trouble with my finances, I had gone to a bankruptcy attorney who explained that since the family home was in both our names, bankruptcy would negatively impact my husband’s finances and the safety and well being of our children. And I am well aware that my finances had already compromised them, but for whatever reason, I had my own credit cards, and my husband had his. My debt was my own. It was in my name, he was not tied to them. I mean, technically he was, but he wasn’t because I wasn’t going to bankrupt our family.
Despite the credit cards not being joint credit cards, they were very much considered a marital liability. And as I said, this debt is my problem. There were too many credit cards to even mention. And at some point, even the IRS came calling for me. The debt, this debt would follow me for the better part of a decade. I eventually left the marriage with this debt. And it was also incredibly upsetting and most of all, very terrifying. For some reason, I was the one managing our family finances. And clearly that was a very big mistake. I was robbing Peter to pay Paul for all the pills and the prescriptions and even some of the counseling. I was moving a lot of money around one credit card to another credit card to another credit card. And in looking back, you know, I can’t believe how much credit was actually extended to me, they never cut me off. I would keep opening up new credit cards draining our bank accounts. I was making minimum payments on bills that were in excess of 10s of 1000s of dollars. And like I said, almost $100,000. It’s very exhausting to live with so much of that burden. I even sought out a credit counseling company, which was another big mistake. They took a fee for over two years until I cancelled the service with them. And it was their job to help deal with the creditors. But they didn’t help. They just took more of my money, our money and the creditors kept coming. And finally liens were then put against me the IRS awful. I could see no light, no light at the end of this tunnel. And this was one of one of many dark tunnels.
If anyone is wondering how this couldn’t have impacted my ex husband, oh my goodness, it absolutely did. And I am not speaking for him. I am only speaking for my debt, my credit cards. And I’m not saying he easily escaped the weight of my debt. And I don’t know if he was moving money or not. And I hope he did. And I hope he hid whatever he could from me to keep for himself and the children. What I do know is this, our kids needed stability. And he provided that to the best of his ability. And he did he always showed up for them. He still does. We were managing private schools, private tutoring, summer camps, food, clothes, shopping, even vacations, we really couldn’t afford. The bleeding, the hemorrhaging, it had to stop and he had to stop it and I was no longer fit for any money management – that ship had sailed a long time ago.
On top of the massive credit card debt. I went into addiction counseling, which thankfully my parents helped to pay for. And they also paid for the Suboxone or what we call buprenorphine, which is a medication I would take daily to stop the cravings for opioids or withdrawal from Vicodin. It would stop me from relapse. I went to weekly counseling and that lasted about two years. And I stopped because I was moving beyond the Vicodin addiction. I was healing or so I thought but that that that was always looming. And my husband and I were legally separated immediately me following my return from rehab, so he was actually no longer financially responsible for me. He was only responsible for the kids and my debt, my debt was my problem, any new debt, also my problem. And because I made little to no money while we were sharing the marital home and living under the same roof, our priority was 100% making sure that the kids were okay. But I likely failed at that since I was barely able to care for myself. The one thing I remember thinking at that time was I will never recover from this much debt. There was just too much. And no matter how much money I leave the marriage with, I remember thinking if with anything, it will never pay off this, these credit cards. The mere thought of it and talking about it now is painful, terrifying, tragic. And it wasn’t just on drugs, it was on everything. It was all just so chaotic and you can’t run or hide from chaos, it will follow you everywhere until you stand and confront it like hell to return to balance.
There was so much chaos in my space, my clothes, all my things, it was all chaotic. That said, at the time that I was getting my divorce, I have to mention that I lived in what’s called a no fault state, which means I was entitled to 60/40 split in my favor of whatever the assets were less the liabilities, and I was a liability. When my ex moved out of the house, he was only financially responsible for paying the mortgage, and he paid it directly, he wouldn’t pay me and then hope that I would pay it, which in hindsight was a good thing, because I likely would have defaulted on the mortgage. He also wasn’t responsible for money for food or my car payment. I traded in my Mercedes SUV at the time for a Volkswagen Passat. He wasn’t responsible for the electricity, the cable or any of the expenses all on me. I even remember how the electricity had once been turned off. I was 60 days late in that payment. I got a call from my young son who couldn’t open the garage door after school because it was tied to the electric garage door opener and I had no money to pay the bill. So I borrowed it. My phone, my cell phone was also turned off. So I borrowed money for that too. I went from job to job those three years and I never made more than $25,000 a year. In fact, I never made more than that for many years.
