is in the air! What seeds have you planted that
are going to bloom soon? Seeds of positivity or
seeds of negativity? Or a little of both? I
continue to learn about my planting patterns. I've
been more inclined over the last several years to
plant seeds for my business and my finances and
those seeds have sprouted many wonderful flowers:
vibrant and rewarding work, books, conferences,
etc. I've also spent the last two years planting
seeds toward better health through diet, exercise,
and medication; finally, I'm seeing the fruits of
those efforts in weight loss, lowered cholesterol,
and more energy and optimism. I planted some seeds
over many years to start another local CASA group
at a well-known church in Metro-Detroit and that
group took root in February and is averaging 10
members per meeting. And I've continued to plant
seeds for my recovery--to the best of my
ability--by continuing to go to meetings and by
continuing to take a hard look at myself--with the
help of many close friends--to see where I'm stuck
and where I need to grow.
However, it has
been hard to accept of late that in certain
dimensions of my life I have not been taking the
time to plant the seeds necessary for deeper and
more intimate relationships--with myself, others,
and with spirit. I've fallen back into the old
pattern of being a "doing machine." It's a common
pattern for many: the outside looks good but the
inside has become dangerously hollow. Love needs
the seeds of attention, kind words, touch, smiles,
spontanaeity and so do most of our other intimate
relationships with family and friends. I know this
but keep forgetting! A therapist recently reminded
me that I've got to take time to re-connect with
myself and my own spirit in order to share and
receive love from the deepest, most authentic, and
most powerful well-spring of who I am. The only
real way to re-connect with oneself is to slow
down, breathe, feel, and be still. This is,
naturally, very hard for those of us who are Type
A persons. But it must be done. I am now shifiting
my focus gently to planting those seeds: the seeds
of stillness, of going within, of giving as much
attention (or more?) to my loved ones as to my
work. I am officially in recovery from
workaholism! Wish me luck!
Now, some may
have the opposite problem. Some may be quite adept
at planting the seeds of stillness, spirituality,
and quality relationships; however, they may
struggle with putting equal attention to their
finances, their business, their health, or other
important and creative endeavors.
gonna have it all in balance--at least not for
very long. But it's a wonderful time of year to
get motivated to plant some seeds in our lives
that can take root and lead us to our hopes and
dreams or even beyond what we can imagine. If you
are having trouble getting motivated on your
own--or even in clarifying what seeds you need to
plant--reach out for support our wise counsel from
someone close to you or a trained
And be patient! If your crops
don't raise by Summer or the Fall Harvest, don't
give up! Keep
The following excerpts are from Mr.
Shulman's new book:
"Bought Out and $pent!
Recovery from Compulsive $hopping and $pending"
We all have money
issues. I know I do. We're usually feeling like we
want or need more of it. We're trying to earn
more, spend less, save or invest more; yet, we
also want more, need more, feel we deserve more,
and dread the feeling of losing or just
maintaining our current lifestyle.
I believe something
else is happening. A dangerous mindset has taken
root: spend now and worry later—or, better yet,
don't worry at all! Welcome to the world of
addiction: the world of more, more, more. It's a
world of imbalance, of denial, and of insanity.
It's more than plain greed.
noticed a growing trend over the last decade or
so. From Suze Orman to Dave Ramsey to Oprah's
"Debt Diet" to A&E TV's "Big Spender" to
books, articles, television and radio shows: calls
near and far are sounding the alarm about our
individual and collective problems with debt and
Everywhere we look
and listen: there are warning signs that something
is out of balance: a looming recession, wild stock
market swings, a housing market bust with record
foreclosures, consumer credit card debt at an all
time high! We've been told recently that we're not
in a recession but "a slow down."
We were given easy
credit, no money down, and promised "The American
Dream." Look what's happening?
As Americans, we
work longer hours, take less vacation time, have
more health issues such as lack of sleep,
depression, anxiety, and obesity, and report less
overall satisfaction with life. As we continue to
emulate and chase the lifestyles of the "rich and
famous," we pay a devastating toll
being--individually and collectively.
Yet, many of us
continue to spend like there's no tomorrow. And,
for many, there may not be a tomorrow. Our
attitudes and culture of consumerism have reached
a breaking point over the last few decades.
As with many
issues, we seem to have a split personality—again,
individually and collectively. On the one hand, we
have a trend toward hyper-consumerism best
illustrated by the blossoming of magazines and TV
shows pushing the lure of haute couture and
mocking—tongue-in-cheek—the excesses of shopping
and spending—from "Sex in The City" to the
chick-lit "Confessions of a Shopaholic" novellas
which will be released as a major motion picture
On the other hand,
we have a growing movement saying slow down—from
Suze Orman to, less stylistically, the movies
"What Would Jesus Buy," "Maxed Out!" and the
underground films "Money as Debt," Freedom to
Fascism," and "Zeitgeist."
