White Collar Support Group 250th Meeting Reflections: Fellow Traveler Debbie Colbourn, Canada

Debbie Colbourn is a member of our White Collar Support Group that meets online on Zoom on Monday evenings. We will celebrate our 250th weekly meeting on Monday, March 29, 2021, 7 pm ET, 4 pm PT; all Fellow Travelers are invited.


The Support Group I Didn’t Realize How Much I Needed – Reflections for Our 250th Meeting

After twenty plus years, I thought I had successfully navigated the aftermath of my one big, bad decision – as a well paid professional accountant, to steal from my employer. Yet every day I dragged the albatross of shame, as a not so silent partner. Judging myself, saying things you’d never ever say to someone else – to myself. It was there in everything I did, telling me I wasn’t worthy of my dreams, sabotaging my progress, keeping me stuck in an endless cycle of struggle, and aloneness. Not loneliness but a weird kind of social isolation.

I listened, watched, read countless stories about people who had hit rock bottom and clawed their way back to better than before … and that was my fuel – my inspiration … and one day I heard Jeff Grant’s story. And reached out to him … could I join the group if I hadn’t been arrested or been in jail?

Exactly one year later here I am thanks to the men and women, a melting pot of amazing humans, in the group who helped me defuse the shame of “I’m a very smart person, how could I have been so stupid!!!” … Believe me, we all make at least one big bad decision in our lives, we just have different methods. The support group for me is much like a high end mastermind, with hot seats, getting a diverse set of perspectives, allowing you to observe your situation through new eyes and experiences.

Listening each week brings up new questions, to be considered. You hear common phrases used to describe what a person is going through, and recounts of past circumstances that might be a key. And its raw, and its real. And its non judgemental. And its human – there’s laughing, and crying, and conversation, and listening … and there is open sharing of resources that just might be what you need right now.

I didn’t know if I could bring anything of value to the group, but somehow each one of us does, in our own style and words. We all have similar through lines but the story that encapsulates each is unique and every time you tell the story it reveals more of its depth until one day you wake up and realise that the shame has lost its charge. It no longer has a death grip on you, and your life.

The level of gratitude I have for Jeff and every support group member is beyond words.

Thank you for being you, even on the days when being someone else is pretty damn appealing.

Debbie Colbourn – Creator of The Unshackled Life Podcast




White Collar Week Podcast: An Evening with Our White Collar Support Group. The support group meeting on this podcast is different than most, because all of the 16 group members appearing have agreed to share their names, faces and very personal stories in an effort to reach out to individuals and families suffering in silence. All on the podcast are post-sentencing or back from prison. Watch on YouTube, Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud, link here.