In high school, I had a teacher who refused to listen to any explanation if you were late to class. If you were late, you were late, and you suffered the consequences. His reasoning was that there were no real reasons to be late, only excuses.
People would sometimes try to argue with him, bringing up various scenarios in a “but what if this happened” sort of way. His answers always came down to one of two things: either it was your fault, and therefore only an excuse for your actions, or it was the kind of situation where realistically you’d have had to have missed class entirely, and therefore wouldn’t have been late — you’d have been absent instead.
You could say the same about borrowing money
Go far enough with the reasons behind why you “had” to borrow money, and it’ll come down to one of two things: either you weren’t prepared for whatever happened, or it was so extraordinary that it was literally a financial disaster that occurred despite your best preparations.
In other words, there are no real reasons to “have” to borrow money, only excuses. The moment I realized that was the moment I realized I absolutely could get out of debt.
Why? Because I had a whole lot more control than I thought. Once I accepted that it was possible to prepare (at least financially) for the typical emergencies that come up in life, I started making those preparations. Excruciatingly slowly, at first, but any step in the right direction is better than none.
Now I’m not saying it’s your fault if life hands you some really difficult stuff. But I am saying that it’s unrealistic to assume that life will go perfectly, and so the more you prepare, the better off you’ll be even if the worst does come to pass.
Avoiding debt through preparation
That means that you can start to avoid many of the debts people typically take on by:
Saving up an emergency fund, creating a list of what you will consider an emergency ahead of time, and sticking to it
Carrying at least catastrophic health insurance (and better yet, good health insurance if and when you can get it)
Visiting the dentist twice a year for cleanings and X-rays
Finding a mechanic you can trust to tell you when something really needs to be repaired vs when it’s a nice to have repaired
Being willing to learn about how cars and things around the house are repaired, even if you don’t feel comfortable with doing the work yourself (because understanding helps you make informed decisions, and cuts down on the likelihood of you being scammed)
Saving up for things you know will have to be repaired or replaced eventually
The sooner you can address those items by adopting a “stop the excuses” attitude, the less likely you will be to turn to debt. A combination of preparation and the willingness to look at your situation with an eye to figuring out how you can do things differently will go a long way.