I am addicted to shopping. It all started with a trip to a new thrift store. It was the largest one I'd ever been to, and the selection of clothing was immense. My first trip there I had a whole shopping cart filled with clothes and still had my eyes on more.
I found myself going there on every pay day. Soon it was every week, twice a week, and finally every day, sometimes twice a day. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I couldn't seem to resist the allure of amazing bargains. After I lost my apartment and moved in with my sister, she explained to me that I was addicted to shopping.
I Wasn't Alone
I decided to do some research on the internet, and it turns out that many people share the same addiction. Shopping addiction is real and it can be treated. In addition to shopping, alcohol, and drugs, I learned there is help for other addictions, such as:
Are You Addicted?
There are signs that are common to all types of addictions, including:
- Uncontrollable urges to use a substance or participate in an unhealthy activity
- Negative consequences do not deter you from using or participating in that activity again
- Not fulfilling your obligations at home, work, or school
- Continuing with the activity or using even when it can be dangerous, like drinking and driving
- Continuing with the activity or using when losing friendships and family relationships
- Participating or using longer than you originally planned
- Unable to participate or use less than you are now
- Spending the majority of your time in the activity or getting, using, and recovering from a substance
- Spending less time on recreational, social, or occupational activities
If you are experiencing any of the above, it is time to recognize you have an addiction.
Help is Available
Everyone's situation is unique, so it is very important to find a treatment facility that recognizes your specific addiction and will tailor your treatment program to fit your individual needs. All treatment programs must work to determine and address the issues that led to your disorder in the first place.
All types of addictions can be treated with the right program, and there are all kinds of programs out there for every type of addiction imaginable. I found a 12-step program for shopaholics and learned my excessive shopping was a behavioral addiction, and I needed specialized treatment.
Addictions to behavior are no less serious than addictions to substances and can be equally damaging to your health and your life. Take eating disorders, for example. They are one of the most life-threatening issues encountered in the treatment world today, and prompt treatment is critical.
My behavioral addiction required specialized therapeutic services. I was referred to a therapy program that offered:
- Individual counseling sessions
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Art therapy
- Pet therapy
- Group counseling sessions
A Happy Ending
These programs helped me to determine why I behaved this way, how to avoid what triggers this behavior, and what I can do to prevent it from happening again. If something happens that triggers my desire to shop, I now have the tools I need to calm my urges. Some of these tools include:
- Replacing that urge with a positive activity
- Attending a meeting
- Taking a walk
- Calling a friend or loved one for support
- Volunteer work
I am now gainfully employed and have moved into my own apartment. Remember, all addictions are treatable, so don't give up. It's a beautiful world in recovery.
The Anaheim Lighthouse is a modern and effective addiction treatment center in Southern California. To talk to us about addiction treatment programs at our affordable drug and alcohol rehab that fit your needs, call (844) 494-4939.