What Caused Your Compulsive Shopping Problem?

I have written several posts on the reasons why people shop too much and I’ve also explored my own personal motivations for overshopping.

Shopaholic word cloud

Here are links to some of these posts for those who are didn’t see them the first time around or may wish to read them again:

Earlier this month, the topic of reasons for shopping addiction came up in my private Facebook group.  I was impressed by both the depth and diversity of the responses and thought it would be helpful to post some of them here.  It’s my hope that reading these insights will assist you in becoming more present to what’s behind your compulsive shopping.

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What it Means to Be a Recovering Shopaholic

Before I delve into today’s post, I want to welcome all those who have found my blog via my Today Show appearance on Monday!  I also want to share the link to the segment for those who weren’t able to watch it live.

Online shopping

Shopaholic? When compulsive shopping becomes a painful obsession

Many of us indulge in a bit of “retail therapy” now and then, but when shopping becomes a compulsion, the consequences can be painful and heartbreaking. Jenna Bush Hager kicks off a new TODAY series, Compelling Compulsions.

I’m pleased that I was able to share my story in such a high-profile place, as I know there are many people out there who are struggling with compulsive shopping and feel alone and unsure of what to do or where to turn.   I hope that some of those people were able to find this community.

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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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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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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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My Love / Hate Relationship with Caffeine

The essay below was written in April 2013, shortly after I had made a commitment to conquer my addiction to caffeine (and just a few months after I started this blog).  I decided to document how caffeine was negatively impacting my life so I would never forget why I decided to break the hold that it had over me.  I decided to re-read what I had written today, as I have been backsliding into using caffeine as a prophylactic for my migraine headaches on a regular basis.  I wanted to remind myself of why it’s not a good idea for me to bring caffeine back into my life.

Caffeine Addiction

I had no idea how much my coffee habit was impacting my life.

Now I know that most of you probably don’t have a problem with caffeine like I did. However, I think you can read what I wrote and see other addictions or compulsions you may have in my words, including shopping.  I actually wrote about my compulsive shopping problem toward the end of this essay and share that conquering my caffeine addiction was giving me strength to better face my shopping demons. 

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Being Deliberate in the Home Stretch of 2015

This is a post I’ve been hesitant to write, but I’m still going to do it.   Sometimes we learn the most by doing things we don’t really want to do.   As many of you know, I have a practice of selecting a theme for myself each year to help guide my focus and actions for those twelve months.   This year, the theme that I selected was “deliberate” and my aim was to become a lot more intentional with my shopping, wardrobe, and life.

Finish line

There’s just 3 weeks left in 2015 – how will you finish the year?

First – The Good News…

Let’s start with the good news.  As I wrote about in my last update (which sadly was my only update until this one), I made significant improvements with both my shopping and wardrobe this year.  Yes, I did some backsliding into overshopping during August and September, but overall I have shopped more intentionally and made better choices this year.   Likewise, I also made great strides with my wardrobe over the course of 2015.  I now rate the majority of my outfits as “9”s or “10”s and my LIWI Challenge helped me to pare down my wardrobe to primarily those pieces that I love and wear.  My at-home wardrobe still needs some work, but I know what I need to do and will make it a priority for 2016.

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