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My mind was weird this morning. I didn’t have the normal dread or anxiety of facing a new day. I was not super lazy, yet I didn’t move very surely.  After a while it was like ADD smacked into me, my thoughts all over the place, fast, fleeting, urgent yet indecisional. Like the Tolls on Charmed, they were so fast that prioritizing and planning to carry out a single action was beyond my grasp. I felt confused. Uncertain from one second to the next.

I have trained myself to focus through coloring. I grabbed my Color-by-Numbers from my bed and settled at my kitchen table to calm down and see what was really going on in my brain. After a few minutes I booted up my laptop to write what came out. Here it is.

Can’t alight on a thing. Criticism and judgment picks at me. I can’t do anything in peace because of nagging to do something else. No one seems to be in charge. Doubt prevents efficiency. A good decision cannot be made.

Uncertainty, life’s pause button. Stop. Check-in. Feel. Assess. What is irritating you? What issue is still in your mind from yesterday, the day before, or the week? What have you accomplished that has you on a roll? Should you still be on the roll? Pace yourself.  Pace your energy, even good energy. Pace your money. Stay on budget in all things. Stop. Assess your expenditures. Plan your spending. Remember shopping is an addiction for you. Crap.

The addicted mind. Oi!

I have to watch the anger. I will strive to “make deals” with myself because I’ve called myself out. My addiction will argue good points. The healthier me will be tempted to allow addiction it’s “deal” because there is some truth to the argument. Shame will echo addiction’s reasoning. Shame wants to remain covered up, prompting addiction’s nagging. My parenting style is to say “yes” where possible, with limitations. Through poisonous pedagogy, I have also learned that true needs are met with anger and resentment. I will do to myself what was done to me. In this case, I may allow myself this purchase, but it will come with a, “There! Now shut up about it!” Guilt will be attached to the item because of the associated drama in acquiring it.

Shame will play both sides. Deprivation is shameful. Yet meeting that deprived need pokes at that deprivation. The self-acknowledged pain that I have let myself go without meeting true needs, tends to call forth my history of such denials either purposely as now, due to my strict budgeting, or not, directly out of my own failings, or in addition to someone else’s. Deprivation because it was “only you” (me, that is) seems to unleash a particularly frenzied addictive behavior. It is likely that shame will be standing next to me in line to pay for my purchase reminding me I am not functional enough or that my budget is so tight or that the addictive power of buying something is so dangerous that I can barely buy a bra.

Got it! I was still on a shopping high, distracted by very real accomplishments, yet my addiction was screaming for more, as addictions do. Like other addicts, there must have been some residual relief that I wanted to maintain, thus I was focused on how I was going to get my next “fix” rather than engaging in the real morning unfolding in front of me with my safety intact. Instead of reveling in the joy of the new comfy bra I had washed and was now on my body, I was scratching for another, immediately! Instead of washing the new sheets I got at the same time as the bra, putting them on my bed, removing the brand new set currently on it; I was cruising online for a new body pillow so I could throw mine away. Instead of being grateful for the gift card from my co-worker that enabled me to get a new planner, a Dot-to-Dot, three adult coloring books for myself, and one as a gift; I was plotting how to get still another tiny adorable purse sized color book as well.

It is never enough. As an addict to the exchange of my money for items I truly do need, objects and services that make my life better, and such for others, because I have a generous heart; I must forever reign in all thoughts regarding spending. Apparently, I now also have to reign in all thoughts the next day as well, to check on addiction’s agenda. Perhaps my shopping addiction has plans that it has not run past the daily planner, the bi-weekly budget, and oh, the actual person that makes any spending and very life itself, possible.

A drill down into the issues surrounding the addictive process in my head to go spend more today, yielded more than one post can contain. Each item that I bought, how I bought them, and the reasons for their purchase, turned out to be a snarl of behaviors in and of themselves. That I am on a roll in some areas is great news. That I am determined to alleviate a huge irritation is fabulous. However, I have a long history of destabilizing myself due to poor money management. It stinks that for the millionth time I have had to spend my day off protecting myself from myself.

I think it wasn’t just my shopping addiction that got me today. Yesterday I also journaled previously uncharted territory prompted by my reading on men and shame, furthered by the genesis message at church. Then I shopped, then I had a social engagement that I attended and left alone, at night, leaving me wide open to an angry 7 year-old. Perhaps I should have known I had tackled too much in one day when coming in last night, I never turned on a light, I stripped off my clothes, and fell onto my bed at 9pm totally overwhelmed.