Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill

As I wrote a few weeks ago, my blog will now be located on the “I Can’t Stop Spending!” website, where I also have a podcast.

For awhile, I’ll post a link here as well when there is a new post. You can also sign up to get each new blog post by email (the sign-up form is located on the sidebar of the “I Can’t Stop Spending!” site).

Click here to read the post, “Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill,” or listen to the podcast episode.

Ongoing, I’ll also be posting an inspirational reading from my book, “Getting Out from Going Under Daily Reader for Compulsive Debtors and Spenders.” In this post, it is December 14th: “Avoiding Pain.”

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New Blog Post & Podcast Episode Available: “Letter to a Suffering Friend”

As I wrote a few weeks ago, my blog will now be located on the “I Can’t Stop Spending!” website, where I also have a podcast.

For awhile, I’ll post a link here as well when there is a new post. You can also sign up to get each new blog post by email (the sign-up form is located on the sidebar of the “I Can’t Stop Spending!” site).

Click here to read the post, “Letter to a Suffering Friend,” or listen to the podcast episode.

Ongoing, I’ll also be posting an inspirational reading from my book, “Getting Out from Going Under Daily Reader for Compulsive Debtors and Spenders.” In this post, it is May 27: “The Enemy of Creativity.”

Why “Cash Register Honesty” Pays Off

A lot has happened since my last post a few months ago, and I’m excited to share it with you (and ask for your opinion).

But first, I want to share a story about why honesty definitely pays off for me. (But if you really want to skip ahead and read about what’s been happening immediately, click here. 😊)

As part of my recovery, I do my best to be rigorously honest, which includes “cash register honesty.” If you don’t know what that is, it means staying honest about the little things as well as the big ones. So, for instance, I won’t rob a bank, but I also give back change to the cashier if she gave me too much.

Now, I’m not perfect. I still struggle (sometimes unsuccessfully) with saying no if someone has access to a movie that’s still in the theaters. I’ve even been known to buy a ticket on Fandango so I can watch a pirated copy if it’s not playing near me. So this is great progress, because there was a time when I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.

My husband thinks I go to ridiculous lengths to ensure I stay “cash register honest.” His eyerolling doesn’t deter me, however. I’ve even driven back to a store across town when they accidentally gave me too much change and I only realized it after coming home!

But what happened a few weeks ago convinced me that this is the right path for me to follow. (I just LOVE this story! 😊 It’s a long story, but so worth it in the end!)
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Letting Go: Why I am Pausing My Podcast and the Remarkable Poem that Led Me There

[Note: This post is derived from my podcast, “I Can’t Stop Spending!” where I talk about why I need to pause production on the podcast. In this post, I also talk about issues around recovery work and Tradition 11, anonymity, underearning, and more. Click here if you would like to listen.]

Photo by gnuckx [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by gnuckx [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I began my current recovery from compulsive spending on April 25th 2009. In 2012, I started blogging about my journey to help other compulsive spenders and debtors. The tool of spending plan has been a cherished spiritual weapon in keeping the demons at bay and I loved writing about how to use that tool.

It felt like my life’s mission was to spread the message of hope and practical action around recovery from compulsive spending to those in and out of 12-step rooms. I believe in a spiritual solution, which means that I can’t give you the answer packaged up with a tidy, little bow. But I can be a conduit to offer my experience, strength, and hope while you walk along the path with me.

So, while I can’t teach you how to stop compulsive spending, I can offer practical advice about how to get over the terror that keeps you from even beginning the process of developing a spending plan. I can share my own experience, strength, and hope around staying sober despite the pain we all experience emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually because of this debilitating addiction. And I can show you how to create and use a spending plan, which is vital to recovery.
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Resisting that Irresistible Urge to Spend

Click here to listen on our podcast site, “I Cant Stop Spending!”

Image by George Hodan

Image by George Hodan

Recently, I came across an article about a woman in the U.K. who had to keep a backlog of rent money because there were issues with the property owners being unable to set up a bank account for rent. The article said:

The problem [with the rent money] was only alerted to Ms Bracher upon [her] contacting the company in May, and it has been unable to tell her when the situation is likely to be resolved.

Ms. Bracher has a history of mental health and compulsive spending problems, and she is concerned she will be unable to resist using the accumulating rent for other purposes.

She said: “I have told Network Housing that I am in danger of spending the money and that it is causing a great deal of anxiety having the money in my account, but they do not seem to care.

As a result, I am not sleeping properly and it is having a massive effect on my day-to-day life and health.

They have put me in a vulnerable position as they cannot tell me when the problem will be resolved and I cannot cope much longer.”

Wow! I can sure relate to that. I clearly remember those days when having a pile of money accumulating in my checking account was gasoline poured on the fire of my compulsion to spend.

But I must say that I am awed by Ms. Bracher’s honesty and integrity around this matter. She reached out to them. And she had clear self-awareness of her problem. That buildup of pressure when we accumulate money is all too familiar to me.
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Why I Ignore Valentine’s Day and Why You Should Too!

I’m writing about Valentine’s Day in the hopes that I can convince those of you who fall under its twisted spell to see clearly through the deceptive veil that masks “the day of love.” As you may surmise, I’m not a fan. 

Now, bear in mind that this article is somewhat tongue in cheek, but only somewhat. I truly have disdain for this “Hallmark” holiday, which is, in fact, a trifecta of indulgence, a promotional conspiracy between the greeting card, jewelry, and floral industries to drive consumers into guilt spree spending. (By the way, this “holiday” has quite a violent past … but more about that in a moment).

If you don’t believe Valentine’s Day is a blatant manipulation by the industries mentioned above (along with anyone else who thinks they can find a way to get you to open your wallet in the name of love), here are some sickening Valentine’s Day spending statistics from an article called, “38 Surprising Valentine’s Day Statistics Marketers Will Love.”

Before I continue, I can hear you saying, “well, what about Mother’s Day?” To that, I say, wait until you have raised a teenager who is hormonally ungrateful and petulant 364 days a year, and you will understand why being guilt-driven on Mother’s Day, no matter how old you are, is a kindness and penance for those demonic years.

But I digress.

Bloody Beginnings

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Feeling Your Feelings

Background image by Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Background image by Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Let Me Start with “Jane’s” Story

I want to tell you a story about a fictional person we’ll call Jane.

Jane goes to a job interview that she really wants. She’s already nervous about making a good impression. Unfortunately, she senses the interview goes poorly because it was quite short. When she leaves, she begins to ruminate on why it didn’t go well. She replays it over and over thinking about what she might have said or done differently. She starts beating herself up, telling herself she’s just a screw up and thinking about all the ways she failed. Now, her anxiety over this is ratcheting up.

As her vague discomfort becomes more pronounced, she is feeling more and more aware of the pressure building. But she keeps trying to shove it down or ignore it. Jane goes about her day, but on this subliminal level, she’s continuing to feed herself these negative messages.

When she comes home, as soon as she walks in the door, her husband greets her by asking her to give him a hand with something or other.

BOOM!

Seemingly out of nowhere, Jane starts screaming at him that he’s always wanting her to do something, that he doesn’t appreciate her, that she’s had a long day and why can’t he let her be! Now, she’s furious, adding to the pot she’s been stirring her misplaced anger at her husband .

She storms off into the bedroom, slamming the door.

Jane is also a compulsive spender.

When she’s finally alone, when she has nowhere else to turn, she feels desperate to make herself feel better, to purge this alien tormenting creature that has grown to monstrous proportions inside of her, now finally overcoming all her coping mechanisms. She can no longer ignore the simmering emotions that have burst into flames.
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