Post # 31
You’ve gotten a lot of good advice so far. The only thing I want to add is don’t underestimate the power of daily affirmations. My brother was taught to use them in rehab for substance addiction. The best way I can think of for you to use them would be a stickynote on your computer and in your wallet in front of your card or cash that says “You are stronger than your addiction.” That way if you’re putting stuff in am online shopping cart or about to check out at a store you can have a reminder to being you down from the high your brain gets from these experiences.
Post # 32
the are all sorts of addictions, shopping, impluse buying is one of them. some people have addictive personalities and may trade a bad addiction for a good one but it is still an addiction.
for example. i know a few people in the triathlon community who were former drug addicts. they were addicted to various substances. they cleaned up their act but still have that addiction gene. now they are addictied to exercise and training for triathlons that it gets to the point of craziness.
Post # 33
Thank you so much everyone! I am really warmed by all of the great advice and support I’ve gotten. I have my first appointment with the debt counselor today (to figure out a plan to pay off my debt and save at the same time) and I am still waiting to book a time with the addiction counselor. It seems like a lot but I am hoping if I take it one day at a time I can get out of this mess. I am happy to say I haven’t purchased any non essential items since April 8th which is HUGE for me. There is a big part of me that is getting scared as more time goes on I am going to slip up and make some dumb huge purchase (it’s what’s happened in the past when I try to stop) but I’m trying not to focus on that fear.
Thank you again everyone!
Post # 34
tamtam86 : I like reading books when I need some guidance. This one looks good: https://www.amazon.com/Buy-Not-Why-Overshop-Stop-ebook/dp/B00DC6Q32I/ref=pd_sim_351_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=QP5KPTQ8PE1GTTFJ3K45
Please don’t be ashamed – I think what you’re going through is very normal. It’s a matter of figuring out what “triggers” you to shop/spend and treating the root cause.
In the meantime, I have a suggestion: Poshmark/ebay! Start listing some items to sell, it will help you declutter and make (a little) money back. In addition I would begin purging items you’ve not worn in a year and aren’t resellable. Sometimes having a smaller amount of stuff you really love can change how you think about shopping.
Advice from a fellow shopping addict in recovery!
Post # 35
tamtam86 : Wondering if you had any updates on how things are going? I hope all is well!
Post # 36
Well done on recognising and taking ownership of the problem, and for seeking help. It’s a huge step to take!
It would be very easy to think “Well I’ve spent so much, what is the point in stopping?” but that would be giving in to the sunk cost fallacy. Work with the debt counselors and therapists to bring yourself out of debt and deal with the root causes behind the addiction. Don’t expect a miracle all at once – things will happen slowly, but WILL get better if you stick to the advice the counselors give you.
Post # 37
Anything that alters your mood can become an addiction. You need not downplay the seriousness of your problem.
Addictions are pretty hard to manage on your own. Have you looked online for support resources?
Post # 38
tamtam86 : Be kind to yourself. People can develop addictive behaviors to things that other people would not become addicted to.
For example, some people become addicted to porn, sex, computer or cellphone usage, gambling; none of which include an addictive chemical. Then other people get hooked on drugs, smoking, or alcohol. Addiction is a wide disease.
I hope you get the therapy you mentioned to seek treatment.
The fact that you can see you have a problem is an encouraging sign!
Don’t give up hope. Seek help. You can live through this.
Post # 39
Shopping really does give you a dose of dopamine– which is a chemical substance. I’ve felt it before. We all have through one thing or another. Research for yourself any steps you can take to combat the cycle, in addition to the help you’re pursuing. The internet has a wealth of knowledge. There are other activities that naturally give you a “high” without spending money that you might want to pursue– some with positive benefits, like running.
Unlike chemical addictions, you won’t need a detox period thankfully. It is more about behavioral conditioning. With that in mind, you may want to give yourself rewards for going periods of time without shopping or create an organizer with incentives for saving. Any way in which you can train your brain to transfer the dopamine/reward to saving. It’s okay to get that dopamine feeling but it’s basically taking a shortcut to that high when you’re not actually going through the process and time of saving before you buy. Good luck!
Post # 40
Good on you for trying to get help. That’s half the battle! You WILL get through this! PPs have already posted some great suggestions. I am just being a cheerleader!
Post # 41
I am like this. It is HARD for me to not just charge stuff. Which is why I have about $14k in credit card debt. I will say the best thing I have found is Dave Ramsey’s plan. I listen to his channel on youtube daily and it helps curb the impulse to buy. I also read his book The total Money Makeover. I am now really focused on getting out of debt and only spending money I have on hand. I reccommend his plan to everyone wanting to get out of debt and change their spending habits in order to have a brighter future!
Post # 42
I just want to send you a big warm hug and say that you have taken great first steps here. When you meet with someone about this maybe they will have some suggestions where you can sell some of these things and not take such a huge loss.
Post # 43
Just wanted to come back on here and thank everyone for the kind words and suggestions, and provide a little update!
First of all, back when I posted this I was so grateful for the empathy I received. I was expecting a lot of judgement (because I judge myself rather harshly) and it was encouraging to receive tangible doable suggestions.
Last year after I posted this, I met with a financial advisor that is provided through our work’s employee assistance program. To be honest, I didn’t find it that helpful. While the fillable excel spreadsheet to track expenses that she provided was helpful in seeing where my money is going and putting into perspective how much of it was going towards shopping, her main suggestion was “you can see you spend a lot on shopping – so you should probably stop that”. Beyond that there wasn’t a lot. I do realize though I cannot rely on somebody else to take those steps for me. I just didn’t know HOW to stop shopping, or how to resist the urge.
I bought a book called “To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop” by April Bensen. I found it to be quite helpful. It goes into the root of the problem(s) and there is a lot of worksheets that you are to fill out. I think if you actually follow it it can be incredibly helpful. Because I couldn’t really afford addiction therpay (I guess from spending all my money on clothes!) and my work doesn’t offer it, I had to take it into my own hands. I’ve done a LOT of refelction and while I’m not fully “fixed” I do know for sure what causes me to go on these crazy spending sprees. It’s different for everybody but for me I know it’s a matter of wanting a certain life, and using clothes to get that life. For example, I realized through the work done with that book, that I want this glamorous type of life and since I don’t really have that in reality, I use clothes as a substitute. I’m not sure if this fully makes sense, but it’s heavily fueled by social media for me. I follow a lot of fashion bloggers who go on these crazy exotic trips around the world and was kind of wishing that was my life. Since it’s not, the next best thing for me was buying beautiful dresses and rompers etc. that one WOULD wear in those situations. Typing this out I feel SO ridiculous and immature but admitting this to myself was the first step. Also, there were/are a lot of things in my life I was/am unhappy about and couldn’t immediately change those, so getting fun packages in the mail is a way to perk myself up and feel like I have some control over my happiness. There are just a few examples of the root of my problem, there are more elements to it.
This article here provides a good example of my mentality when I get into these spending frenzy’s: https://cupofjo.com/2018/02/being-single-caroline-donofrio/
As mentioned, I’m not fully “fixed” – I’m up and down and now and then I do spend more than I should. Eventually if I can afford it I’d love to find an addiction therapist to really supplement the work I’ve done for myself. But I’m aware of the problem and actively working to fix it. Tracking my income and expenses has helped – before, I would bury my head in the sand and not even check my bank account or credit card statements. I’m still working to fix my finances and it’ll be a bit of a long road but it’s a goal of mine.
Again thank you SO much to everyone who sympathized and gave me awesome solutions. I hope if anybody else is struggling with this, you can succeed in pulling yourself out of this!