Mar 19, 2011

The REAL Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Shopping Addiction - I don't know that it's an actual illness/disease, but it is an addiction.  It's one that is very close to that of a drug addict or alcoholic; a shopping addict or shopaholic.  They definitely do exist and I am living proof!  I am here to tell you that is is just as damaging and just as debilitating! 

Not actually remembering when the addiction started bothers me.  When I was younger, of course I wanted every toy there was, but I learned the value of what I had.  We were a middle class family and since I was adopted, my mom spoiled me rotten.  I didn't get everything I wanted, but I got my fair share of things that were on my "want" list.  A lot of the kids in my neighborhood envied me because of how my mom spoiled me.  Of course, that meant that I always had to bring my toys out for everyone to play with.  I hated that, as did my mom!  But I digress...

It must have started somewhere in the past few years.  Actually, it could have started when I battled post partum depression. (Un-medicated, I might add...not smart.)  My depression was more just to myself.  I just wasn't happy and needed something to fill some void that was there.  I don't even know what that void was!  I had my beautiful daughter, I had my family, I had my friends.  Most likely, it was still the painful breakup with my ex-fiancée and him not being in my daughter's life that caused a lot of the pain and the void that I had.  However, I know I filled it with shopping.  Not really even shopping for me, but shopping for my daughter.

Alayna must have had an entire wardrobe for her to wear one outfit, one day, for a year.  That's how addicted I was.  We had two closets full of clothing for her, it was sickening.  (It ended up that we had so much left over still with tags on them, we sold them.)  I do say that as soon as I had my daughter my motherly instinct kicked in and I became less selfish.  That's very true, I did buy things for her and less for myself.  Even so, it was still an addiction.

Now, 5 and a half years later, I am still shopping at the same manic rate that I was back then.  I make excuses to go shopping and make excuses that I need something when I don't.  It's similar to a drug addict or alcoholic making excuses to drink or their brain tricking them into thinking they need a drink.  I have also hid my shopping, as an alcoholic hides their drink.  There are days I say I am going for a drive and detour to the mall.  I keep my packages in the car until everyone else sleeps, then I would bring them in.  It's that bad of an addiction.  It's sick, it's sad.  It shouldn't be happening.

The other day I came to a realization.  My kids don't need anymore toys or clothes.  I have enough hand-me-downs and clothes that I pre-bought at yard sales for my kids.  I don't need anymore clothes; two closets full is enough.  No more non-necessities and no more excuses.  I need to save the money.  We need to start saving up as much as we can for financial security.  So that's what I'm doing.  Yes, I'm quitting shopping cold turkey.  It definitely isn't easy and there are definitely psychological symptoms!  It might not be the shaking and nausea that alcoholics or drug addicts go through, but they are there.  The worst part of it is the cravings to go shopping.  There are days when I want to go so badly, I depress myself.  It's horrible that I can even feel that way about not shopping.  There are days I'm driving and the urge to pull into the mall or a store is horrible.  Online is worse... the temptation is everywhere.  I wish there was a 12-step program for shopaholics, but unfortunately, it's all on your own.  I'm doing my best and I have already saved up quite a bit of money.  Hopefully, the motivation to see that grow will eventually outweigh the quick fix of shopping.   Maybe I can trade the highs for a "saving money" high rather than a "shopping" high.  

It's definitely humiliating to admit this, but I know I'm not the only one in the world with the shopping addiction.  It's like "Confessions of a Shopaholic", only not a movie; real life!  (And I don't shop at high end stores either! Ha!)  I do feel better that I got it off my chest.  If there are any other shopping addicts out there, you're not alone!