In 2006, a landmark
Stanford University study concluded that something
else may better describe the phenomenon that is
growing among millions of people. It is called"
compulsive buying disorder." While still
controversial—there's a tendency to call it "poor
money management"—the hope is that it opens a new
window towards prevention and treatment of persons
whose buying and spending may not be helpable
through conventional approaches such as just
cutting up credit cards or trying to follow a
financial advisor's counsel.
the following statistics:
Americans (roughly 6% of the population) are
compulsive buyers (Stanford University Study,
*Nearly half of all
compulsive buyers are men (Stanford University
money and spending are the primary reason for
couples' conflict or divorce (Psychology
*The average credit
card debt per American citizen is nearly
$10,000—mostly from unnecessary purchases (Time
& Money magazines)
If you're reading
this book, either you or someone you know has may
have serious problems with shopping or spending.
There are different ways to determine if there's
really a problem. If you think there's a problem,
usually there is. If others think you have a
problem, usually there is. Ultimately, each one of
us has to decide this for him/herself.
Sometimes there may
be a problem with debt but not so much because of
shopping—one may not shop regularly but may spend
too much money on occasional larger purchases such
as a home, a car, a vacation; or, one may spend
too much on dining out, concerts, the theatre,
etc. Likewise, one may have a compulsive shopping
or spending problem but not be in debt—there may
be other consequences like loss of time or
interest in relationships, avoidance of emotions
or of obligations.
common reasons why people overshop or overspend
include the following:
--Emotional deprivation in childhood
--Inability to tolerate negative feelings,
pain, loneliness, depression, fear, or anger
fill an inner void -- empty and longing inside
--Excitement or thrill-seeking
--Manic episodes, ADHD, or impulsivity
shoppers—often referred to as "shopaholics" can
sometimes be described in categories such as
types of shoppers are described in more detail in
the stories and theories within the
This book isn't a book about finances
from the viewpoint of how to make more money or
how to save more money. It's more about our
emotional and psychological relationship to money
and to things. It's about going deeper—to the
My interest in this
subject is also personal. My father and brother
were compulsive shoppers.
I began to see how
our relationship to money and to things is a huge
source of wounding and pain in my clients—and most
people in general. Therefore, creating a new
relationship with money and things can, equally,
bring healing and peace.
Since 2004, I began
counseling compulsive shoppers and spenders in
addition to my primary work with people who
compulsively steal. Often, both
behaviors—compulsive theft and spending—are
present either at the same time or at different
Remember the old
saying: "you can't solve most issues with money or
things." Most of us have experienced this lesson
already. We see how "the rich and famous" still
have problems—and that's just the ones we hear
about. We've heard the stories of lottery winners
who blow their money all too quickly, fall into
depression or addictions, or who end up saying
they wish they'd never won. Yet, we still buy into
the fantasy that more money or more things will
make us happy.
I hope this book is
another offering among the many out there which
helps us look at, understand better, and make the
necessary changes in our lives so we may live our
best lives possible.
Southfield, Michigan, March
You Bought Out and
If you're reading
this book, either you or someone you know may have
serious problems with shopping or spending. There
are different ways to determine if there's really
a problem. If you think there's a problem, usually
there is. If others think you have a problem,
there usually is. Ultimately, each one of us has
to decide for him or herself.
the following quizzes and take an honest
Assessment for Compulsive
1. Have you ever
lost time from work or school due to
shopping/spending ever created problems in your
shopping/spending ever affected your reputation or
people's opinion of you?
4. Have you ever
felt guilt, shame, or remorse after
5. Did you
ever shoplift or steal from work to get money to
pay debts or to solve money issues?
shopping/spending ever cause a decrease in your
ambition or efficiency?
7. Did you
ever experience a "high" or "rush" of excitement
when you shop or spend?
8. Have you
ever shopped/spent to escape
shopping/spending caused you to have difficulty
eating or sleeping?
10. Do arguments,
disappointments or frustrations create an urge to
shop or spend?
11. Have you
noticed you began shopping or spending more
frequently over time?
12. Have you ever
considered self-destruction or suicide as a result
of your shopping/spending?
13. Upon stopping
over shopping or overspending did you continue to
be tempted/preoccupied by it?
14. Have you kept
your shopping/spending a secret from most of those
you are close to?
15. Have you told
yourself "this is my last time" and still over
shopped or overspent again?
16. Have you
continued to shop or spend despite having been had
legal issues such as bankruptcy or
17. Do you often
feel angry or feel a need for
18. Do you often
have feelings of life being
19. Do you have
persistent feelings of entitlement to get buy what
20. Do you have
trouble speaking up for yourself, asking for help,
or saying "no"?
What was your
score/How many times did you answer Yes?
shoppers/spenders will answer yes to
at least seven (7) of these
questionnaire is adapted from the Gamblers
Anonymous 20 Questions.
Anonymous & professional counseling should be
recommend for compulsive
you "bought out and spent"? If not yet but
getting there, stop before it's too late! If you
already are, you can get your life back! Either
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