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.
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.
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.
Does this image resemble any of your recent shopping experiences?
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.
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.
I was apprehensive about posting my most recent accountability update, as I definitely purchased far too many new clothes during August and September. However, the comments I received on that post were very supportive, encouraging, and helpful. Although I could use many of these comments as launching pads for new blog posts, there was one in particular that stood out for me.
What tips and tricks do you use to help you shop more wisely?
Wise Words from Ellie…
A commenter named Ellie wrote the following:
- “How can you start using your analytical approach before making purchases and maybe model for us a process of managing our shopping? I remember Jill Chivers said that setting up support structures for success was crucial in going through a shopping ban (see her guest post here). I am wondering what the support structures for success are for shopping with a purpose.”
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.