The Cycle of an Addict

>> Tuesday, September 22, 2015

In my compulsive spending mind, at times, I think more about how I could spend my money and what I could spend it on, rather than do the responsible thing like, oh....I don't bills.

It's always the same story. It's a vicious cycle.

Each pay period I tell myself that I will be responsible. I will track what I spend. I will not do any unnecessary shopping - which means staying out of the craft stores, book stores, clothing stores.

But inevitably, the temptation or trigger kicks in and the urge grows so strong that it's literally hard to ignore that deep-seated want.  Like this past Friday when I had a "fix"......I knew exactly what triggered it.......I was angry.  I was angry and disappointed and hurt and fed up.  I felt all those things and told myself that I needed to feel better -- and nothing here in my home was going to do that for me. 

Other times it's boredom or avoidance.   I drop the kids off at school and don't want to go home and face the mountains of laundry, the dirty dishes in the sink, the dust bunnies holding a HOA meeting in my living let's go kill time shopping. 

And with those thoughts -- the cycle begins.

The mad dash to shop -- to buy things that I just don't need - but because I want it. I have to have it, although I don't know why. The euphoria of finding good deals. Of finding something I really like and instead of buying just one - I buy one of every basic color. At craft stores I'll buy supplies, telling myself all the while that it's a project that I'll get to. When in reality I've got LOTS of projects I'll "get to" sitting in my garage, my laundry room, on my living room floor.

But then there's the other side. The downside once the binge is over.

The euphoria is gone.  The buyer's remorse that sets in. The guilt that eats me up inside. The negative self-talk that I go through over and over and over. And it's always the same.

"You're so stupid. How could you do that again"

"You just have no self-control."

"You're useless and worthless. If you can't control this, then no wonder your life is so screwed up."

"You're such a disappointment to everyone."

And then once I finish that conversation, I just tell myself that I'll "make it right" by taking some stuff back. Completing the cycle. At least until it starts all over again.

In the midst of all this, I would try to hide my spending. Trying to stay one step ahead. Trying to detour my husband from wanting to spend money.  I'd get angry when he'd want to spend money on a 6-pack or go to Happy Hour. I now understand that I was projecting the anger I felt at myself towards him.

In Debtors Anonymous, we are taught to immediately start tracking our spending and to take it one day at a time. In my case, it has to be one hour at a time......sometimes even a few minutes at a time.  We are also encouraged to be held accountable - which is where this blog and my FB page comes in.

By writing and sharing, I am holding myself accountable. And just for today, I will take it one hour at a time.


mmkemm September 22, 2015 at 11:01 AM  

I can relate! While I think my shopping addiction is on a smaller scale from yours (I prefer to have a food addiction!), I completely relate to *wanting* something so bad, buying it, and having buyer's remorse once I get home. Often times if I'm shopping to feed my addiction, I get a high from it, and for a brief period of time, everything feels better! In any case, I want to thank you for your continual honesty and humor. You make it easier for the rest of us to not have to live up to society's model of perfection, regardless of the topic.

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