Thursday, August 21, 2008

12 steps programme

A colleague and I were commiserating about how we haven't shopped in a long while. It led me to think about how long it has been since I've actually shopped. And to my own consternation, it's been years. By shopping, I'm not talking about picking up the odd top but real crazy, full on shopping where the thrill is in the buying whether or not there really was a need for it. I used to SHOP. I queued at the Mango sales and I would shop every weekend, tops, skirts, dresses, bags and shoes. Every weekend. Credit card companies loved me but I hated the bills that arrived every month. I think the Isetan credit card loved me the most because I used it to ring up purchases of half the Mango store during the sales. My penchant for Mango clothes gave rise to Packrat referring to it as my house of worship and to students giving me gifts that mocked my pseudo obsession.

Upon talking to this colleague, I realised with some amount of horror and possibly relief that I no longer went mad at Mango sales if at all I went. And a look at previous blog posts showed that over the years, I had slowly gotten over the obsession. - A lot of it was by being forcibly kept away.

I guess, I'm cured. Somewhat anyway. Like any addiction, it's easy to fall off the wagon, or is it to get on the wagon. Anyway, I'm sure the 12 steps would keep me from straying too far.

1. I have to admit that I am powerless of the urge to shop, whether it be Mango or Gap or else where—that my life will become unmanageable if I start.
2. I have to realise and be convinced that a Power greater than myself has to restore me to sanity- the fear of the fat credit card bill at the end of the month.
3. Make a decision to turn my will to shop or not to shop and my life to the care of Packrat or any other rational person who will understands my need to shop and the danger it poses to me.
4. Make a searching and fearless inventory of all the clothes that I have bought that I don't use and had bought out on a whim and prove to myself that I don't need more.
5. Admit to Packrat that spending $400 on a three quarter length cream winter jacket was compulsive and stupid especially since it is still hanging in its virgin state in my increasingly cluttered wardrobe.
6. Be accepting of how life can go on even if excessive shopping be removed from my list of hobbies.
7. Humbly admit that it would be better for all and sundry that I didn't buy 4 of the same tops in different colours.
8. Make a list of things I could have used the money for, including traveling or more recently diapers for my children.
9. Make direct amends to my children for taking up their precious wardrobe space because mine has spilt over and promise to allocate them more space when I clear out all the stuff I no longer wear.
10. Continue to keep clearing out clothes that I don't wear or fit into especially with how the post baby me has a different body from the pre-baby me.
11. Sought through support of others, including my exasperated helper who has to find creative means of fitting all my clothes into the limited cupboard space, not to use retail as a means of therapy however alluring it is, especially when life goes awry.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps and get to this point where I no longer can find the changing rooms blindfolded and shopping becomes a once in a while treat where I allow myself to buy one thing and only if I threw out 2 things to make space for that one thing.

So, remarkably I've pretty much gone through the 12 steps unknowingly and without all that much pain and angst. I guess it has helped that, like Packrat says, my priorities have changed and whether or not I want to admit it, I am less frivolous than I used to be although some days I hanker for some of that frivolity. It's hard to though, when the voice of reason is so loud and there are so many obstacles preventing me from spending the entire day trawling the stores.

I'm not complaining. I'm just marvelling wryly how my life and by extension, I, AM different. But now, I do want to shop. Now to find my "sponsor" to stop me from returning to ways of bad.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 06:45

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