When we are traversing these woods of recovery we often circle around to earlier issues or slowly sift thru other behaviors and find more subtle addictive behaviors underneath. For many “Out of the Woods” travelers we come again to look at our relationship behaviors—that is at the heart isn’t it? And we also begin to look at the addictions of daily life: food, work and money.
I’m reading the book, “To Buy or Not to Buy” written by April Lane Benson, a psychologist specializing in the treatment of compulsive shopping. Yeah, I want to stop right there. “Who me?” but Yes.
For some people compulsive shopping is a primary addiction and for others it’s secondary—our drug or alcohol problem was first or more blatant and shopping too much or “retail therapy” gets a wink and a laugh. Until it doesn’t.
Here is one of the eye openers for me from Benson’s book: The shades and variations of compulsive shopping support its denial much the same way that variations may have kept us in denial about our drinking.
Compulsive shopping can look like any of these:
Daily over shopper; occasional shopper but binge when you do; a collector (often a male form of over shopping); shopping excessively for others; compulsive gift giver; buying multiple versions of the same thing; relentlessly hunting for bargains; constantly buy and return (like binge and purge); constant searching at flea market, garage sale or thrift shop.
You might think, “Well, that kind of covers everybody.” But remember back to when you assumed that everybody drank and then in early recovery you realized that a lot of people didn't? Similar deal. Dam.
Check out Benson’s website where you can read more about this and even take a little quiz. Yeah, fun, right?