Shopaholic Recovery: Past, Present, and Future

I was recently interviewed for a television segment that will air next week (see the end of this post for more information) and I was asked about how far along I am in my recovery from compulsive shopping.  After pondering for a moment, I said that I am approximately 75% recovered at this point and will always have to be vigilant of my shopping behavior and the underlying feelings. In today’s post, I reflect upon the growth I’ve achieved thus far, where I am today in my recovery, and how I see the future unfolding.

Past Present And Future

The Starting Point

I started this blog in January 2013.  At that time, I had a closet stuffed full of clothes that I rarely or never wore, a wardrobe that lacked cohesion, little comprehension of my personal style aesthetic, virtually no control over my shopping behavior, and a completely unbalanced life.  Shopping was my main hobby and I shopped as a way of dealing with all types of feelings and life situations, both positive and negative.

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February 2016 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

I’m going to publish this month’s installment of useful links a little early, as I have another post I’d like to share later in the week.   Included below are links to articles I think you’ll enjoy on the subjects of shopping and shopping psychology, wardrobe management, style, and personal development.  I’m also sharing a few previous “Recovering Shopaholic” posts that you may have missed the first time around (or may choose to revisit now). 

This “grab bag” of useful links presents the perfect opportunity for you to sit back with your favorite hot beverage or glass of wine and enjoy some quiet time to read, learn, look within, and maybe even laugh a time or two.  As a reminder, I certainly do not expect you to click on all of the links in these posts.  Just explore the ones that most intrigue you.

ocean beach sunset

       A winter sunset over the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Beach, San Diego. 

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Off to a Good Start with My 2016 Balance Theme

As the year began, I felt extremely unbalanced. I wasn’t sleeping much, I felt “behind the 8-ball” with my tasks and goals, I was spending far too much time on Facebook, and I was drowning in information overload.   It was very clear to me that something needed to change; thus, I selected “balance” as my theme for 2016.   In one of my early January posts, I wrote about what balance means to me and highlighted the specific changes I need to make in my life during 2016 to further this objective.

life balance update

In my regular accountability updates, I will let you know how I’m doing in terms of creating better life balance. However, when I have more than a paragraph or two to say on the topic, I’ll also periodically dedicate a standalone post to updating you on my theme for the year.   This is one of those times… In today’s post, I’ll share the balance wins and challenges I have experienced thus far and what I plan to do to address my ongoing difficulties.

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January 2016 Accountability Update

It’s time for my first accountability update of 2016!  For those who are new to the blog, these monthly reports are where I share what came into and left my closet, what I wore, and how I did with my shopping budget and item limit.  Sharing what I bought, what I culled, and how much I spent helps me to stay honest and on track with my wardrobe and shopping goals.

In future months, I’m also going to include an update on how I’m doing with my theme for the year, “balance,” but this time around I will dedicate a separate post to that topic, to be published later this week. Since I will be packing so much into these monthly updates, the format is going to change somewhat over previous years.  I will go into less detail in each section and in most instances will give more general summaries on what I bought and what I purged rather than doing an itemized account.

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Shopaholic Signs, Reasons, and Recovery

I was recently interviewed by a journalism student in the UK for a piece she was writing on compulsive shopping.   That article, titled “Retail Therapy or Shopaholic,” was recently published on a site called Self London.   The piece also includes feedback from two other women, as well as a consumer psychologist and a researcher who studies shopping behavior.   The article concludes by outlining three different types of “retail therapy.”

As is often the case with journalists, I was asked quite a few questions and most of my input didn’t make it into the finished article. However, I thought that what I had to say might be of interest to the readers of this blog.  Read on for my thoughts on shopaholic signs and reasons, shopping influences, my top tips for recovery, and some highlights of my personal journey. This post is a very good encapsulation of the things I’ve been writing about on this blog for over three years now.

shopaholic causes and recovery

Does this image resemble any of your recent shopping experiences? 

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Wardrobe and Shopping Goals for 2016

I have mostly completed my wrap-up posts for 2015.  The only other post in that category I will be doing is a purchase analysis of everything I bought last year (see January through June review here), which I hope to share with you next week.  In my all-star, benchwarmer, and LIWI updates (part one | part two), I outlined a number of goals for my wardrobe and shopping for this year.   In today’s post, I consolidate all of those objectives, refine a few of them, and add a couple of new ones that I hadn’t previously mentioned.

2016 wardrobe and shopping goals

Budget

I am going to stick to the same clothing budget as I had last year, $2500 for the entire year.  It worked well for me to reduce my budget from 2014 to 2015 and I may reduce it further next year. But since I am still working on revamping my wardrobe after having refined my style over the past year and a half, I think that sticking to the same budget is my best approach for 2016.

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Debtors Anonymous is Not Just for Debtors

The following is a guest post from Susan B., who is sharing her journey as part of my “Stories of Recovery” series.  Susan is a financial sobriety evangelist. Her website, Getting Out from Going Under, provides guidance for people who are recovering from compulsive spending, shopping, and debting. Her recent book, “Getting Out from Going Under: Daily Reader for Compulsive Debtors and Spenders,” is filled with practical tips, inspiration, and a thought for each day to encourage and motivate you to stay on the path of recovery.

If you would like to be profiled in the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired), please connect with me to share your thoughts.

dealing with debt

Is bill paying a time of extreme stress for you?

My name is Susan B. and I’m a recovering shopaholic. More precisely, I’m recovering from an addiction to spending and buying that nearly killed me. I’m also a member of Debtors Anonymous (DA), a 12 step program (like Alcoholics Anonymous) for people who are out of control with money, with or without debt. And I haven’t had a shopping binge since April 25, 2009.

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