The fact that divorce took so long was surprising to me. Three years is a long time to be separated. And while I’m trying to get on my feet, I was working with my attorney who ultimately said hey, Mallory don’t take alimony. You’ll be married in a year. I really didn’t understand that comment. Because I wasn’t dating anyone. He explained that once I remarried, I would no longer be entitled to alimony. And I was still confused. I listened to that advice. And while it’s not great advice, I do understand what he was saying. He was saying you’ll be married in a year and you’ll lose all the money your husband is legally required to pay you for however long we would be divorced. He said take a payout. He truly believed I would go to another man for financial support. And you know what I never did. Also in the back of my mind, I couldn’t put my husband through the burden of writing me a check every month after all, he was a great catch, and I came to the table with two kids and a pill addiction and who would have wanted me? And to this day I never remarried I have to say I would never have been able to live with myself if I was still getting money from my ex and he needed to move on and I had to let him move on. He needed to find happiness and joy which he eventually has done. And he was entitled to so much happiness that I failed to deliver. So what was presented to me in the attorney was one year salary and that was it. I owed more money than I was getting but since it took three years for our divorce to be finalized it did buy me a little bit of time I was able to secure some jobs paying a little bit more here and there on my debts. Creditors settle for 40% of what I owe them you know accept American Express. Yeah, that shit lives with you forever. They have never extended credit to me again. I even offered them 10,000 on 38,000 I owed them and they said no. Even more settlements came through which gave me more time and some breathing room and finally I took the amount my attorney and I agreed to when I moved out.
I found a three bedroom house to rent so each child had a bedroom but the kids never came. I also bought a 2002 Lexus ES 300 and I still have that car and that’s the car I still drive to this day it’s almost 20 years old. It’s only got about 118,000 miles on it and I love that car I don’t have I don’t have car payments. It’s a blessing though. It needs work the air conditioning it stopped working about a year and a half ago and you know I need it needs work. But I don’t want to necessarily put too much money into it if I don’t have to and quarantine helped me with that because I don’t drive that much. I don’t go that go places.
I know this is gonna sound strange, but my ex husband and I had a pretty amicable divorce. In the end. I was just so relieved. He didn’t hate me and at least I didn’t think he hated me. I don’t know I probably hated myself enough for the both of us. Once I moved out and I paid off some of my dad I lost my job after only one year and I mean I immediately moved into a less expensive one bedroom apartment losing that $5,000 security deposit haven broken the two year lease, and when I stayed in that one bedroom apartment, which was very clean for about four years, and I was still managing a lot of debt and still in addiction counseling and still taking Suboxone. I was looking and feeling better and getting on my feet, I secured a marketing position, which I’ll talk about later. I was in one relationship than another relationship. But ultimately, it was during the period of time from my divorce to today when my credit was actually really in the toilet. But I did repair it. And it took about 15 years to fix. I was always one step forward, and two steps back for me.
Looking back on everything, the infidelity, the addiction, I’m sure many of you believe I got what I deserved. And I probably did. Yep, karma. It’s a tough one. But I was really trying very hard to turn my life around. And in hindsight, I did get what I deserved. And I walked out of my marriage with little to nothing. And I learned to stand on my own two feet back to balance, finding balance. You know, I’ve learned to think before spending money do I need it? Or do I want it even asking myself am I worthy of it, because there is a huge difference between want and need. I don’t need much I live alone in a small apartment. I taught myself how to build websites. I taught myself how to design logos, edit videos, paint, even record and edit this podcast, and I am smart. And I have even worked jobs that were well beneath me. I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I will say this, I don’t live in chaos, and I love my life. I still need help and give help when I can I donate I’m charitable, and I am kind. But I no longer care for others before I care for myself. Yes, my credit has been restored. And I have a very small nest egg in the event of a serious emergency. It’s not much and it won’t last long. So that little bird on my shoulder is always chirping. And I continue to thrive using my skills to help others and I learned to be self sufficient. And something I didn’t have to do getting married at 22, because I had a partner, you know, I don’t have anyone I have my aging parents and they love me, so does my sister. And so do a few of my friends.
And speaking of friends, I have lost friends over time. But I’ve also made new ones. In moving on, I also recognize that some individuals have healed while others maybe not so much. Friends will always come and go. And one thing I know it’s hard to be called to both sides of an argument. And I wouldn’t blame one friend for bailing on me. These days, I’m very mindful of gratitude. And I’m even more mindful of my boundaries. I am grateful for my sister and my parents who have stood by me through all of it, even when I pushed them away many times. And I as I write these episodes, post personal trauma, and on the other side of chaos, I also recognize that were post pandemic a little bit and that for many, has been a very challenging time. They’ve lost loved ones, they miss others. I know people have turned to alcohol for comfort that’s actually documented online. And that I am proud that I didn’t. But for those listening that have found themselves to no fault of their own in fear of real poverty, there is always hope. I’ve learned to live with the simple things and to be grateful for what I’ve got, and I don’t need you know, $250 perfume anymore, and I don’t need many things. I’m fine with people who do and I’m not judging you for buying a $250 perfume that makes you feel pretty. I am grateful for health and the well being of those around me those that have supported me and I pray for all of the people out there who are suffering because I know it will pass it does. I don’t know how when or why but it does.
If you like this or any of my other episodes of Don’t lose your balance. Please be sure to subscribe or write a review or even share it with somebody who you feel would find value in listening. I really appreciate each and every one of you. Next time I will talk about my employment history just a bit more in depth. This may sound very boring to you and I get it. It’s not though because I have worked so many different jobs. I’ve actually learned how to not lose my balance by being my own boss. See you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai