Spending: The Silent Addiction

When most of us hear the word ‘addiction’ we probably think about alcohol and drugs. There are other addictions that float around society and we hear of from time to time such as video game addictions but for the most part addiction is often assumed to be to a mood changing substance.

I have a fairly addictive personality and throughout my battle with anorexia and bulimia I have also struggled with exercise addiction which is fairly recognised within eating disorders. I am also the type of person that will watch a film and immediately want it on again or I will listen to the same song on repeat for an entire hour. I will go ice skating for the first time and want to go the next day and the next day but these addictions are okay, they are enjoyable and do not have an impact on my quality of life. However, there is one addiction that I am silent about and today is the first time I am really admitting that this is a problem. I have a spending addiction.

I’ve struggled with spending for a very long time and for most of that time I have spent nights under the duvet googling away in the hope of finding some help and information on spending addictions but there really isn’t much out there. I cannot be the only person struggling with this and I know how isolating this feels and the horrible, scary feelings that comes along with this addiction and so I decided it was time to speak out about my troubles and to try and find the answers and share them in the hope that someone else under their duvet googling away in desperation can find some information.

I’ve hidden my spending problem for a very long time because I feared that people would judge me as greedy, self-indulgent, careless and selfish but in many ways it is similar to the binge eating I struggle with during my battles with bulimia. I don’t enjoy the food, I don’t taste the food, I don’t want to eat the food but I cannot stop myself and it is incredibly distressing. It’s the same with spending. I don’t want to spend, I have got life plans that I want to achieve, I have got food I need to buy and places that I need to go and money is vital for survival in this society. I don’t often look at the things I buy and they and their packaging end up hidden around my bedroom. I don’t want to fall asleep with the thought that my bank account has gone overdrawn and I’m getting charged £10 a day for it. I don’t want my life to be this way but at this moment I have not found a way to stop. I am working on it and trying different techniques because I am determined to beat this and help other people to beat this too.

Before I was sectioned last summer my spending hit the worst point it ever had and during my time in hospital I had bailiffs threatening to come to my home which was incredibly stressful and scary. I am a tidy, neat and organised person and I never wanted my life to reach that point and I’m terrified it will again. I was online shopping the other day and a bubble popped up saying, “How can we help?” and I honestly felt like typing in the bubble, “I have a spending problem, please help me.”

I am determined to beat this addiction now and the first step was admitting I had a problem. I am going to post my journey with spending addiction on here every time that there is an update because there really is not enough information out there and I am 100% certain that I am not the only one going through this.

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4 thoughts on “Spending: The Silent Addiction

  1. My compulsion to spend comes and goes. Sometimes I want to do something exciting when I’m feeling ok and other times it’s to make myself feel a bit better. But I’m far too scared to lose my house to let it become a full on addiction. Definitely something to mention in your therapy.
    I have read quite a lot of your posts and spotted you on Twitter. I just wondered if you have ever tried hypnotherapy? It has changed my life, teamed with CBT. I can see your determination to change. Take care 🙂
    P.S. I’m new to blogging so hope I don’t offend or anything.

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    1. I would say what I experience is different to you…I don’t want to spend, it isn’t for exciting things but I haven’t yet found a way to stop myself.
      A heroin addict rarely wants to become a heroin addict.
      I haven’t tried hypnotherapy.
      I wish you the very best with everything xxxx

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  2. Spending is the addiction or form of self harm in my life I have battled the longest. I’m 46 years old and have had to declare bankruptcy twice. Just last week the overwhelming urge returned, and I went to the mall and applied for credit cards at all the stores I haven’t burned in the past. I was approved for one credit card with a small credit limit ($250 US) and went on a binge that emotionally felt like when I was about to go on a wild drinking binge or was preparing to use some of my favorite drugs.

    In the end it was a big disappointment though, I bought 2 skirts, 3 tops, 2 pairs of shoes, and a pair of jeans for $140. I had three new outfits at a fantastic savings with very little damage done. It was like swallowing a handful of pills and nothing happening. The high wasn’t what I was hoping for.

    I’m not sure what this means. Does it mean that I’ve finally slain the beast and my addiction is no longer a problem? Or does it mean that my next binge with be an epic catastrophe that will take years to recover from, if I recover at all?

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  3. I think you took your first huge step in dealing with your spending addiction. This problem is far more common than you think, and you are providing yourself and others a great service by opening the lines of communication and discussing this topic. Just take it one day at a time.

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