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When I Came Back From the War I Went Nuts With My Credit. – Shawn

“Dear Steve,

When I came back from the war, I went “nuts”. I piled up huge debt gambling and drinking. Now I have $20,000+ in debt, most of it charged off or in collections. The creditors I owe are unrecognizable on my credit report because the debt was passed to a collection agency and/or charged off.

How do I know to whom I owe what? I have the means to pay them off over the course of a year but how do I approach them all at the same time to make arrangements? Will paying a charged off account do anything to help my credit (just courious, I will pay them anyway)?


Dear Shawn,

I suspect that if you did not get an official diagnosis of PTSD following your tour in the war, you probably suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The reason I say that is because the appearance of both pathological gambling and problems with alcohol occur at higher rates of incidence in returning military members with PTSD than they do in the general population.

So before we embark on cleaning up this mess, are the underlying gambling and drinking issues now under control and have you been under treatment for PTSD?

If you want to pay off the accounts I would suggest getting a consolidated credit report, it’s the one I get for myself. Using this three bureau credit report you will be able to trace who owned the account originally and where it is now.

Armed with that information you can then use the debt snowball approach to best payoff your debt.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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