My last post, “Recovery is Not a Linear Process,” generated a lot of comments and emails, as I thought it might. Clearly, readers have many thoughts on the topic of recovery and the ways in which it might progress and unfold. That post was sparked by what I viewed as a harsh comment on my July accountability update, but I didn’t expect the follow-on entry to become as contentious as it did. I am all for spirited discussion, but it went beyond that and that isn’t what I want for my blog. I really want readers to feel that my comments section is a safe place for them to open up and receive support.
I have very rarely had to moderate comments on this blog and I’m extremely grateful for that. I can probably count on my hands the number of comments I’ve had to delete, which is pretty good for a blog that’s been going for almost three years with many thousands of comments. I’m not adverse to people questioning and challenging me and each other, but it’s important to me that it be done in a kind and respectful manner. Fortunately, that is almost always the case, which is a testament to the quality of people this blog attracts.
Because the subject of recovery has generated so much discussion, I wanted to dedicate today’s post to offering some additional resources for those who are interested. Below I open the archives and share some of my best posts related to compulsive shopping, as well as a selection of external links for you to explore.
From the Archives…
In honor of “Flashback Friday,” I want to direct you to ten of my best articles about compulsive shopping, including the reasons behind it and the psychology surrounding it. I know that new readers start reading the blog all the time and many of you didn’t read these posts when they were first published. For others, they will serve as a review. I actually plan to re-read them all myself because even though I’m the one who wrote them, I sometimes need a reminder! The posts are listed from the oldest to the most recent.
- “The Reasons We Shop Too Much” (March 2013) – In one of my most read articles, I present a brief overview of ten common reasons for compulsive shopping.
- “Why Continue to Shop?” (May 2013) – During my first stint of Project 333, I responded to a reader’s question about why I continued to buy clothing when I already had a full closet and many pieces I hadn’t yet made decisions about.
- “Feelings Before, During, and After Shopping” (August 2013) – A look at the differences in the moods of ordinary buyers and compulsive shoppers throughout the shopping process.
- “Why Do You Overshop?” (September 2013) – Based on the work of Dr. April Benson (whose book is mentioned below), I write about the 11 main reasons for overshopping and the ones that have impacted me most.
- “What Triggers You to Shop?” (October 2013) – An overview of the five different types of shopping triggers, as well as my personal experiences in dealing with each.
- “What Are Your Shopping Aftershocks?” (October 2013) – “Aftershocks” are what happen following an overshopping experience, and there are seven different types of aftershocks. I present examples of all seven types and share some of my personal aftershocks in each category.
- “Wanting More and Less at the Same Time” (November 2013) – A look at the dichotomy that often exists between wanting to shop and also desiring a smaller wardrobe, and how it’s hard to be happy with such opposing aims.
- “How a Shopping Hiatus Can Help” (June 2014) – An informative and comprehensive guest post from Jill Chivers (learn about her programs below) on how taking some time away from shopping can aid in recovery. This approach isn’t for everyone, but it helped Jill tremendously and she is the best resource I know of on the topic.
- “On Relapse, Reasons, and Recommitting” (August 2014) – August seems to be when I am most prone to relapse. A year ago, I explored why it happened to me then and how I powerfully recommitted to my recovery. I’m doing the same thing now…
- “The Things Shopping Won’t Fix” (October 2014) – I outline six common life challenges that people try to address through shopping, and share some personal examples of how I’ve unsuccessfully tried to solve my problems at the mall or in online stores.
The following books and programs are all listed on my Resources page, but I know that many readers have probably never visited that page. So I’d like to mention a few of them here for those who might be interested. You may also want to check out my books and the recovery tips posted on my website.
Books on Shopping Psychology
First, here are a few of my favorite books that explore the psychology behind compulsive shopping and offer assistance to those who are struggling:
- “To Buy or Not to Buy” (April Benson) – A comprehensive book written by the foremost expert on the topic, filled with lots of powerful and thought-provoking exercises. I need to revisit this book soon myself…
- “You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You” (Jennifer Baumgartner) – Explores nine different patterns of wardrobe behaviors and presents case studies and solutions for each. Compulsive shopping is just one of the behaviors explored. The author also addresses difficulty in letting go of clothing, not dressing age-appropriately, body image issues, and more.
- “Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money” (Geneen Roth) – As someone who has struggled with both eating and shopping issues, I loved this book. Geneen Roth explores how women have a tendency to alternate between “binging” and depriving themselves related to both food and spending.
Compulsive Shopping Programs
I also invite you to check out the following programs created by Jill Chivers of “Shop Your Wardrobe”:
- “My Year Without Clothes Shopping” – The My Year Without Clothes Shopping program is geared around building your knowledge, skills and self-esteem from the ground up. You’ll feel better about the wardrobe you already have, you’ll feel better about your finances, and you’ll feel better about yourself as a conscious consumer. You’ll master the techniques you need to understand what drives your spending, inform your buying choices, and create the wardrobe you want.
- “Conscious Clothes Shopping 6-Week Mini-Course” – This mini-course is for women who wish to become more conscious consumers while also remaining (or becoming more) stylish. It’s full of tips and techniques for becoming a more conscious clothes shopper, delivered at a rate of two emails per week. In all, the mini course delivers over 50 pages of content and exercises to get you taking action right away.
- “Shop Less and Live More” – This is a fabulous website and two inspiring and affordable e-products designed to help you live your life, not spend it. Based on the idea that a happy and fulfilling life is not to be found at the mall, Jill shares 365 ideas to help you create a life you love – instead of continuing to acquire more and more things you don’t need, often don’t even want, and usually won’t use!
- “Dress with Less” Microcourse – If your main issue is that you have too many clothes and you want to better appreciate what you have, I highly recommend this e-course from Courtney Carver, the creator of Project 333. The course is a week long and includes 9 PDF worksheets, as well as playlists to inspire you while you’re sorting through your closet. You’ll also be given access to a private Facebook group, where you’ll find lots of people ready to answer your questions and cheer you on.
- “Living with Ease” – We often overshop because we have too much stress in our lives. If you feel frayed, frazzled, and fried, this e-course can help you to dispel stress and prevent it from overpowering you again. The self-study format allows you to start anytime and move at your own stress-free pace, without the pressure of daily e-mails or group participation. You will receive 30 carefully crafted lessons in one, easy to open PDF file.
I hope you will find the resources I’ve shared in today’s post useful. If you have others you’d like to recommend, feel free to mention them. The more the merrier! Also, if you’d like to discuss any of the topics from my “flashback” posts above, you can do so in the comments section of this post. Due to spam issues, I’ve had to close comments on older blog posts. I wish I didn’t have to do that, but the spam had gotten out of control and was virtually impossible for me to manage.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back soon with a great guest post on how to successfully shop on eBay. Also coming up will be the August edition of useful links and my purchase analysis for the first half of 2015. Stay tuned…