...And Lived to Tell About It
Can I get real for a minute? Spending the day with friends going from store to store, sale to sale is fun. There, I said it. How can this be a problem, you say?
The problem is when I did it nearly every weekend and used money I didn't really have, shopping became an idol. Shopping was something I used to lift my spirits. It gave me an adrenaline rush to see how much stuff I could get at one time. I justified my spending because it was on sale. I needed those cute brown boots because they matched that one dress. I simply couldn't do without the next great thing in office decor because I'm a professional woman and I need to present a beautiful office space. Can you relate?
I am an adult child of an alcoholic. I'm also married to an alcoholic who is now in recovery. Before recovery entered our marriage, though, I used shopping as a tool to fill my emptiness. If you're like me, living with an alcoholic or an addict is extremely difficult. It can leave us feeling as if we are in competition with a bottle. It creates animosity within the family dynamic. It leaves an empty space within us. I searched for something to fill the empty spaces. I used shopping to fill a need. I used it, in a way, to get even with my husband for spending every weekend on the couch with his beloved beer. The worst thing about it, though, I hid my shopping problem (and the $20,000 in debt) from my husband.
So, what changed?
Two things; recovery and God.
I found out through therapy that I needed recovery. I didn't go to therapy because of my shopping problem - I had no idea then there was a problem with that. I started therapy to help me with the grief of losing my dad to cancer and losing my husband to alcohol. While God worked on my heart through my Christian therapist, God was also working on my husband.
We both entered into recovery in September of 2015. He went because he had a problem with alcohol. I went to learn how to fix his problem. God had other plans for me. I learned quickly that I couldn't fix my husband. That is God's job. I could, however, allow God to work on fixing my brokenness. Working through all 12 steps with God at the center saved my life.
Ok, wait. Isn't that a little dramatic, Kimberly? You mean to tell me, shopping was killing you? Come on now. Are you serious?
Listen, I'm not saying that shopping would soon bring me death, but I am saying that shopping contributed to it. Now, I wasn't physically, literally dying, but my spirit was. You see, using material things to fill a whole in my heart Actually left me feeling emptier at the end of the day. I used temporary things to fill a permanent need. A need only Jesus can fill.
Want some quick, easy steps to help you with your shopping addiction? Well, look no further. Have I got a deal for you!
1. Stay out of the stores!
You heard me. Just don’t go. If you don’t have to go, don’t. I know, I know, that’s easier said than done when one of you best girlfriends wants to spend time with you. There are other ways to spend time with friends. Like meeting for coffee, having lunch, attend a Bible study, go to the park. The ideas are virtually endless and they don’t have to include shopping.