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Problem and My Reaction:

I received a notice via snail mail that I had Tollway violations. The state wanted $150 dollars.lgi01a201311071900[1]

  1. Mail remains, even after 5 years, a challenge for me to open and deal with.
  2. Time is not so much a factor right now, but as I work towards another job and school, it will be problematic. MAKE TIME FOR SNAIL MAIL
  3. SNAIL MAIL remains frightening to me because it TRIGGERS FEELINGS OF DEPRIVATION.

Additional helpful information: (Remember to gather more information to reduce stress and avoid freezing, leading to more problems.)

  1. I have an EZ pass.
  2. The notice said that EZ pass account holders should call a certain number.
  3. I vaguely recall this happening before and it turning out okay. Use good memories!
  4. A friend also said I wouldn’t have to pay the full $150. Complain to a healthy friend!

Barriers to resolution of the problem:

  1. After the initial shock, I did not freeze up, but I did have to take a day to gather myself. Everything can be hard if emotional management is challenging, emotional sobriety over the long haul requires constant attention.
  2. My debit card had been cancelled by the bank (possible security breach) and I was waiting for a new card. The ability to resolve the problem with a credit card and reload to be able to drive on the toll again, was on hold. Actually a good thing, thank you, bank. Gratitude.
  3. For me, frustrations with constant barriers become barriers themselves. Remain positive.

Resolution preparation:

  1. My new card came. I activated it. (only a few days between the notice and the card’s arrival)
  2. I read the notice and gathered the needed items. Card, driver’s license, violation number, transponder ID number.
  3. I double checked my bank account to ensure a transaction would go through. Estimated $60 to be paid.
  4. Planned expense. $10.50 in violations that were on the notice. Likely another $10.50, if not more. Another $40 to load the account.
  5. I felt a lot of gratitude that the money was there. Before hand I had also checked my broken budget. I knew there would be some “floating going on” about my rent. So while distressed, things were okay. No black/white thinking, no all/or nothing spending, no further harm.

Resolution action and Result:

  1. I called up the toll authority using the phone number on the notice. (Calm down and look for provided assistance.)
  2. After entering the violation number I got a person who confirmed the problem was that my funds had run out and not been replenished. They collected my identifying information.
  3. They confirmed the $10.50 in known violations and an additional $14 not on the notice. They were happy to load $40 for future toll use. This lovely human waived the fines of $20 per violation.
  4. A transaction for $64.50 was processed and I ASKED FOR A CONFIRMATION NUMBER. I always get them for proof of payment, transaction, or attention to the issue for documentation if needed.         Problem solved.


Now, how did this happen? How did I potentially inflict the pain of $150 going out the window? How did I risk my car registration? My driver’s license?  Gone untended, I could have been dropped from my car insurance further creating more expense by extending my current SR22 snafu an additional 3 years. Not to mention a possible criminal record because this is Illinois.

I belabor this issue not to catastrophize, but to bring attention to how something like missed toll payments can snowball.  I worry how easy notices could be missed or put off because people are too busy or too reliant on technology. I worry for those struggling to make it on low income, those without banks, and those who are transitory; because they make perfect targets usually due to inaction.  OPENING SNAIL MAIL remains part of life. Don’t ever let a legal issue like a toll get away from you. It can ruin your life even more than you are struggling now.


I want to stop making this face. Stop scaring myself. Stop hurting myself. 

Ask questions. Without or in spite of, judgment, criticism, guilt, blame, or beating on one’s self, STOP AND ASK YOURSELF WHAT WENT WRONG?  AND CHANGE IT! PRONTO!

What do I currently do?

  1. I have an EZ pass to make driving on the toll roads easier. Good.
  2. I have an account set up to see my activity, load funds, and pay fines. Excellent.
  3. I usually receive an email that tells me to load more money, and I load more money. Okay.

What happened?


  1. Did I get an email?           Yes, on Yahoo.
  2. When?                                 1/2/17
  3. What did I do, not do?    I didn’t load the toll account!

Why? What was happening that kept me from taking care of myself?

  1. Oh, ya, Ralph’s death. (A friend died on Dec. 26)
  2. Oh, how I HATE them!
  3. Driver’s license debacle thanks to On the Spot NOT filing my SR22 with the state and the state threatening to revoke my license at the time. (On the Spot fixed it STAT, no revocation)
  4. No money. Holiday spending, car insurance due, plates due, failed emissions test and expense.  OI!
  5. I likely saw it, and thought I would get to it and then forgot after a while. I would have had money for a month or so and I probably had it in mind for February’s budget.
  6. Into February, I got caught up in the dental thing. (Won a $1306 fight with the dentist.)

What now? What can be done to prevent this from happening again?

  1. I accessed the website to see my activity. (I did a good job remembering my user name and password! Current methodology is working!) Wow, the web site is new and EASIER!!!  See, people need to look at stuff-keep up! Spent some TIME navigating around the website while in a calm state of mind.
  2. I saw my payment confirmation online. No fines.  Credit of $40. Good to go!
  3. I updated credit card information, double checked my contact information, and set it to “auto re-fill” to avoid forgetting about an email again. THIS IS POSSIBLE DUE TO FOUR YEARS OF GOOD BUDGETING. I didn’t do this in the first place because I couldn’t.
  4. I added this issue to my “to done list” for achievement tracking. Crossing off lists feels good.
  5. I added this issue to my “goals planning” for August. The steps include the following.
  6. to do this CBT write-up because it is rich in experience, hope and recovery
  7. to add to my current budget, subtract from my balance that I thought I had
  8. to add to quarterly tasks as something to check on, and money needed for my  quarterly budget. The future will tell if I actually learned this second time around!!
  9. to add a post-it pad for the car to track tolls as I use them. “Truth in spending”.
  10. Also, to consider why I need to take the toll roads anyway. Why spend the extra money?

Wrap-Up, Assessment Date, Release:

  1. I finished up by placing the violation notice in my budget binder for reference and documentation.
  2. I added a note to October’s calendar to check my EZ pass balance.
  3. Done for now. 8/4/17 3pm. Save, print, share. May try to post, UGH!