Here's my success story:
I got my first credit card in college and, until recently, carried a balance. Sometimes, having a CC literally let me eat, such as when my husband was laid off for 6 months. But as our income became more steady, I really wanted to pay off the CCs. I put all my extra money into paying down debt. However, it seemed like everytime I would get close an emergency would come up. Ironically, I was finally able to pay off my CCs when I was laid off. The severance pay I received paid off my final balance and I've never carried a balance since. Now I'm working on paying off my student loans. I hope to be totally debt free in a year or two!