I WAS 42 YEARS old, standing in the grocery-store line with an overfilled basket of food that I was going to pay for with a credit card that had over $28,000 on it. After shopping, I'd go get a cash advance of another $3,000 to pay my rent and bills. My small writing business was tanking. I had seven other cards that I was juggling, for a grand total of about $80,000—and it would be another few months before I racked up $10,000 more in fees and cash advances. I had hives. I had nightmares. Just looking at the groceries in my basket made me nauseous. I had run up more than $55,000 of my debt publishing a music CD and waiting for a miracle to happen. I had run up the rest in living expenses, ignoring my business. I had no idea what ...

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