This is a time of real struggle for everyone, but I think addicts, even those in recovery, are at increased risk. Thankfully, we have an arsenal of tools at our fingertips and a Higher Power who can carry us through, whether speaking to us during prayer and meditation, at meetings, or through the voice of our network, to whom we can gratefully turn for support.
With the frenzy to “stock up,” it’s way too easy to justify compulsive spending and debting right now. Just the click of a button brings us some comfort or, alternatively, seeing that items we need are out of stock with no known return date, we feel that panic of “not enough” and “not safe” rising up, bringing with it the desire to buy something, anything, to make us feel better.
Just last week, an ad for shoes appeared. Now, mind you, I only wear sneakers because of my prehensile toes and arch issues, though I have one pair of “real shoes” for special occasions, which almost never occur. But these were orthotic-friendly and so cute in a world where shoes for people like me are generally mighty ugly.
I romanced this purchase for over an hour. I had the money in my spending plan. But a still, small voice inside reminded me that it’s not wise to buy when feeling compulsive. I summoned up the willingness to sit in the discomfort of not buying the shoes until the next day.
Gratefully, I didn’t pull the trigger when I came to my senses the next morning and realized what a joke it would be to buy these shoes right now. Where the heck do I think I’m going?
It’s crucial for us to remember, especially during this difficult time, that delayed gratification is our dearest friend. And that panic makes for poor buying decisions.
This would be the perfect time to cultivate the practice of pausing for at least 24 hours before making a purchase when you feel that extreme desire, bordering on “I’m going to die if I don’t- buy this right now!” The more you strengthen that muscle, the more likely you will use it when faced with extreme temptation.
And when you do restock items like toilet paper and disinfectant wipes, please think of this as an opportunity to practice Step 12 and consider the needs of others when deciding how much to purchase. In such challenging times, it’s one of the most important acts of service we can do.
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