Notes on addiction

I have been a shopping addict since I was a teenager. I started squirrelling away my lunch money and spending it on clothes off the clearance racks. When I got my first job, all the money I made after my tuition fees were paid went towards building my wardrobe. Over half my life has been spent in a circular pattern of desire, purchase, guilt and swearing off shopping for all eternity. Until the next time, that is.

When I was a teenager, my mom asked me to not turn to alcohol because of a propensity for addiction ran in our family. This wasn’t terribly difficult, as I had no interest in alcohol. However, it wasn’t until I read this article (about 4/5s of the way down) that I started to view alcoholism differently. Alcoholism wasn’t the problem; it was simply a symptom of how trapped people were feeling.

And then I had so many questions. For instance, what did that mean for my family’s supposed predisposition, as well as my own? Is it an unacknowledged depression that no one feels they can talk about, expressed by unhealthy behaviours instead? Or did everyone feel a general lack of connection that was soothed by habits that made it easier to get by? Also, was it just a kind of luck that I found solace in shopping before I tried drugs? Could I have been a junkie instead of a shoe diva?

I remember there being a time in which I stopped shopping only to feel even more alone later. Shopping wasn’t the answer but, like so many of our modern-day medications, it staved off the symptoms for a reasonable amount of time, making it feel worthwhile.

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