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How to Break Your Shopping Addiction

Updated on February 11, 2017
GreenEyes1607 profile image

Sabrina loves to write about love, life, and everything in between in a candid yet humorous approach.

I remember that day exactly. It is burned in my memory forever. It was the first time that I resorted to shopping to feel better about my life. I had just had a fight with my boyfriend and was feeling lonely and lost, so I decided to go shopping to take my mind off of things and feel better. My new handbag made me feel happy again and the temporary high I got from shopping wasn't bad either. Everything was all right in my world again.

Over the next few months, things went from bad to worse in my relationship,which only resulted in more frequent shopping trips. Soon enough, I was not only buying handbags, but basically anything I could get my hands on. This included books, clothes, shoes, movies, CDs, lotions, hair products, and perfumes. The more unhappy I felt in my relationship, the more my desire for shopping increased. It was my way to let off steam and be happy, if only for a short amount of time.

While this was all going on, I didn't see a problem with my behavior. I had a job and was spending my own money on things that I needed. That was my justification for buying that tenth handbag in less then six months. I wasn't hurting anyone or anything except my bank account. Soon though enough, that justification just wouldn't cut it.

When my relationship ended, I felt more lost and confused then I ever had in my life before. Suddenly shopping wasn't enough to fill the emptiness I felt inside. No matter how much stuff I bought, it didn't seem to make me feel better. I was numb to the one thing that had made me so happy in the past. One day soon after, when I was organizing my closet, I realized how irrational I had been acting. I looked around and saw all the new clothes still hanging with the tags on. From all the new clothes I had purchased, I had only worn about two things. The rest were hanging in my closet or still sitting in the bags I bought them in. The shoes were still all in their boxes, brand new and untouched. I used only one handbag of the ten I had purchased.

All this stuff didn't make me happier at all. Sure it brought that fleeting moment of happiness when I purchased it, but that faded about as soon as it came. I may have been about twenty pairs of shoes richer, but that didn't make me any happier. I realized then that I had used shopping as a way to make up for the other things I had been lacking in my life, such as a healthy relationship. I decided to do the right thing and return all the unnecessary purchases I had made. I kept only the items I had taken the tags off and used which honestly wasn't even a third of everything I had bought.

I hear this same story a lot, especially from other women. Shopping is our football season, and every trip to the mall is our game. Some of us are bigger fans then others, but all in all, most of us enjoy the experience. Shopping is fun when it's for things we actually need or can afford to buy. But when buying things becomes a way to make up for something else that is lacking in our lives, it becomes a problem. Now when I go shopping, I always ask myself if I really need something or if I'm buying it for another reason.

The truth is, I have learned that some purchases are just healthier and better for me then others. For example, I can buy that Coach handbag, and it will probably bring me temporary happiness the first time I use it. Then it goes in the back of the closet until maybe next year when I choose to use it again. But if I buy a new book that I am looking forward to reading, I know I have just purchased many hours of guaranteed fun. In the end, shopping can be a good thing if you're buying the right things for the right reasons.

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