Sojourn Back to the Drawing Board


I’ve relapsed.

I’ve fell of the wagon.

I’m floundering in a really dark hole of shame, guilt, and debt.

I maintain that the claims of psychologists that shopping addiction (oniomania) is a real behavioural condition/addiction, and the highs and lows cycle of staying “sober” and then any following relapses cause very real emotional anguish. It is a bona fide addiction, through and through.

I know that shopping addiction comes down to deeper unresolved issues we have inside ourselves. However those take time to work through, and while we go through the healing process it takes a huge amount of good old-fashioned self-discipline to say no to spending money. I will not resolve the deeper issues by tomorrow, but until then I need to wake up every day and tell myself my wallet is closed.

My desire for new things – clothes, shoes, jewellery, cosmetics – overtook my desire to be a self-disciplined individual who was above the claws of consumer culture. Mentally I knew that being debt-free and having money to build my future and help my family would give me the lasting satisfaction that new shoes never will, yet still I failed and overindulged in all these items. Tangible things that add but the most fleeting streak of short-sighted joy but rob me of genuine happiness.

So how did I get back into this mess? The same way I always do. By being short-sighted and lacking will. I started to loosen up my resolve to look at tempting website. Oh, I’ll just do a quick browse to see what’s new for the summer, I would say. $350 worth of clothes in the shopping cart later and I’m purposely drowning out my internal voice screaming “NO!!” as I push all the right buttons on the paypal site. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I’m not going to make a bold statement about how today is a new day and I’m a new person and I’ve stopped. I’ve done that before, and it didn’t work. No more bold statements. Just hard work.

Here is what I have to conquer:

  • $11,000 in visa debt, at 22%
  • $14,000 in line of credit debt, at 6%
  • $12,000 in line of credit (#2) debt, at 8.25%
  • $25,000 loan from family member

Grand total: $62,000.

$62,000 of debt by age 30 with not an asset to show for it. It’s enough to make one sick.

I’ve listed them in order of what to conquer first. I need to pay off the 6% LOC faster than the 8.25% one because that’s in my mother’s name and I want to clear that first.

I’m in the process of taping notes with “$62,000” printed on it on my credit and debit card so I can see that terrifying number whenever I feel like purchasing something to make me feel “better.” I don’t believe in fear tactics, but it seems like logic and emotional appeals haven’t worked thus far.

I’m going to learn to say no. I’m going to learn to look away. I’m going to learn what it takes to pay of $62,000 debt and be in control of myself once again. I’m going to learn what it’s like to wake up in the morning and feel ok.


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