My husband immediately became excited at the potential income shown. I was nonchalant, but went along with it. We signed the papers and paid the fee for our starter kit. It all seemed so harmless. Now, if only it ended there.
Well, we began listening to our upline--in order to succeed in the business, you NEED to attend
the open meetings. So, we hired a sitter, drove the hour drive to the meeting, paid the entrance fee
and went. After the meeting, everyone went out to eat at a local restaurant. You were encouraged to stay the longest--as those who did were dedicated and received the most help from their upline sponsors. So, our
nights would often last until two or three in the morning.
Now, In order to succeed in Amway you must follow "the system." Our uplines told us in order to learn how to "build the business" we must receive our education from our uplines (through books, tapes and functions). And so the cycle began. We started receiving our SOTs, Motivational tapes, and the book of the month and Amvox. We began going to every function.
My husband was showing the plan five to six times a week. At this point we were receiving six dollars a month from one customer ordering products. We were spending eight dollars though to get to open meetings--that is the gas to get there. We spent six dollars per tape, $10-$15 per book, $15 for Amvox. We were spending around fifty dollars per month at this point--not including gas to get to functions. The
functions were costing us a couple hundred every other month. That was just to get into the function plus
hotels and not including transportation, food etc.
Many people have asked me--why? Why would we do all this? We must be stupid or something? Some say that no one "twisted our arm." Yes, looking back at it now we were stupid, but we didn't know any better then. When we asked about dropping something to save money--our upline told us, "This is the equivalent going to college. It costs money to go to college, so why shouldn't you expect it to cost money."
We listened. But for a couple that makes $15,000.00 per year and is spending several thousand out of that income on Amway--things go wrong. As we started to get behind on our bills I began to worry. Our marriage began to suffer too. We confided to our uplines about our problems and they told us, "Don't worry if you lose your house--when you go diamond you can buy another one."
At this point I knew things were bad and I wanted out, but my husband didn't. We lost our home. We then were forced to move in with my parents. But my husband continued to "build the business." And I was labeled as a "dream stealer" and "negative." They told him not to worry about me--that I would come
around when the money started flowing in. My husband soon isolated himself from even his own family--because they were supposedly "dragging him down" too.
Things started going further downhill fast. I was afraid to give him an ultimatum though--for fear I would lose him. But soon I decided to give that ultimatum anyway. This point came when he went to yet another Amway function out of state. He left, but never called. I had no idea what hotel they had placed him at. After three days he phoned to inform me that he had just bought $150.00 worth of tapes
for me--so that I could hear all the wonderful things I was missing. I decided at this point to pack his
bags. And when he did arrive home I told him to leave. I didn't want to continue like this. I was no longer
important in his life.
He refused to leave, insisted on staying and going to counseling. So, we made our appointment and went. Well, the road has been rocky and long, but we are still together. My husband still insists upon keeping our membership with Amway, but he is no longer active.
This has all come at a price. When we moved I kept our Amway address at my parents so they couldn't find us. We also have our phone number unlisted. I am thinking about changing all this now because I am finally feeling strong enough to fight them if they call. I know my husband still is supportive of Amway. But if he ever decides to "build the business" again I won't be there. And there will be no more begging and pleading--it will just be finished. My husband seems to have moved on and is going to college now. I don't expect him to go back to Amway--maybe if I did I wouldn't be so brave.
The one good thing about all this is perhaps by sharing my story others might avoid making the same mistakes. Do you know how many times I have heard from people who are divorced or on the verge of it over Amway? This is really sad. And people say it's just a business--an opportunity to help people. I don't have any figures, but it seems to more people and me that more marriages are broken up devastated than there are people who make "diamond."
May God bless all the survivors out there.