Anyone who has a shopping addiction can attest to the fact that they want to bring it under control. Shopping addictions wreck people’s finances and personal lives. They are a form of dysfunction that cannot sustain a person for long without their lives caving in around them. The sad part is, when shopping is done responsibly, within a person’s means and personal space, it can be a valid hobby. A passion and an eye for assembling outfits is a gift, as is furnishing a home or knowing one’s way around kitchen gadgets. The dysfunctional version of this is someone who cannot control their spending in one or all of these areas. Shopping addicts want to be functional people, and the good news is they can be, but it does require work and focus. See more specific advice below:
Beat your denial by admitting that you are a shopping addict. If you have tried to cope with your addiction by denying it, here is no time like the present to come to terms with it if you want to recover. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are a shopping addict. It is something you already know deep down and will not come as a complete shock to you. Then tell your support system that you are a shopping addict and that you need their help in order to get better.
Begin addiction treatment and take it seriously. This can mean something as minimal as self help for moderate to mild shopping addicts, or something as immersive as counseling or rehab for severe shopping addicts. It is imperative that this is taken seriously if you want to recover. Do not pay attention to the opinion that shopping is not a “real” addiction. If it is negatively impacting your life, it is a real addiction. People in wealthy demographics statistically struggle with shopping addiction more, and treatment options are available in shopping addiction counseling in Beverly Hills, Miami and New York.
Manage your triggers and your urges to relapse. All addicts must face down triggers and the desire to relapse. The same life stress and opportunities to shop that you have always encountered are not going anywhere. You must become strong enough to resist them by avoiding them and having healthy coping mechanisms in place for when you cannot avoid them.
It is an addict’s nature to become lost in thinking they need to pursue their addiction in order to satisfy it. People burn through reserves of time, money and energy immersing themselves in their addiction. They gratify themselves with the most extreme expressions of their addiction but at the end of the day, they are left unsatisfied and wanting more. When you apply this to an out of control shopping addiction, it is easy to connect this type of thinking to the classic shopping addict, with clothes and shoes spilling out of their closets, kitchen gadgets tumbling out of their cabinets, accessories cluttering their drawers and shelves. They seemingly never stop accumulating stuff, yet they never find that permanent feeling of satisfaction they are looking for.
The reason for this is simple. Their desire to buy things is a mislead one. They think that shopping is at the heart of their craving when actually, they are seeking a much deeper type of fulfillment. A shopping addict, or any other kind of addict for that matter, is correct in sensing that they must seek something they are missing. They are just incorrect about what they are missing. Their living space would certainly indicate that they are not missing stuff one can find in a store. What they are missing is wholeness as a person. They are missing something in the way of purpose, meaning and identity.
The origins of this problem are deep and cloudy and hard to discover, which is why a person should not feel alone in their attempts to discover them. Professional counselors and addiction specialists do this kind of thing for a living, and they are very experienced and intelligent in navigating through it. A person can cut to the chase of their shopping addiction and discover the underlying causes of it by tasking advantage of the services a mental health professional provides. If you or someone you care about is a shopping addict, do not remain lost in what to do about it. Seek the services of a counselor today to regain a functional amount of mental health!
A shopping addiction is not necessarily what it seems. To an observer, it simply seems like compulsive, frivolous behavior; a person extending their resources beyond their means. These things are part of a shopping addiction, but the underlying cause of a shopping addiction is a feeling of emptiness. This feeling of emptiness may have come from a number of adverse stimuli, but it is always something that has worked its way into a person’s subconsciousness and has found a place to fester there. A person acting out in a shopping addiction does not love buying things as much as they think they do. What they like is the temporary feeling of filling the hole inside them.
Because of the adverse experience or experiences the shopping addict went through, they were thrown off course for a chance at good mental health. Negative events in a person’s life, particularly in their early developmental years, need to be dealt with right away by a responsible party, usually the person’s parents. The young person who went through the adverse experience needs help processing it by a parent or a counselor so that they do not develop unhealthy thought or behavior patterns. Sadly, the need for this is often overlooked and the young person veers off from good mental health. This type of thing can happen repeatedly to a person, twisting and bending their mental health ever further. So what is a mere annoyance to someone observing a shopping addict, is actually a deeply ingrained, troubled behavior on the part of the addict.
A shopping addiction is simply a way that a person seeks to bring themselves comfort. Typically, they have long lost conscious touch with what initially caused their addiction and are simply acting on instinct. They have no intention of frustrating the people in their lives or of damaging their personal finances or of cluttering up their space. All they know is that shopping temporarily relieves the burning ache of emptiness so they return to it again and again and again.
One particularly dangerous trap that compulsive shoppers fall into is one that is seen throughout all addictions, be it food addictions, sex addictions, alcohol addictions or drug addictions. This trap is the lie that an addict tells themselves about why they are once again indulging in their harmful behavior. The excuse is this: tomorrow is a better day for me to quit my addiction. The problem with this logic is that it inevitably becomes a pattern. Promising yourself that you will change your ways in the days to come is a very comforting, complacent mental space to put yourself in. It gives you reassurance that you are not an addict, you are simply waiting for the right circumstances to arise that will enable you to change your lifestyle. While this may feel like a solution, it is actually a form of destruction.
Those who fall victim to this logic will inevitably fall into destructive behavior. A person who tells themselves they will change in the future is also subconsciously excusing their present behavior, as well as making it worse. It is inevitable to reason that, because you have plans to quit your harmful behavior tomorrow, it is justifiable to indulge in it today. This reasoning is the epitome of laziness and complacency, yet we are all familiar with it. It is important to guard yourself against this type of thinking, whether its a shopping addiction you struggle with or some other type of addiction. This thinking alone can prove extremely destructive to your life because it makes the damage done by your addiction very significant.
It does not matter when you take the steps to control your addiction; it will always come with some discomfort and a great deal of resistance from your longing for instant gratification. It will always be work and it will always be challenging. However, it will also get easier with time until, eventually, you will approach your addiction with an entirely different attitude, typically one that is amazed at how controlled you were by your addiction. Once you accept this reality with maturity and grace, you can begin to work with it, and you can quit putting your recovery off until tomorrow.