All worthy accomplishments begin with a decision. A decision is like a stake in the ground that declares the building of a dream. My dream with this blog is to recover from compulsive shopping and to help others do the same.
My Vision for 12/31/2013
If I were to project myself into the future, to December 31, 2013, I would see a person for whom shopping is no longer a problem. Shopping would no longer be a coping mechanism, an escape from reality, or a numbing agent for all that ails me. Shopping would merely be a means to an end. I would see a legitimate gap in my wardrobe and venture out to the stores to fill it, and I would do so consciously and logically. While I see myself still enjoying shopping, it would no longer have a charge attached to it. I would be free of compulsion to shop, free of obsession – simply FREE!
Excited and Scared…
That vision is inspiring and wonderful, but it is hazy. It is a worthy goal, yet it is far out in the future. Here I am today, on January 2, 2013, and I’m both excited and scared. I’m excited at the prospect of a smaller, more functional wardrobe. I’m excited at the possibility of financial and relationship harmony, no longer hampered by the unforeseen shopping expenditures that have been commonplace for the duration of my marriage. I’m also excited at the prospect of helping others to achieve this wonderful vision.
But, to be honest, the overwhelming emotion for me as I write this is FEAR. I am scared witless that I won’t succeed, that I will continue to over-shop, that I won’t keep my word about limits, that my few purchases will be the wrong ones, and that I won’t have the right things to be stylish and attractive. I’m scared that I will feel “less than” when compared to other women and that I won’t fit the image of what a wardrobe stylist is supposed to look like.
I’m afraid that I won’t know how to deal with the feelings that I shop to escape or that I may simply substitute another compulsive behavior for shopping. I fear that I may relapse into the type of disordered eating that plagued me in the past if I am not able to shop to deal with my feelings. At this point, I’m not even sure what I’m escaping by shopping, but my psychology training and life experience tells me that I am escaping something. After all, that’s what compulsive behavior is all about…
A Last Hurrah?
As 2012 drew to a close, I could feel shopping slipping through my fingertips. I fought the urge to go on a shopping binge, similar to the type of binge dieters do on the Sunday before starting yet another Monday diet. I did shop a bit in December, but it wasn’t anything serious. I had already done more than enough damage earlier in the year and I had the bulging closet and blown budget to show for it. I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that my 2013 project was completely necessary, yet I felt depression creep into my consciousness toward the end of December.
This Year Will be Different
Then 2013 began… My husband and I went to a movie at the mall yesterday. As we passed by a number of stores on our way to the theater, I saw the big sale signs and the bright, shiny merchandise in the windows. I felt a wave of sadness as I took it all in. I knew that this year would be different. I knew that I would not scout the shops for bargains and aim for quantity when shopping. My rules for the year don’t prohibit shopping, but they do force me to shop consciously and prudently. My rules enforce limits for my shopping that I hadn’t had before. I can still buy, but I can’t buy more and more and more. Much like a dieter who can still eat but needs to count calories, points, or grams of carbs, I have rules and I have limits.
One Day at a Time…
I know I am doing the right thing and I will persevere. I know it will get easier. Right now, I am going through feelings of withdrawal. Those feelings will pass. I will learn a lot this year, I will grow, and I will be in a better place at the end of the year. I will gain self-trust along with a more manageable wardrobe. One day at a time, I will slay my shopping dragons. I will achieve peace, and that isn’t sold in any store or on any website.