I have made a commitment that I am going to work on one of my addictions. And of course the one I chose to work on, right before Christmas, was my shopping addiction. This is an addiction that has been my best friend for years and years and years. Combined with mania, and throw in a few credit cards with high limits and you are happier than a pig in a pen of mud.
I received my first credit card when I was 18 and I thought I was hot shit. I felt grown. I felt like I was the bomb (remember when that was an it phrase?) Here I was with this golden card and I felt like Willie Wonka with the golden ticket to the chocolate factory. And that is when my love affair with credit card debt started.
Fifteen years later I have lost track of the number of times that I have run up my cards, only to pay them off. I would use tax refunds and work bonuses to pay down my shopping sprees. The “need” to have a yellow leopard print pair of high heels, or a fifth black pencil skirt, or even an eleventh pair of dark blue denim skinny jeans. That feeling deep down inside of me, that made me HAVE to have those items. The feeling that I may die if I did not make the purchase, that my soul may be ripped out of my body should I refuse to slide my card and say, yes credit please.
I was known to be one of the well dressed women in the office. I was well put together. My hair was always done, nails too. But this all cost money. And it was money that I spent that I did not have, but this did not phase me. I did not know what it meant to live within my means.
I have immense shame for my actions and what I have accrued over the years. I try not to think about the size of the savings account that I could have if I had spent my money differently. Spending much of my time manic made it even harder to make sound decisions. Now that I am stable, I am working harder to make better financial decisions moving forward. The first decision I made was to close all accounts that had no balance and cut up all credit cards so they can not be used. This was a challenge given the time of the year, and the societal focus on material things. However, I am not one to shy away from challenges. I have struggled with this addiction for long enough and I am done. I want to be freed from this demon. I want to conquer this addiction so I can move forward and work on other issues in my life that will be freeing.
Today I am wearing a new pair of boots (go figure) and I will be pulling myself up from the bootstraps of these new boots and I will work to identify the feelings that come up when I get the impulse to shop. What feelings am I feeling? What thoughts am I thinking? Is there something that I am trying to avoid? What sensations am I feeling in my body? I know this will not be an easy feat, but I know that it will be worthwhile and that once I get through this I will be stronger in the long run.